On Feeling Down After a Great Adventure

by Brenna Holeman

Making friends at Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya

Wow, this blog sucks right now.

Yeah. Not a great way to start a post, I know. But seriously, this blog sucks right now. And not in the same way that I wrote about a few months ago, where I proclaimed how bad I felt about my blog (update on that post, FYI: still no design change, still no Pinterest VA, still nod and smile whenever discussing anything remotely technical to do with blogging). No, this blog sucks in an entirely different way.

I always knew that I was going to take a digital break while on holiday in East Africa; those six weeks in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania deserved all the time they could get, and I was going to be damned if I was going to spend any time in front of a laptop during the adventure I felt I had been preparing my whole life for. But then I wasn’t on holiday anymore, so the excuse wore thin.

And then… YES! Here it was! The explanation for this blog going dark for a while, the proclamations that I’d be back with a vengeance, yada yada yada, that old chestnut. But despite trying to turn my mental state around by focusing on my physical state (update on that post, FYI: red wine and pasta 1, me 0. I’m surprised my jeans still fit after these weeks of gluttony), I just can’t help it.

I feel like shit.

Just chillin’ in Rwanda

“Hang on a minute,” you might be thinking. “You just got back from an adventure of a lifetime – one that most people could never even dream of taking – and you feel like shit? Why you privileged piece of…”

Yeah. I get it. And I have to acknowledge that my life is pretty fucking amazing, and I don’t take it for granted one bit. I am humbled and honoured that I have been given the opportunities in my life so far, and that I am fortunate enough to not only have a roof over my head and bowls of pasta to eat, but also the means and the career that allow me to travel frequently. I’m also surrounded by loving family and friends, people who are hilarious and kind and generous and caring.

But our feelings don’t always do what we want them to, do they.

Because to reiterate… I feel like shit.

I’ve said it a few times on this blog already, so I won’t dwell on it, but these past few months have been intense. I packed up my beloved flat in East London in May and then took off on the aforementioned adventure. The result? A crazy mix of emotions, ranging from sadness to joy to whatever you’re supposed to feel when a lion brushes up against your safari vehicle, the vehicle with no roof and no windows.

That exact lion… in Maasai Mara, Kenya

While I’m beyond elated that I got to experience that adventure, the overwhelming emotion I’m feeling these days is sadness that it’s over. Combine that with the fact that leaving my flat feels worse than any breakup I’ve ever been through (and combine that with the fact that I know my time in London is coming to a close unless the UK government suddenly decides to start granting visas to single, 30-something Canadian entrepreneurs with no ties to British ancestry, leaving me in a horrendous state of flux where I have no idea what I’m going to do next year, and oh God, I’m going to miss London so much, and wait… I’ve lost the plot again, haven’t I) and it doesn’t seem to matter how many episodes of Orange is the New Black I watch while consuming entire bags of Oreos… I still feel like shit. 

Years ago, sitting in the very house I’m sitting in again right now, I wrote this post, a guide to dealing with the post-vacation blues. It appears I am pretty familiar with this feeling; I’ve definitely felt it before, these post-adventure waves of sadness. I’ve felt it after every major trip I’ve taken in my lifetime, and usually after the small ones, too.

So what gives? Why do we almost always feel so miserable after returning home after a trip?

Loving life in Stone Town, Zanzibar

Well, first of all, we have the build-up. Most of us, I imagine, start planning or at least dreaming of our trips months and possibly years in advance. Unless it’s a quick long weekend away or a spontaneous road trip, in many cases we’ll have bought our flights a few months before, planned our accommodation, and thought about what we’d like to see or do while we’re away. We all do that little countdown, don’t we? “Three weeks until Morocco” or “Four months until I’m in Trinidad”.

All of this means that our trips don’t just last the amount of time that we’re actually away. Sure, maybe you’re only gone for a couple of weeks, but the build-up and the anticipation have been present in our lives for much, much longer.

