Jul 20, 2012

Transcript: Travelers depression and feeling the pain

Me and JP in Adelaide that one time
Facebook has been a great way to reconnect with people you may have only had a fleeting interaction with. I've have had several conversations lately concerning what constitutes a friend. I'm very liberal with the definition, I try to have meaningful and genuine interactions (hopefully enjoyable too) with everyone I meet. I've always liked the line "A stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet", it speaks to a curiosity and openness that appeals to me.
JP was one of my awesome hostel running mates in Adelaide during my YesMan year of 2010. We had an impromptu FB chat reflecting on what it's been like returning to normal life. Felt it was worth sharing:

LOZ: how's normal life // 2yrs of freedom right. or more?
JP: honestly, boring as fuck lol // yeah about 12 days short of 2 years when got back
LOZ: 2 more years than most boring lives
JP: very true
LOZ: boring  //  how do you make it interesting? u around travelers still?
JP: done a year at uni and all the while just been planning more travelling a few, but it was a long process to get back to normal, only now about there went through a bad bit of "travellers depression"
JP: yeah 

LOZ: how does that look? // u hate ur home friends // u stop going out etc...
JP: wasn't so much hate as i found i had lost contact whilst away and so came home not knowing many people but at uni made loads of good new friends so that was ok. The main bad bit was just being in the same place, day in day out with no excitement or adventure
LOZ: haha
JP: especially the lack of challenge in my life, travelling had loads of challenges and obstacles to overcome but normal life is dull and routine
LOZ: its a luxurious curse. // i know what u mean // on and off would be the best // i get bored of repitition // maybe leave every 2 years. // i wrote about it on my blog. imagine what its like for Soldiers or celebrities who aren't big anymore. what its like for them to return to "normal" life. // that would be fucked

JP: it sounds weird but since being back the most interesting thing i deemed to happen to me was i fell off a rock climbing wall and tore through my ankle ligaments which put me on crutches for 5 weeks not being able to walk which was one of the hardest times of my life but presented a challenge that my life was lacking since I was back
LOZ: yeah it would be // holy shit dude // rock climbing sounds fun tho // you fully recovered. will that be an issue moving forward? // ankle
JP:  yeah im able to walk and run again, just aches if im walking for too long, got told it would be 2 years before i feel sure on it so im not doing any crazy shit at the moment
LOZ: fingers crossed // that challenge thing is interesting... // i remember when i was having so much fun and everything was rolling. i wanted some challenges to test me because i was ready for it. i wanted my happiness tested // it was bullshit i realised. // thats why people say "pinch me i'm dreaming" // pain is part of it in there somehow

JP: yeah man, i can't really explain it fully but there is something to it
spontaneity is another big one, nothing I would deem to be spontaneous ever happens at home now
LOZ: is it the running mates? // you can be spontaneous anywhere. but maybe if ur on ur own it feels lonely. // but if ur away and doing it with cool kids. its like whoooooooo
JP: not even, spontaneous can have on my own, it's almost like i've seen bigger and better things then what home can offer so this place doesn't interest me anymore
LOZ: yeah. thats why soldiers go back into war man.
JP: so i need to see more of out there // yeah // or prisoners back to prison
LOZ: haha // fuck the matrix man // have u watched this video.
JP: my dad was in the military for 25 years and kinda warned me about this before i went abroad and now im back know exactly what he means
LOZ: its from the 'Hurt Locker' // what else has he told you?
JP: yeah i have
LOZ: i love that shit. when things make sense after because you know more etc... //
JP: dude totally, i feel four times the person i used to be before but nowhere near the person i wish to be in the future // more travel will sort that out // (that's a good scene btw)
Coming Home from a year abroad. Reverse Culture shock and beating the travel Blues: The Hurt Locker (2008)
- Backpacking Round the World Trip - A modern day "Hero's Journey" (Joseph Campbell)

Do you believe pain is part of it? Have you felt Travelers' depression?


  1. I've been experiencing something strange...it's like a traveler's depression like you mentioned. Everything is the same..the faces, the places...something needs to give.

  2. This quote popped up on my facebook - "I'm in love with cities I've never been to and people I've never met"

    I commented how I liked it but had been trying to figure out why or whether it was even a good thing. A mate replied -

    "I have a good friend, he is buddhist and was always saying to me "Its always the same empty my bro..."

    I laughed.

  3. I instantly related to this as i was reading it. Ever since i got back to the US i've been so bored of everything..I've been constantly planning ways to escape in the back of my head. The excitement, and satisfaction of conquering new experiences is addicting.

    1. It totally is addictive - always chasing that first high. Curious how long it will take to find the path of destruction