In 2013 I squished my life into a backpack, caught a one-way flight to Bangkok and spent 4 months exploring the magical countries of South East Asia. I set off on my journey with a complete sense of freedom, with no set plans or deadlines. I travelled to seven countries, ticked 13 items off my bucket list and had 37 massages! I made friends with the locals and immersed myself in culture, good food and maybe the occasional $0.20 beer!
Anyway, this article isn't about me reminiscing about my incredible time in South East Asia, mainly because, if I did, I'll probably end up crying into my pillow when I get home! Instead, I wanted to talk about life after your Asia backpacking adventures.
Let's face it. Coming back from your trip sucks. At first, it may be a novelty to eat familiar food, do your business in a toilet rather than a hole and to see your friends again. But after a few days, the holibob-sobs will hit... You'll wake up in cold sweats after dreaming of elephants and Pad Thai, then you'll be waiting all night at the taxi rank for Mr Hong, your favourite Cambodian tuk-tuk driver!
Just over a year on and I'm sitting in an office in Alstonville, a tiny town just South West of Byron Bay where I'm currently living. Okay, so life isn't as bad as what it would be if I was to be sitting in an office back home in the UK. For a start, it's 35 degrees this week. I spend my spare time at the beach and I'm hoping to spend Christmas in the sunshine. But then I don't get the perks of spending time with my friends and family, like, ever. I guess what I'm trying to say is, wherever you end up after your trip to Asia, you'll have some pros, some cons and two incredibly itchy feet.
5 Ways to defeat post SEA Backpacker Blues
Defeating post SEA Backpacker blues isn't too hard if you put your mind to it. You've just got to let it impact your life in a positive way and work towards your next big adventure.
1. Enjoy the things you missed...
like a bubbly hot bath. Although, you're probably slightly concerned about the water scarcity in the world now, so be mindful! Enjoy spending time with your bests, getting your hair done and going out for a dance or to the movies.
2. De-clutter your life.
You've lived out of a backpack for the past however many months and didn't need much more. You've seen how happy people can be when they have so little. I'm sure you're going to be more appreciative from this moment forward, so why not sort out things that you don't need or like anymore and give to people less fortunate than you. It gives something back to the world and you will feel great for doing it.
3. Get your snaps out!
Looking at travel photos makes everyone feel warm and fuzzy inside. Whether they make you laugh or cry, it's always nice to remember that exact moment in your life and feel the emotions that you felt at that particular time. Life goes fast so it's nice to take some time out and remember what you've done and where you've been. You may also find it helps talking to other people about their trips, past or future. Read blogs, communicate online and talk to everyone that you meet you in person. You can share tips, stories and hey, you may even find yourself a new travel buddy!
4. Work, work, work. (yawn!)
But seriously, putting your mind into a new work project will help the time go by while you're saving for that next big trip, plus it will help you in the future when it comes to *one day* growing up.
5. Start thinking about your next trip!
Hair of the dog is when you consume an alcoholic bevvy as a hangover remedy, so surely hair of the coconut is to get over summertime sadness with summertime planning? Maybe it doesn't quite work, but you get me, right?! Now you've been to South East Asia, why not aim to backpack to South America next? Or road trip around Eastern Europe? You're capable of anything, you don't have to tame that wanderlust spirit inside of you.