For me, I had been dreaming of East Africa since I was a little girl. I used to think I’d be the Jane Goodall of African elephants, I kid you not. I was so obsessed with going on safari in Kenya and Tanzania that I did extra homework projects on animal species in that region of the world and would ask my teachers to grade it for fun (yes, I did indeed remain single for my entire school career, why do you ask?).

The build-up for this trip was so intense that sitting here, thinking back on it, it feels like it was all a dream. Did I actually go to Kenya? 

He sniffed us and was like, “Not today” (to be fair, we’d been camping for days) in Maasai Mara, Kenya

Next, we have all of the emotions that take place while actually on the holiday itself. If we’re speaking of travel as a luxury and as a pleasurable experience that you choose to have, it means that you’re spending your time away doing something you love and want to do. Climbing a mountain. Wandering through a new city. Relaxing on a beach. Trying out local cuisines. We’re being constantly stimulated, perpetually thrilled, and generally overwhelmed in all the very best ways. It’s a chance for us to see something new, experience something different, and perhaps even be someone else for a while, someone – I’m speaking for myself here – more curious, more laid-back, perhaps even more fun.

When I was travelling around East Africa, I was basically having the best day of my life over and over and over again. In those six weeks I experienced six safaris (where I saw the Big Five many times over), stayed at Giraffe Manor, went hot-air ballooning over the Serengeti, camped under the stars in the Maasai Mara, trekked with gorillas in Rwanda, trekked with chimpanzees in Uganda, spent days in the sun in Zanzibar, and made out with a super hot dude (just had to throw that one in there *humblebrag*). And that’s only mentioning the big tickets. That doesn’t even cover everything else: the people I met, the day-to-day life I experienced, the lodges I stayed in, the food I ate, the museums I visited, and so on.


All told, I dare say it was the best trip of my life. I was on such a rush of adrenaline every single day that it’s no wonder I came crashing down shortly afterward.

And that’s the phase I’m in now: the afterward. The afterward is the product of the long build-up and anticipation followed by the high adrenaline of the trip, followed by the often painful realisation that it’s over (there were definitely tears on that plane journey home). And it’s in the afterward that you can very confidently proclaim… I feel like shit.

None of my old “get over the post-holiday blues” tricks are working. Thinking “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” makes me want to side-eye myself, if that’s possible. Looking at photos and video of the trip only makes me sadder, which is why you haven’t seen any posts about that trip on this blog yet (and why I’m only slowly adding them all to Instagram). My mum, who was my travel partner, is in Macedonia at the moment with my sister, so I can’t call her up to reminisce. Even planning my next trip – ten days in freaking Italy, my favourite country in the world – isn’t getting my spirits up, which is really saying something (“That you’re a spoiled brat?” you may be saying, and I wouldn’t disagree).

And again, I know I’m incredibly lucky and privileged to have been able to experience that trip – I believe that all of us should acknowledge how fortunate we are if we’re able to travel. But I bet this happens to almost all of us, too. Maybe we know it will be a while before we can take time off work again, or maybe we know that extenuating circumstances mean we won’t be travelling anytime soon. And unless we have one of those money-growing trees in our backyard (or have, like, a super popular Instagram account #goals), we might not be able to afford another adventure until we’ve saved up again (East Africa drained my entire savings account, so I’m definitely having nightmares of an Italian hotelier cutting up my credit card and forcing me to work on a vineyard in Tuscany in order to pay my dues, where I meet Fabrizio, a local winemaker with soft eyes, tanned skin, and an uncanny ability to look like he’s riding his horse in slow motion… hold up. This might not be so bad).

Um, yeah, I miss this (in Zanzibar, Tanzania)

Bottom line, perhaps a large chunk of feeling miserable in the afterward is the fear that we won’t be able to experience another great adventure again. That might be a foolish or pessimistic thought (perhaps even more so for a travel blogger) but it is definitely a fear of mine, especially when I know with certainty that I am addicted to travelling. This feeling combined with the come-down after such an adrenaline-filled trip, perhaps the biggest high of my entire life? Well, I guess feeling miserable kinda makes sense after all.

