Ugh, Coming Back...And How To Deal with It.

By Joshua McKinney

We’ve all been there: You get back from your adventures around the world, bursting at the seams with stories to tell, feeling freer and more independent than ever before…. but first you have to sleep (if you’re into that type of thing). Alright, you’re rested and ready to take on the world again. You venture out into your familiar surroundings, and, what’s this? People you know?! You begin your story of finding that sick watering hole that only the locals know about, staying up the whole night playing cards with new friends, sneaking out to make a late-night pizza run after hostel hours.

But with all of these amazing stories and life-changing experiences you seem to be missing the important details, the Pièce de résistance if you will. With these missing, the only thing you seem to be able to vocalize to your friends is “it was cool.” They show a polite interest in your story, but you can see it in their eyes that they couldn’t care less about what you’re saying.

Now you’re stuck. Wanting to share tales of your adventures but you can’t. Well, fellow travelers, you’re not alone in this struggle.

Here are two things I found helpful when trying to stay excited about your next trip and fighting back the blah of coming back:

1. Find your travel buddies! These people will keep you motivated to continue traveling, and act as an outlet for your crazy travel schemes and won’t shoot you down. These people will coax those stories out of you with a few of their own. They won’t just talk the talk but walk the walk too. There are many ways you could meet said travelers, but here is a couple of my go-to’s:

  • Option #1 is to talk it up in hostels and on hikes with fellow international travelers while exploring other countries. I’m not telling you to have deep, life-altering conversations with everyone you meet, but talk travel and how important it is to you. Where are you from? What made you want to come here? Will you tell me about your country? People connect very quickly over the topic of international travel. Who knows? Maybe meeting buddies on your travels will lead to more adventures and even more stories. The possibilities are endless!

  • Option #2 is short and sweet: get connected with Unschool Adventures! There are so many cool people involved with this organization so check it out! Now!

2. One word: Documentation! It’s important to document the trip during the trip. What I mean is it’s not only beneficial for your mental health to process on paper, but will be beneficial in the long run when you look at your journal and you say “wow I totally forgot about that!” or “I wish we would have done this differently” which can further inform later travel decisions. I’m not asking you to pour your heart out on a couple of pages each night, but keep track of daily highlights. I recently got to travel to New Zealand for 6 weeks and I employed the tactic of daily highlights and weekly, longer journal entries. Here is an example of a daily entry:

Nov 22.

  • Long bus ride

  • Long ferry ride

  • Little blue penguins+fur seal

  • Amazing hike with friends

  • Big mountains, crystal blue water, lots of “bush”

  • Hiking from Awaroa to the Midlands in Abel Tasman Park

  • Sea caves, swimming, lots of Wekas

  • Ferry+bus ride back to Tasman Bay Backpackers hostel

  • Mac n’ cheese for dinner and…ice cream and pudding!

  • Playing guitar

See, not too hard right? Later, when I came back home, wondering if it was all a dream, it was nice to be able to look back. This is a very, very crucial step during the trip, though it will not seem like it when you are plummeting off waterfalls. You’ll be thinking “I’ll never forget this!”, which is true, but will you remember how cold it was? Will you remember how your friend brought chips on the bus and spilled them everywhere? Probably not. This is why documentation is important. You want to remember the mundane, everyday moments that you won’t necessarily remember, but they are what makes the trip the trip. It feels so good to look back on these entries during the normalcy of day to day life and get excited about the next trip.

Now my fellow travelers! Go forth and share your stories with newfound confidence! Go and make more stories happen!