Holiday Blues, Why I Don’t Belong Here And Other Reflections From Travel

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Holiday Blues? You’re Not Alone!

Travelling is more than just a physical journey. It entails a whole lot more than the simple and inherently enjoyable tasks of getting on a plane and jetting off to some exotic location.

For the true traveller, the real journey is one of endless emotion and fervour. Often ending in the holiday blues.

We’ve all heard of the post holiday blues. That feeling of despondency and discontent associated with returning home after a vacation. And while the holiday blues are very common, for the true traveller, the blues are just one small contributor to a wide spectrum of emotions experienced on any given trip.


While we often experience emotional decline as a trip draws to an end, there are a plethora of other emotions associated with every aspect of travel.

The excitement of packing, The racy taxi ride to the airport. The long tedious queue at the check in desk. The feeling of flying at 30,000ft over some of the most spectacular landscapes our blue planet has to offer. Arriving at a new place for the first time; not to mention the overwhelming sensory overload as you begin to take in a vast array of new sounds, smells and sights. These are all familiar concepts to the more intimate traveller.

When travelling anywhere in the world, its always my hope to return home richer than the day I left.

The currency of a travellers richness is not the pound, dollar or dinar. Rather it is his experience, knowledge and personal development. The attainment of these qualities should be more than sufficient to motivate anyone to venture beyond his or her own neighbourhood in search of a better self.

The potential to attain this immaterial wealth while travelling is invariably available. Whether I’m integrating with locals, indulging in local food, walking the streets, roaming villages, or simply gazing at the stars, I am always learning something new.

While away from home, I often reflect on my existence. I’m always contemplating my place in this world, and consequently constantly tweaking my view of the world as I go.

All of these things are emotional experiences, and they are the building blocks of practically any trip I go on.

When, for example, I spent two days in Vietnam’s northern province of Sapa (See post here), I can honestly say, in such a short space of time, I felt every variation of love, fear, envy, happiness, sadness, joy, freedom, trust, disgust and everything in between.

To me, it is this diverse range of emotions that defines what it means to be a traveller.It is each and every intimate encounter that makes it all worth while.

Travel is not about turning up to a country in order to cross it off a list. Rather, it’s about igniting passionate affairs within destinations.

The holiday blues are simply the final emotion in a long string of emotions catalogued on a trip. But why do I feel so deflated on returning home?

Should a great experience not fill one with enough satisfaction to last a lifetime? Isn’t home a sanctuary? What do the holiday blues mean to me?

Gloomy London…

My holiday blues are accounted for by the fact that I feel like I no longer belong in my home town. As my flight decends into the infamous canopy of thick clouds that overshadow the city of London, my mood instantly plummets.

A cold feeling dawns over me as I walk through the bleak corridors of London’s Heathrow airport. Invariably I find myself surrounded by strangers devoid of any sense of community. The train journey home isn’t any less painful. As my carriage meanders through the dull graffiti ridden city, I feel alienated.

The thought of returning to the mundane tears away at my insides. As a passionate traveller, I can’t bear the thought of staying in one place for too long. Not a place like London anyway!

London is still a huge tourist destination, and I can see why. As cities go, London has a lot to offer, but like most places, living here is a different cattle of fish.

It has become a city designed for the elite, the wealthy, and the labourer. There isn’t much room for those of us occupying the middle tier. You are either wealthy and live lavish, or you spend your days working like a donkey to pay a debt to a bank for a house you barely live in…if your fortunate enough to be a homeowner that is! (something I discussed here).

Where Is “Home” Anyway?

London is on a steep downhill decline and has been for many years now. As I wrap up and step out into the cold gloomy streets surrounding London’s Victoria station, I’m no longer shocked by the site of drunken women strolling the streets at 3am, shoes in hand. Meanwhile, intoxicated men clout one another.

Don’t get me wrong, I know London isn’t the only place to experience social decline. But as far as it’s my “home”, it’s most personal to me.

I guess I’m tired of living in a dog eat dog city, where taxes are high, homelessness is rife and everyone seems to be in it for themselves. Most of us have come to accept this to be normal, and we think little of it.

Before I started travelling frequently, I too was guilty of conforming to this depressing reality. I guess what I’m saying is, frequent travel has exposed me to a better way of life. It has opened my eyes to how things could be and should be.

I’m not saying that a utopia exists elsewhere in the world, but I’ve certainly come to realise that London is as far from utopia as can be!

As for home? Well, its no longer a place to me, rather, it’s a feeling. Sadly, it’s not a feeling I can say I’ve found in the place I’ve always called “home”.

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