I think too often we’re told that we have to be happy all the time, that we have to constantly seek and maintain happiness, and that we have to perpetually look at life as if the glass were half full, even if there’s something that’s really messing with our heads. I say fuck the glass (um, not literally, c’mon now). If you want to feel bummed out for a while because you’re coming down off of an amazing adventure – whatever that adventure may be – go for it. Being sad and having a good old cry now and again is part of human nature, and I dare say it helps us acknowledge the problem, figure out our emotions, and lay the groundwork for future plans. Besides, at the end of the day, I’d much rather feel sad because I had an awesome time and I miss it rather than either a) sad because it was a terrible time and it didn’t live up to my expectations or b) happy because it’s over. That applies for everything in life, I think, as much as that thought can be difficult to accept.

It doesn’t matter if we’ve travelled the world many times over or if we’ve just taken our first trip away, it doesn’t matter if we go away for a long weekend or for a year, the reality is that the post-holiday blues can hit any of us. And while I probably won’t be back in East Africa anytime soon – though life is funny, and you never know what’s around the corner – I understand that these feelings of malaise will pass soon. Even writing this out makes me feel better (I’m genuinely sorry if you thought I wasn’t a naval-gazing narcissist who uses this space for her own cathartic release. Whoops).

So today, yeah, I feel like shit. But who knows? Tomorrow, I might just be able to look at my photos and smile.

Looking ahead to sunnier skies (in Manitoba, Canada)

Do you feel down after you finish a trip? How do you combat feeling sad after a great adventure?

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Cate August 25, 2017 - 4:13 am

This exact same thing happened to me when I returned from 3 weeks away this summer, to Europe and to Peru! I spent a good 3 days sobbing, watching Jane the Virgin, and binge eating on the couch. (Granted, I was also struggling with some serious mental health issues, but you get the gist.) Still whenever I think of how happy I was in those places and how I am stuck in a classroom all day now, my heart aches a bit. I recommend talking to people who have been there, and reminiscing together, or making a big change in your life to feel anew. I believe in you

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 8:38 pm

That’s great advice, thank you Cate! I hope you feel better soon, too 🙂

kuheli August 25, 2017 - 7:46 am

I agree with your point. It’s OK to feel sad at times. We are not the Dalai Lama anyway. Just ordinary human beings. Blogging is so cathartic no? I too do this all the time.
I hope you start to feel better soon and set out on your next adventure. Well, we are greedy readers of your blog after all. 😀

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 8:25 pm

Thank you so much! I really appreciate your comment, Kuheli 🙂

Nina August 25, 2017 - 9:04 am

I completely understand. I recently spent the most amazing month travelling around New Zealand and when it was over I was just so sad. I had a weekend in between coming home and then was back to work on the Monday. I found coming back to the mundane reality of life was harder than I expected and I have spent a lot of time seriously considering quitting my job and running back there.

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 8:37 pm

Yep… I have felt that too many times to count!! Thanks for your comment, Nina, I hope you feel better soon!

Eliya August 25, 2017 - 9:37 am

Brenna! Once again, I feel like you might as well be talking about me in your post, or it was my own diary entry (albeit much better written and actually legible). I just got back from a 10 day trip to Prince Edward Island with my mum and being a HUGE Anne of Green Gables fan, this has been a trip I have wanted to do since I was probably around 9 when I first read the books. We had such a wonderful time, the island is beautiful, I love Canadians and Canada in general, I loved learning more about LM Montgomery herself plus it was so special to share this with my Mum, who is not only a wonderful travel partner but has loved the books herself since she first read them at around 9 years old. So I always knew I would be down after the trip but I never thought I too would feel shit. I also have the terrible affliction of travel addiction and never truly feel settled at home. A big part of this is not ever knowing what to do with my life!! Thank you for writing this post and reminding me that it’s ok to feel this way and allow myself to cry (because I definitely did on the plane, the car home from the airport, and a few times since).

