You go away. You explore another country, marvelling at everything. You notice new things around you and within yourself. You make promises, when you go back life won’t be the same anymore. You’ve been to the other country, you saw a different way of living is possible. You’ve changed.
You go back.
I believe traveling open our minds, it helps us to see things in a different way. It supports our development and allows us to pause and reflect – maybe life doesn’t have to be the way it’s always been? Maybe you don’t have to be the way you’ve always been?
I got back from Mexico filled with its energy. I brought its beautiful colours and sunshine with me to London, but soon after the old life took over. Work took over. Rain and cold took over.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
There are ways to not give in to the post-holiday blues. Let me present:
10 ways to prolong that holiday feeling
- Listen to the music
When I’m abroad I love to check out youtube.com as the page picks up on your location and suggests songs popular in the country you’re visiting. It is a great way to learn about the local music scene and to add a few new songs to your playlist to cheer you up on those gloomy days back home. I also like to find local digital radio stations. I might have come back from Mexico but when my kitchen sounds of rancheras and reggaetón, life feels much better!
2.Eat like a local
One of the best souvenirs you can bring from a country is its food. Choose items that can last long, such as spices, coffee, tea, drinks or sweets. From Mexico I brought, amongst other things, spiced chocolate and a local coffee. Now whenever going gets tough, I can sit down and let my little Mexican treat transport me back onto those white sandy beaches and mysterious jungle. I recently visited a friend who had just returned from Uzbekistan, drinking the aromatic tea she brought from her trip brought to life her description of the places she’s seen, allowing me to travel with her.
- Print out the photos
Most of us take photos when traveling, but only a few actually then go through the trouble to develop them. Filling your house with the photos from your trips is the best way to travel back in time, plus seeing your own smiling face triggers a positive response in your brain as it remembers that feeling of genuine happiness. I personally love photos and my current Facebook display and the phone wallpaper feature me and my husband in Mexico – I can’t help but smile at the memories these images always trigger.
- Tell your story
Don’t wait for people to ask you about your trip, when asked how you are mention your journey at the earliest opportunity. Many of us keep our travel stories to ourselves, worried that the other person may not truly care. Forget about what others think for a minute and keep on telling your story. Most people love traveling so the chances are that the person you’re speaking to will find the very topic interesting and it might even give them an opportunity to add a thing or two about their own travel experiences. Talking about your trip will help to solidify your memories – the more we think or talk about something, the stronger that neuronal pathway in our brain becomes, making it easier to retrieve memories later on. So keep on talking about not just your latest, but about all your travels. If your friends are fed up of your stories, find a group interested in travel, join a new community, go to travel related talks. Anything that allows you to share your experience or inspires you to at least think about it, will help to keep the place alive in your memory. If you’re not really a talkative person or find sharing your travel experiences too personal, write it! Writing, aside from helping you to retain your holiday memories, has got a therapeutic value. And who knows- maybe one day your travel journal will help to inspire that travel book you were always meant to write? Maybe sharing your experiences on a blog will inspire someone else to travel, help them to avoid mistakes you’ve made or help them make the most out of their trip?
- Fill every day with travel
Make your every day reality about travel. Buy travel magazines, watch travel shows, go to the travel meet-ups or photo exhibitions. Eat in foreign restaurants and make friends with people from other countries. We don’t always have to leave our home to travel.
- Books are your travel tickets
Before any trip, I like to stock up on books about or set in the country I’m going to visit. I never buy the travel guides, but I do enjoy reading books written by someone who travelled to a given country, or something by a local author. Having someone describe the places you’ve visited allows you to re-experience them, but also challenges you to compare and contrast your opinions with another person’s perception. One of the places on this planet that are very close to my heart is Istanbul and every year I don’t get to visit it, I feel like something important in my life is missing. I then grab one of the books by a Turkish author (especially my favourite, Elif Shafak) and disappear in the streets of Istanbul.
- The cinematic travel
Movies are great for a short trip away from the reality. You’ve been dreaming of visiting Japan but don’t have the time or funds at the moment? Watch a movie set there! I find movies a really great escape, allowing you to travel without leaving your house. When I was missing Australia, movies such as “Tracks” really helped me to feel the energy of the outback and feed my wanderlust.
- Invite friends for a themed dinner
Upon our return from Mexico, my husband and I invited our friends for a themed dinner. We made Mexican food and drinks, played local music and told them about our trip while showing photos. Hosting a travel-themed dinner is a great way to get together with your friends, but also to share knowledge of a country with others, break a few stereotypes and maybe inspire their next trip.
- Plan your next trip
A return to reality after being away can feel quite painful. Something you’ve been looking after for so long and then thoroughly enjoyed is now over. In moments like this it is crucial to have another trip planned. Usually after a long travel I no longer have the resources for yet another great venture, but a weekend away, if planned well, can be a perfect alternative. As soon as I got back from Mexico, I browsed internet for affordable tickets to a place my husband and I haven’t visited yet. The perspective of going for a weekend to Norway, gave us something to look forward to this autumn. We have also started discussing our travel plans for 2017, making the year to come exciting already!
- Find your inner Mexico
My trip to Mexico proved to be a very reflective time that helped me to realize a lot about myself. Traveling is a great tool for self-developement as it provides a space to see yourself from a distance, notice the personal journey you’ve been on, what’s been happening to your energy and relationship with your inner self. Mexico made me realize that somewhere in the stress of everyday life, I lost my zest for life and spontaneity. After reconnecting with that part of myself there, I didn’t want to return to my pessimism and worrying. But I did. Just few days after coming back to London, I found myself repeating the pre-Mexico patterns, returning to my old ways. Habits are difficult to change, but the first step is to observe and keep yourself in check. I might not be fully there yet, but I keep an eye on myself and try to embrace life. There are days when I give in to stress and tiredness, but I’m actively fighting for myself. I do more in my spare time and put more energy into my personal projects that I had before. I say “yes” more to opportunities that come my way and I try to enjoy the present moment. To keep that relaxed, happy Mexican Anna closer to my heart.
Keep traveling, wherever you are