Post Travel Depression, Symptoms

Did it ever happen to you to come back from a place from where you never wanted to come back? To think about the same place hour after hour, even a few days after you left it? If you answered “yes”, then most probably you understand how I feel.

We were in the car that was about to transfer us from the port to the hotel, together with Petri, when the traffic lights turned red and the driver suddenly pushed the break. I looked out on the window and I saw a car on my right side, loaded with 10 pigs that were about to be sacrificed soon. Suddenly, I woke up to the reality that was surrounding me, with a bitter taste of sadness: we were going back to Bali from Gili Air, the most beautiful place I have ever seen and felt on earth. Now, if you don’t know what it is with this Gili, don’t even bother to search it on any earth globe. It’s so small that you won’t find it.

Gili Air was exactly the destination that many people dream of: situated at the other side of the world, it has clean beaches, water so clean that you could see the bottom of the ocean, fresh and delicious food, palm trees, silence, no pollution and amazing local people.

Floating on the ocean
Floating on the ocean

As I find my peace and inspiration in small things, like simplicity and in nature, it was not difficult for me to fall in love with this island. Throughout my travels, the most difficult moments were the ones when I had to say goodbye to a place or a person whom I might never see again. And yes, I cried in Cassis when I was saying goodbye to my host, I cried in Seville because I felt something that I never felt before, and I also cried during all my flight when I left from Sicily to Rome. But I never thought I can feel attached to a place, attachment that led me to a light depression. What do you do when you fell in love with a place? A place that steals your breath, your thoughts and your heart; a “home” which if you want to reach you need to change 3 planes and 3 ferries and go over 3 seas.

I have no idea how to treat it, when it will pass or what to do with it. But this is how I feel:

1. I miss being asked on the street how am I. Just because it is the most used sentence that the locals know in English. And I was not even trying to ask them back how they are, because they didn’t know how to answer;

2. Gili Air is where I heard my breath under the water for the first time and where I conquered my fear of swimming without touching the bottom. Thanks to Gili Air I came to discover the wonderful underwater world, looking for turtles.

3. I miss the fact that every time I was out on the streets and heading to the beach, the first question of the locals was if I want magic mushrooms.

Locals playing chess
Locals playing chess

4. I miss the fresh coconut juice that I was buying from the same person, every day for 3 weeks. And when we were saying “goodbye”, “see you tomorrow” was literary “see you tomorrow”.

5. I miss watching the sun disappearing in the ocean and the sky turning from light blue to red every evening.

Beautiful sunset in Gili Air
Beautiful sunset in Gili Air

6. I miss the peace, and the only sounds that I would hear to be the waves of the ocean;

7. I miss seeing people smiling, who were interested about you even if they don’t speak English;

8. I miss being asked for tourist prices and when I was replying that it is too expensive, to be asked “How much will you pay?”

9. I miss being awakened at 4 a.m. by the prayers in the mosque; this was making me be aware of the wonderful place I was in;

10. I miss walking barefoot on the streets, without anybody looking me in a strange way;

Riding the bike
Riding the bike

11. I miss getting tired because of pushing my bicycle through sand, as there are not too many paved roads on the island;

12. I miss seeing the same people 15 times a day and to understand ourselves only through smiles;

13. I miss riding my bike 30 minutes just to say “Hi!” to the man selling coconut juice;

Coconut head
Coconut head
My favourite coconut juice
My favourite coconut juice

14. I miss going in the “warung” and being told that the batter for my favourite desert is finished; this is how I knew that the people appreciate the typical local Indonesian desert;

Best Martabak in the history of Martabak
Best Martabak in the history of Martabak
Our every day Terang Bulan cake
Our every day Terang Bulan cake

15. I miss waiting in a “warung” for one hour until my meal is served, and when I would get it, to receive the soup and the main dish in the same time;

16. I miss that every night when I was saying that I go home, it was really feeling like a home;

Amazing sky
Amazing sky

17. I miss the freedom, the days when the only thought was from which part of the island to watch the sunset.

Are you familiar with this feeling? How did you manage to go through it?

 

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3 thoughts on “Post Travel Depression, Symptoms

  1. What a lovely place. No wonder you didn’t want to say goodbye. When I leave a beautiful place, I remind myself that a trip is not the real world. If I really live there, I would have to go to work, take out the trash, and soon I would be missing “home” again. A good, quick cure is to start planning another trip!

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  2. Another name for post travel depression is reverse culture shock and yes i have experienced it. But as I travel more i accept that i have to enjoy each country and my own. For example in Thailand i can enjoy a delicious yellow mango or in Colombia a delicious passion fruit juice, mexico a perfect avocado. When I’m home i can enjoy the fish and chips and cold weather i miss when I’m abroad.

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