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 10:18 pm

Yes, it’s absolutely all right to cry and feel bad! You’re coming down off of something really wonderful… but I find it helps to both reminisce and to start planning the next one 😀

Tash August 25, 2017 - 10:43 am

I definitely felt this after both the times I went to Africa (Tanzania and then South Africa and Mozambique). I just felt like nothing at home would ever feel exciting again because it didn’t compare! Last time I was there was six years ago and I NEED TO GO BACK!!

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 8:24 pm

I need to go back, too!!!

Caroline August 25, 2017 - 11:42 am

As someone who regularly cries on the plane home, this resonates with me so much. Hope you feel better. Maybe blogging about the hot man will cheer you up? 😉

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 8:23 pm

Ha ha – maybe it will! 😉

Stacy August 25, 2017 - 1:01 pm

Thanks for this post. Just got back from a trip myself and have been feeling pretty blue. I’m the best version of myself when I’m traveling, and being back at home working at a job that leaves me sad and burned out is tough.

I’m trying to frame my feelings as confirmation of something that I’ve known for quite awhile–I need a career change–and focus on my longstanding plans to transition to a new job early next year. But ugh, six months feels like such a long time.

I hope that your trip to Italy brings you joy. And thank you again for this post.

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 8:24 pm

I get that – six months can feel like a lifetime! I hope that you are feeling better soon, too 😀

Katie August 25, 2017 - 1:41 pm

You know I think travel is a lot like relationships in that regard — the better the experience, the harder it is to move on once it’s over. Grief is normal, and this was no ordinary trip! Give it time and you’ll peak again. 🙂 PS. If you’re willing to settle for a free guest room in Emilia-Romagna over that vineyard in Tuscany, you don’t need to worry about getting your credit card confiscated while in Italy for the next 2-3 years. (We’re moving there in November!!) I may not be able to find you a wine maker, but maybe a cheese monger?

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 8:23 pm

Wow – that is so exciting!! I will definitely come visit you, I love Emilia-Romagna! 😀

Stanley August 25, 2017 - 2:04 pm

I like your honesty. A lot of times, I feel lonely when I travel and I am glad to get home to the security and routine of everyday living. You express yourself well, and I enjoy reading of your life. Stan

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 8:22 pm

Thank you very much, Stan!

Emily August 25, 2017 - 5:02 pm

I get this too, and one way I know to help with it is to excitedly recommend your favorite pieces of the trip to someone who is going to the same place. Well, you’re in luck – I could use some tips!
My husband and I are planning to go to Tanzania. And while we are going to do some safaris together, I’m thinking about going to Zanzibar while he’s climbing Kili. Tell me all the things! Did it seem an OK fit for a (pretty shy) solo traveler? How much time should I allocate to Stone Town vs elsewhere? Accommodation recs? Transport suggestions? What are the things you are proud to have figured out? You’ll probably feel muuuch better dishing about your time there 😉

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 8:22 pm

Ha ha, that may work! Lots of blog posts to come 😀

Ashley August 25, 2017 - 5:53 pm

I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling this way, Brenna, and I can empathize with you so hard right now because I’m going through almost the exact same thing. My UK work visa expired in April, so I went travelling (also for six weeks) around Europe – which was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. Afterwards, I went back to Edinburgh – a city that I called home for two years, and a city I planned to settle in for a while (but ultimately couldn’t due to visa-related issues). Packing up my flat and saying goodbye to Edinburgh was horrendous, to say the least. Two months after leaving, I’m still struggling, but things are slowly getting better. I think remembering to be kind to yourself during these periods is especially important – it’s definitely something I need to remind myself of daily. Hoping you feel a little less shitty soon!

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 8:21 pm

That is really great advice, thank you, Ashley! I hope that you feel better soon, too 😀

LC August 26, 2017 - 1:10 pm

Ah, this blog is grand. I hope you find your mojo again soon, Brenna!

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 7:03 pm

Thank you so much, LC!

