PTD: Post Trip Depression. Yes, I just made it up, but, it is a serious condition many experience after a happy jaunt about the globe. How daunting and just downright miserable is it to return after a pleasant trip, or even an especially good weekend, away from home without a care in the world? Your head swirls with memories of dancing, drinking, beaches and sightseeing until you are suddenly snapped back to reality by piles of luggage and laundry. Vacations, no matter how short or the distance from home, are nearly always harder to return from than prepare for.
I’ve been fortunate to travel to many countries, and almost every time after the 747 safely touches the tarmac back home, PTD hits me hard. The wonders of the world amaze me. I love experiencing new cultures, foods, traditions and people, so every vacation is often an adventure. Something strange seems to happen when you leave home. Time suddenly is fluid, and you can be perfectly amused by doing nothing but sipping tea by the sea for an hour. Days blur together in perfectly happy moments and suddenly you can’t remember if you did the scuba trip on Saturday or was that Monday? What day is it even right now? It doesn’t matter, because you’re on vacation. Eat when you’re hungry; sleep when you’re tired that’s all that is important. How awful is it then to suddenly wake up and realize it actually is Thursday and your flight out of your peaceful paradise leaves in the afternoon! It is much too difficult to be roused from this easy life style and back to the world of schedules and traffic.
Some people do experience travel anxiety before a vacation, which is completely understandable. Missing a flight or forgetting an important item could place a serious damper into anyone’s travels. However, the anticipation before a trip is enough to quell any nervousness in me. Packing can be an unpleasant task as well. I don’t always plan ahead, but if I am packing the night before, I’ve already gone over the list of what I need to bring in my head and can usually pull myself together in an hour or so. It is all just so thrilling: making sure the tickets are printed, gathering magazines and my ipod for the plane, fitting one more cute dress into my luggage, just because you never know. Plus, in the weeks leading up to a trip, it’s fun to search for that perfect pair of new sandals or schedule a pedicure. I think of all these travel preparation activities as small steps to the big day when I head off to the airport, ready for whatever a new destination has in store.
I may personally suffer from “the grass is always greener” syndrome, which makes PTD even more difficult for me to manage. All the sites, cafes and cities I just visited are going on without me, entertaining and engaging new visitors. No one at work is quite going to grasp how crisp the air was in New Zealand or clear and warm the Mediterranean can be, no matter how detailed my stories or photos are. There is often a certain longing for that adventure when you get home, which makes returning from a vacation so much more difficult. At least sufferers of Post Trip Depression have one thing to always look forward to: planning another vacation.