Having Trouble Coming Home: The Dark Side of Travel Addiction

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Shanna at Carcassonne France

Shanna at Carcassonne France

I arrived back from France yesterday, and I am having real trouble today shifting back into normal reality.  The real problem was that I was way too far gone, to far detached from my normal reality, but OH was it wonderful.

I have experienced unpleasant side effects upon return from a trip.  Jet lag, sometimes.  Sadness about leaving a great place…yes.  Stress about the to do list that is waiting for me when I get home…always.  Never anything like this.

I feel like I am just walking through the motions of my life today. I feel in some ways like my real life was the one that I left yesterday when I left Paris;  my life of travel.

I say too far gone because when I was in France, I was as far from “here” in mind and spirit as I could have possibly been.

I love everything about France.  I love the food.  I love how quiet everyone is and the lack of obnoxious loud voices.  I love the lovely lilt of the beautiful French language.  I could go on and on.  I felt relaxed in way that one only feels relaxed when they feel truly at home.

The Mediterreanean coast of France

The Mediterranean coast of France

Everything was perfect.  Even when we were lost and confused and wandering, it was still perfect.  I got to spend a week and a half in heaven at the price of returning to the real world now which seems flat and two dimensional.


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Now that I have returned from such a state of unadulterated perfection and utter relaxation, it seems like all of the things that irritate me about my real life are amplified.  My shell feels thin, like any one of these little, seemingly insignificant irritations might be enough to shatter me at any moment.

It is getting a little easier.  The memories of perfection are slowly becoming a little fuzzier, less clear than they were even yesterday.  The numbness required to function in daily life is slowly returning.

It saddens me more than I can write that these feelings of happiness that were so clear in my mind are fading, but it might be for the best.  It is not really practical for a human to live in that kind of heightened state of joy and enlightenment all the time.

Vineyards in Cote du Rhone region of France

Vineyards in Cote du Rhone region of France

What is happening to me?  I feel like a puzzle piece that just doesn’t fit anymore.  Is this how some of my travel blogging companions come to be permanent wanderers?  Is that the path that I am heading down?  Is there really such a thing as travel addiction?

For now, all I can do about it is to try to capture the essence of the joy and the memories; the wine and the sunshine, the heart capturing french villages and captivating views, the food and the fireworks and the good companionship.

I will tuck them  away in a safe place in my heart, protected from the relentless onslaught of the tedium of daily life for a day when such happiness seems like an old, faded photo, and I will carefully take them out and unwrap them like a precious gift and smile.

Has anyone else experienced this before?  Will I get over it?  How did you cope with it?


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Having Trouble Coming Home: The Dark Side of Travel Addiction

19 Responses

  1. It varies, but I definitely get in a bit of a funk after returning after trips where I really think “wow, I feel like I’m home.” Going home at night and editing photos/writing blog posts to relive it helps me remember how awesome it was, and the things that I learned from that trip. These in turn, strangely enough, help me see that that particular trip changed me a little (hopefully positively), and in that way, that place will stay in my heart, so it doesn’t really seem so much like I completely left it behind.
    Erica recently posted..Things to do: Taketomi Island, OkinawaMy Profile

    Erica July 23, 2012 at 1:45 pm #
  2. It’s true – one of the perks of being a digital nomad is that you don’t often have these feelings. But on the downside, you don’t have a “home” to come back to. I think there are things you gain and give up with both lifestyles. 🙂
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Ireland: Tips, Tricks, and Local FlavorMy Profile

    Christy @ Technosyncratic July 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm #
    • Thanks for that different perspective. I hadn’t thought of it that way (not sure that it helped…I came home to a boatload of house chores and stuff to get done that is making me wonder whether having a solid home base is worthwhile 😉

      Shanna Schultz July 23, 2012 at 11:41 pm #
  3. I know exactly what you mean. After an especially good trip, it’s hard to get my mind and spirit back into everyday life. You may be right; this may be what leads to full-time travelers chucking it all in to wander the world. That’ll be me someday. Just not yet.
    Juliann recently posted..I Don’t Look Like Marilyn MansonMy Profile

    Juliann July 23, 2012 at 10:42 pm #
  4. It is definitely hard to come back! If we’re working our bottoms off the next couple of years it’s to save enough money to have freedom again at some point. I love France too!
    Andrea recently posted..Happy Food At the 2012 Gladmat FestivalMy Profile

    Andrea July 30, 2012 at 5:40 pm #
  5. Shanna,

    I just wanted to say thanks again for submitting this to the Byteful Travel Blog Carnival. This article has been included in the 13th BT Blog Carnival which was published today.

    So, if you could retweet, stumble, or “Like” the blog carnival, I would really appreciate it. It would also help people discover your article, too!

    Thanks again. Looking forward to your submissions next time! 🙂
    Andrew recently posted..The Traveller’s Mantra: Embrace JoyMy Profile

    Andrew July 31, 2012 at 9:58 pm #
  6. I experienced this as well when I returned home from Guatemala and, honestly, it hasn’t really gone away yet. I still long to return every single day and the thought of going back is really what gets me up every morning to go to work. I think it happens most when you find that place where everything clicks and suddenly you’re the happiest you’ve been and it just feels right.
    Sky recently posted..Joyabaj – A Love StoryMy Profile

    Sky August 6, 2012 at 1:35 am #
    • Wow, the end of your comment really sums up my feelings about France…everything did click and it did feel sooo right. It is nice to know that there is a place like that out there for you, comforting when life gets hard.

      Shanna Schultz August 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm #
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