Zoe August 27, 2017 - 10:18 am

Gal, I feel you so much and I really appreciate ‘real’ posts like this! I definitely agree, there is this big pressure to always be happy, I think part of it comes from feeling like we can never say anything bad about travel experiences and opportunities in genera,l that on paper, are ‘amazing’. Like you said, truth is that sometimes stuff sucks and that so many people feel down after a great trip – might as well be real about it. I hope you can find a way to pull through all the transition in your life at the moment, that’d be tough for anyone 🙂

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 7:03 pm

Thank you so much, Zoe – I really appreciate your kind words!

Nina Lee: Sweet Adventures August 27, 2017 - 11:24 am

As always your honesty is refreshing. Traveling is put on such a high pedestal nowadays that I think it’s important to know that it comes with a unique set of challenges, just like anything in life, whether you are privileged or not. Feeling bad about feeling bad doesn’t help anyone. And the fact that you are honestly sharing why you haven’t written about your adventures is what makes this blog NOT suck at all. I always enjoy coming to your site exactly for your honest and heartfelt pieces that make me not lose hope in the world of travel blogging, which seems to have become oversaturated and superficial.

Chin up! I have made a big move myself, down to the south of Spain with the boyfriend, and basically spent all my money on fixing up the place, so travel is off the list for a long while, coupled with anxieties about “settling down” and starting a home. Big changes like those or like your leaving London after so much time there, are massive and can take a while to process. But you’ll get through it! And things will line up and work themselves out as they always do.

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 7:13 pm

Aw, thank you so much, Nina! That’s a lovely comment. And I agree that things usually line up and work themselves out in the end 🙂

Paige August 27, 2017 - 1:45 pm

First of all the blog doesn’t suck, haha–there’s just not a ton of new posts; *clears throat* some of us enjoy rereading the older posts *whispers* if they speak to current situations with guys in our lives 🙂

I totally get the post travel blues–last year that culminated in me booking (like a year in advance) another trip to Europe, which I just got back from. So, Solo Trip #2 had all these crazy expectations and anticipation attached to it, and while it was great, I had the blues throughout my last stop in Copenhagen (which is a city I thought I’d love but only really liked, idk). I have another adventure planned for the fall and I’m worried about overplanning/anticipating that one, and already I’m thinking/stressing about WHERE TO GO AFTER THAT. I also feel like a spoiled brat by all this–I mean, I’m so lucky to have the job I do and to work in an office where everyone travels a decent amount, it seems. But I agree with what you said–when do our emotions do what we want them to do? Sending the good vibes your way! 🙂

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 7:12 pm

Thank you so much, Paige – sending good vibes your way, too! 🙂

Sheryl-Ann August 27, 2017 - 7:38 pm

Great post, Brenna! Isn’t it amazing how many of us feel crappy after a great holiday? I went through the same thing last year after traveling for 5 months through Southern Africa and the Seychelles. I seriously thought I would never feel better and was contemplating therapy. No joke! Then I went on a trip to St. Lucia and like magic, I was better (lol). Are we just addicted to travel? Sigh….I hope you feel better soon.

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 7:03 pm

Yes, I think we are addicted! Seriously. That is the only explanation for these highs and lows… 😉

Emily August 27, 2017 - 7:57 pm

Thank you for writing this! I’ve felt it several times lately after visiting a few of my favorite places in the world that are full of good friends, good food, new adventures, etc. There’s so much build up and excitement that I don’t know what to do or how to feel once it’s all over – especially if there’s not another trip already booked. As my expat life may come to a close soon, I also dread the thought of returning to life in America with fewer vacation days and more expensive flights to get anywhere. And also to a life surrounding by people who don’t understand the constant desire and need to always be on the go exploring somewhere new. Once you get in constant travel rhythm, it’s very difficult to switch mentalities to a “regular” lifestyle. ? Hopefully you can find a new home somewhere soon to continue your life abroad!

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 6:59 pm

Ideally I would love to live part-time in Canada and part-time abroad… so that’s what I’m actively working on! I know what you mean about the expat life coming to an end, though… it can be really, really difficult, especially if you’ve established a great life overseas. We’ll be OK, though!! 🙂

Silvia August 27, 2017 - 8:28 pm

Ugh, Brenna, I feel like shit after Africa too.

