Home from Africa.

Reflecting in Namibia.

Home from Africa.

β€œNow more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.” Isabelle Eberhardt

Sunset in Botswana.

Sunset in Botswana.

Coming home from traveling is never easy for me. The post-travel blues hit almost as soon as I arrive at the airport ready to head back home, back to life, and back to unfinished business that was left behind.

Months prior to leaving were filled with feelings of excitement at the weeks that were ahead, but once you return home, life is as it once was. Normal routines fall back into place and the thrill of waking up each day with a feeling of carpe diem is all but a memory.

That’s what makes travel so hard to leave. Each day I woke up ready for a new adventure, ready to see what life had in store. What animals would we see? What ancient civilizations’ secrets would I uncover? What mountain would I climb? What challenge would I accept? Who would I meet?

Unfortunately, this isn’t so easy to do when you return home. There are bills to pay, jobs to work, laundry to be done, and life almost immediately returns to normal. It’s as if you never really were away at all.

While I love being home to see the people I’ve missed, I long for the nights spent huddling around the campfire drinking Milo or hot chocolate with Amarula, the sounds of animals outside my tent at night, and the feeling of the African wind blowing through my hair. I miss my new group of friends and what we all experienced together for the first time. I miss our inside jokes and being called my group nickname, “Pixie.” I miss the laughter and even the long drives on the truck. I miss sleeping on the ground, planes, and trains, using currencies other than my own, and seeing signs in a language other than English. I miss the adventure each day brought and the growth that I experienced in the realization of all that I could do.

Africa changed me. I believe in myself more than I ever have and am amazed in all that I am capable of. I also have a greater understanding and appreciation for this world that I live in and all who live here with me. With each trip comes change, but I do believe that this one has had the greatest impact on my life. Each trip may end, but the person we are after traveling is what matters most.

β€œWhy do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” Terry Pratchett

Reflecting in Namibia.

Reflecting in Namibia.

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Comments (15)

  1. Melissa- The Mellyboo Project

    Beautifully said Erin. And I don’t think anyone who hasn’t been to Africa truly understands the way it just gets deep down in your soul. I saw a picture reposted on facebook of an elephant with some writing saying: “My heart beats to an African Drum” and I truly believe that is the case now.

    It sucks going back to the old humdrum, especially after anticipating your trip for so long. But it just means you have to make your own adventures where you live until you can hit the road again πŸ™‚

    1. The World Wanderer

      It definitely gets in your soul like nothing else. I miss it everyday. Don’t worry, I’ll be making plenty of adventures until my next big trip! If you’ve survived post-Africa blues, I think I can too. πŸ˜‰

      1. Melissa- The Mellyboo Project

        I’ve only managed to survive knowing that I’m going to be going back next year πŸ˜‰

        Going to be working with Nomad again – doing their East Africa and Gorillas tour, Nairobi to Vic Falls. Plus volunteering again at Antelope Park with ALERT. Lemme know if you’re interested and wanna join my posse — have a few things in the works with Nomad that are gonna be awesome! πŸ™‚

  2. Kieu

    We can totally relate. We’ve just returned after eight months on the road and already suffering from post-travel blues. It’s a good thing we’re only home for 3 weeks before we head out again. The cure for post-travel blues is to travel again. Lol. Looking forward to reading about your trip to Africa. We’ve always wanted to go.

    1. The World Wanderer

      I was actually thinking about the two of you when I was crying on the plane ride home. I agree with you, travel is the only way to get over it. I like that you’ll only be home for three weeks. If I had it my way, I’d only be home a few weeks a year and out on the road the rest. πŸ™‚

  3. D.J. - The World of Deej

    Oh how I’ve been there… I wrote about my own Post Travel Depression (PTD as I’m calling it) a few weeks ago. I can tell you it does get better…just takes time…

    1. The World Wanderer

      I remember reading your post. It is so true. I really suffer from severe PTD, wish their was a cheaper cure than booking another trip! πŸ˜‰

  4. Jacqueline

    Absolutely beautiful, Erin. Coming home can be tough. That’s actually what prompted me to start writing “6 Months” in the first place. Atlanta, GA just wasn’t as exciting as the daily surprises I found every day while living in China, so I decided to put my focus on really living each day, no matter where I was in the world. Of course, there’s no substitute for seeing the world.

    I think there are 3 kinds of people when it comes to traveling (and all are perfectly grand): those that have no desire to travel, those that travel now and then and enjoy it, and those of us who feel that travel is not only a joy but a necessity, something that lives deep within us and never leaves.

    Clearly we are the latter and with every experience and new interaction, we are fuller, richer, and stronger. I loved this quote from your post in particular: “Africa changed me. I believe in myself more than I ever have and am amazed in all that I am capable of. I also have a greater understanding and appreciation for this world that we live in and all who live here. With each trip comes change, but I do believe that this one has had the greatest impact on my life. Each trip may end, but the person we are after traveling is what matters most.”

    I’m in the process of planning a trip to Africa, and this post makes me want to go all the more and reminds me of one of my all-time favorites quotes: β€œI travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” –Robert Louis Stevenson

    From a fellow traveler and adventurer, welcome home. Can’t wait to hear your stories that will no doubt inspire others to get out and do the same!

  5. Jacqueline

    Did not realize how long that comment was until it got published—oops! πŸ˜‰

  6. Leah Travels

    Wonderful, Erin! I’m so happy that your trip was everything you’d hoped it would be. My favorite thing that you wrote is:

    “Each trip may end, but the person we are after traveling is what matters most.”

    Truer words were never spoken.

  7. John

    Couldn’t agree with Kieu more…the only way to combat this is to start planning that next trip! What’s in store next for you?

  8. Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    Erin, I love the reflection and introspection. The phrase “the person we are after traveling is what matters most” is SO true – well put. And I may quote you πŸ™‚

  9. Tawny- Captain and Clark

    I love the quote at the top. We’re going to have to agree with Q and John. The only way to alleviate the wanderlust is to get out and travel some more. I can’t wait to read more on your Africa adventures. Welcome home!

  10. Pola (@jettingaround)

    I can imagine how impossibly hard it is for you to get back to reality, this time more than after any other trip… This struck a chord, “There are bills to pay, jobs to work, laundry to be done, and life almost immediately returns to normal. It’s as if you never really were away at all.” Isn’t that the sad truth? But you’re richer for having lived through this experience. Here’s to ending the post-trip blues soon!

  11. Francesca

    Post-trip blues stink, especially after going someplace like Africa. Hold on to those memories and to the knowledge that you’ve been changed – and in a good way. I think I know how you might be feeling πŸ˜‰

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