Post Travel Depression is an occurrence where an individual may experience a downside mood such as stress, depression or anxiety after returning home from a long and gratifying travel.
The better your experience, the worse you get. The harder to move on.
I’m on my 3rd week of post travel depression. The realization of how dull, tame and deficient my everyday life is in my home country. One way to alleviate the depression is to share your experience, so here goes.
I went earlier this year during mid winter/spring. I got to experience a negative degree weather, it wasn’t snowing hard but there was something falling from the sky. This country is known for its efficient train system, raw fish consumption and pixelated porn. Prepared a year for this as it was presumed how expensive the city is, the moment I de-planed, excitement was as high as smelling the jet fuel. This made me realize to skip booking red eye flights, those flights arriving late at night – low cost carriers, duh.
The problem with solo travel, you tend to yourself in the event of a mishap. I’m still at the airport when I encountered one, getting lost at the train station. Several trains, of different kinds, on different tracks and to which platform. Of course, I don’t really know the language very well. No one speaks English. I tried asking locals if the train in front of me is the right one to the city center, they were very willing to help but still, I can’t absorb what wanna say. The train was set to leave at 8:14pm and it was 8:12pm. I was at the platform, looking like a stupid fuck. I have 2 minutes to confirm if this was the right train. I saw this train driver, operator, whatever you call him and hurriedly asked if this is the train leaving at 8:14pm. He spoke English! Yay. He’s cute too. Settled myself, sat and enjoyed the seat warmers. Train left on time. I was impressed. Really impressed. How punctual.
It was an hour train from airport to city center, making a few stops, picking amd dropping passengers. I can now feel the culture. Observing for an hour, listening to announcements for an hour – their language is so beautiful to the ears.
I immediately fell in love.
The next challenge was up. Getting out from this mega train station to my apartment. Prior to the trip, I did my research and tried Googling directions from the station to the apartment. I have a clear set of mind of the landmarks and what not. Finding the exit took me 30 minutes, got out and finally saw what Google presented to me. Praise god for giving me some sense of direction.
The first thing I did was to look for the provisioned wifi egg. Logged in to Viber and called my mom. I arrived safely, how cold it was and how large the city is. Definitely hungry, went to the nearest Family Mart and bought food. Holy beejeezus, what they sell is totally way above what I’m having in a Family Mart here in the Philippines. Family Mart PH looks like shit. So why Family Mart? It was suggested from travel blogs to try the convenience store. It was pleasant.
Bought a bag of goods for dinner and breakfast. Munched on them for the rest of the night. Since I’m already online, I tried logging in to Grindr. Really curious how it looks like there. I wasn’t disappointed LOL. Perhaps I’ll do a separate post for this.
I stayed in a crowded yet organized city for a week. I got amazed how good the public transportation is. I never knew what I did but with how complex their system is, I got to familiarize myself on my second day. So it was pretty smooth from then on. They people are so nice. Food is really good. Commodities? Expensive but cheaper than Singapore and HK. I was lucky enough that there was a supermarket few blocks away, so buying stuff like food and what not, really saved a heap of money. I think that’s a tip I can share, instead of eating at a restaurant, try grocery shopping. It will save you money and at the same time experience the local culture. When you buy your groceries, you are the one to pack it. Sorry, no baggage boy like Alex from Target.
The experience wasn’t all positive.
The experience wasn’t all positive. One instance was I wanted to try a local restaurant. Hence, no English menu. But there are pictures so you can just point whatever you want. The thing is getting inside the restaurant — by yourself, as a foreigner. My shyness stood up and got a hard time. But eventually I made it.
Another was when visiting places. No one’s there to take a good photo of you. The only choice left is to ask a random stranger. The bad side is when they don’t speak English T_T – I learned a technique though, wait for someone to pass by, who has a DSLR camera, looks like a photographer or those taking photos in a serious manner. Chances are, they know how to compose a good photo of you.
There will be times that you will feel lonely. You can’t really escape that. Thanks to Grindr perhaps.
It came to my mind of relocating to this country. Maybe I have a great chance of landing a good job. The only thing that’s holding me back is my mom. You know, eastern culture have a high affinity to families. It was mentioned by the guy whom I have met that the people there do have like two personalities, one that is shown which is being nice, happy and approachable, the other, being depressed, lonely and empty inside. Probably that’s why they have a high suicide rate. Looks like I belong?
As the day of my return flight comes close, the more I feel the separation anxiety. Definitely, I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to return. I don’t want to leave the best experiences I am getting and be back on the shit one.
On my last days, I have met these 2 nice and very good looking guys. Just a friendly meet up. They were also visiting from Europe. They asked me if I can join them and I happily did. We went to places I previously visited the past days. Ugh, I still remember how beautiful their eyes were – still checking and stalking their Facebook. It was one of the highlight of the vacation, meeting someone from who’s actually nice and warm.
Every vacation I do, I make sure I learn something from it. With this, it came into my senses that there not everything you see is what it seems. Despite the how cruel the place we live in, there are still good people around.
I think you all know I went to Japan right?