Brenna Holeman August 27, 2017 - 8:58 pm

Wait… we both spent time with Helen… maybe she’s to blame!!! 😉

Sarah August 27, 2017 - 10:02 pm

Another one here who feels exactly the same. I wish I had your proficiency with words to write it down, but seriously… I went travelling for 8months in Latin America. I came back for 10 days for a wedding in my family and then I left to work in the USA for 6 weeks doing a summer job I adore. Now I am back in Belgium. I started my first job and I just spent a whole week sitting behind a computer doing stupid boring stuff at work, which I already hate, after one week. Do I sound like a spoiled brat? Probably. And I have been lucky to be able to do this (I also worked really really hard during college to save for this trip). But I miss my travelling me. I lost a lot of weight on the road, I felt so good in my own skin. I felt pretty and confident with who I am and who I want to be. I felt so so good. And now I feel miserable. The tan faded. I put the weight back on (guess I missed those Belgian fries more than I like to admit). I again feel like I am running around without a plan and with a lot of probably almost unfeasible ideas (become super popular on Instagram and make a living of it, anyone?). I just miss travelling Sarah and I cannot wait to go away again.

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 6:58 pm

Yes – I am totally with you. That’s how I feel, too… that the best version of me is on the road. We will get out there again soon!

Jayne August 28, 2017 - 8:33 am

I totally get where you’re coming from having experienced the worst post-trip blues after taking a 9 month round the world trip in my twenties. In fact, I was so down about the adventure I felt like I’d been planning all my life being over that I actually got a bit depressed while still on it! Sad times haha

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 6:57 pm

Yes… I totally know that feeling! Happened to me in Zanzibar!

Jodi August 28, 2017 - 6:40 pm

I came home from an epic year wandering around Southeast Asia in June. I didn’t have let lag when I got home and I settled in fairly quickly, but it also feels like I’ve been home forever and might never leave again. I feel stuck again even though it’s only been 2 months and that year was fantastic.

Thanks for writing this. I often find myself reading your blog and totally agreeing, finding that you are way better at putting my own thoughts into words than I am (working on that though).

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 6:56 pm

Thank you so much, Jodi… and I hope that you feel better soon, too!

Cindy August 28, 2017 - 8:51 pm

I completely agree with you on feeling sad after a big trip. I usually combat the post holiday/vacation blues by working. I get an unusual high once the direct deposit hits on payday 😉 and making money means I can save up to fund my next adventure and that keeps me going. lol 🙂

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 6:57 pm

Ha ha – that sounds like a good way to combat it! I think I’m really hurting because I’m so broke right now and can’t plan anything new…

Victoria @The British Berliner August 29, 2017 - 10:15 am

I totally understand. I think we all get the travel blues from time to time. However, I think in this situation the fact that you had to leave the UK and everything you love, coupled with thoughts of money, is bringing you down.

I find that planning the next adventure as soon as I get home usually makes me feel better, and perhaps, it’s time for you to move to another country as an expat, rather than back “home.” 😉

My thoughts are with you. You’re a strong girl and will eventually make it through. Give it some time. 🙂

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 6:52 pm

Oh definitely – this is a much bigger issue! Moving to another country isn’t possible right now… my heart really is both in Canada and in the UK, so I’d like to balance the two. Thank you for your kind words, Victoria! 🙂

Zalie August 30, 2017 - 4:45 pm

I so know this feeling after a trip!!! Sister and sister together soon!!

Brenna Holeman August 30, 2017 - 6:51 pm

I know – and I can’t wait! xo

Karle September 1, 2017 - 12:51 am

Loved your writing, as always. It does seem like you’ve hit a chord that really resonates with so many of your readers.I used to dread this part, but now I always find solace in the last part of Phil Cousineau’s classic book The Art of Pilgrimage, called “Bringing Back the Boon.” He talks about how the return is the last act of the epic story. It really helps me to reread this book, especially the last part and remind myself whenever I come back home how to find peace with this part of the journey.

Brenna Holeman September 1, 2017 - 1:06 am

That’s a really lovely sentiment, thank you so much for sharing!

Kate September 1, 2017 - 5:25 am

Brenna, I love how open and honest you are. I am in a similar situation in New Zealand visa-wise having spent the best part of three years here and looking likely to have to leave next year unless a miracle occurs. I sometimes find I’m focusing so much on the future (having to leave my job, leave the country, likely end my relationship) that i’m struggling to enjoy the present. I also have this anxiety that I should be planning and saving and coming up with a new direction for my life but it’s so overwhelming! I just wanted to chime in to say I understand a little and I hope we both bounce back (as we’ve probably both done many times before). It is hard sometimes when you feel sad and think you shouldn’t because things could be worse, but our feelings are just that, our own feelings, so it’s important to acknowledge them and just try to be kind to yourself when you’re in those low periods. All the best 🙂

Kayla September 4, 2017 - 5:31 pm

Wow! You nailed this feeling and I loved the way you explained it. It’s so nice to know we’re not alone in this. I experienced this last year after a major life change and multiple months long trip through South America. Now I know that these feelings are bound to come again soon as I’ll be ending my teaching contract (meaning my visa too) here in Colombia. 🙁 . I’m so nervous and thinking all the time about what I’m going to do next and how I can avoid the post travel/experience depression. Thanks for the great post! Glad I stumbled upon your blog.

Mo September 8, 2017 - 3:07 am

I ALWAYS feel down after a great trip! The worst was when I returned from 5 weeks in Eastern Europe to San Francisco, and back to the middle of my 4-year quarter life crisis. I guess I don’t have any tricks except to be kind to yourself! It gets better with time – and when you have a new trip to plan for! (kinda like exes: the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else, right? 😉

Marialena October 21, 2017 - 4:42 am

Hi Brenna!
Thank you for writing this post. I feel relieved and not so crazy anymore:) this is why I’m writing this comment.
I’ve been traveling for 8 months, on two trips that I considered life goals. I usually travel a bit every year, but before even embarking on this adventure I was thinking “how I am ever gonna top that in my life ever again?”.
I just returned to “normal” life 3 days ago ~ and I was worried. You see, my friends and family tell me “You don’t seem happy this time” and I don’t really know how to reply because I am not.
The part about the airplane, you really got me. The first hours I got on board, I spent them sobbing and trying to hide my tears from other passengers (feeling guilty *and* stupid at the same time). Why am I even miserable? This mantra kept repeating in my head, but before I knew it I was in tears again.
After reading your post, I feel like at least I have a silent company in this after-journey life. I will not try again to appear happy (“because it happened”) ~ lol I mean the expectations our society subtly imposes on us are everywhere! I will just wait. Until I feel better. Or until something new comes along:)
Wish you the best. Cheers!

Kim Spence October 22, 2017 - 10:03 pm

I’m about to embark on an 8 week trip where I am going to Nepal for 3 weeks (trekking to base camp and then taking part in the Everest marathon) followed by a 2 week cycle around Laos and then on to Cambodia for some ‘culture’ and beach time…..dreading the come down but I have booked a trip next July already with 10 other people so I have that to look forward to and get excited about. I am also hoping I meet some nice people when I am travelling and no doubt there will be lots of post trip fb excitement…

How I Got Started: My Journey Through 11 Years of Travelling and Writing About It - This Battered Suitcase October 25, 2017 - 10:59 am

[…] now, though, in all honesty, I’m a bit tired after some serious months of travel and a ton of catching up on work. I’m still constantly searching for cheap flights, but […]

Rachel November 3, 2017 - 7:29 pm

Sometimes, just because you have a good life or have enjoyed good times, doesnt mean you cant feel down or low in yourself. I reckon its completely understandable to feel how you have felt after such an amazing trip. Dont worry what others say and dont beat yourself up about how you feel – it will just make you feel worse about yourself! Enjoy writing about your trips and looking back at photos – always helps me!


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