My Therapist Told Me To Come Home – A Travel Blogger’s Depression

I’ve been a fan of travel bloggers.   I am amazed by their courage to travel alone.  It sounds inspiring when I hear most of them say that travel is life.  And I wonder, “Can I make it my way of life, too?” I have never left my hometown in my 21 years here on earth.  Will I ever have the courage to do it?

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Freelancing Is My Ticket To Traveling

I was determined to travel the world!

So I followed one travel blogger’s advice, and that is to do freelancing in order to afford life on the road.  I read, studied, and put to practice Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek.  Like the others, I made it my Bible in freelancing and traveling.  Getting into this kind of career was never easy.  I failed many times, but with determination, I was able to make it my stable source of income.

 

Overcoming The Anxiety I’ve Never Had Before

I would love to travel, but just the idea of traveling outside of the country became too overwhelming for me, so I decided to explore my country first.  I spent almost six months backpacking, and it was a crazy awesome experience.  I came back home for my mom to know that I was okay.  My family and friends were all excited to hear my stories.  Now, I am ready to travel the world, and my first stop, Vietnam!

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My Feelings Started To Change

It feels very different, and the level of anxiety is much higher.  My mind wanders, thinking of the worst-case scenarios that frighten me.  Different country, different culture.

It was slowly getting into me that I was a foreigner in this land of the unknown.  I tried hard to blend in and find friends.  I got lost in the streets but managed to find my way back to my rented room, which is part of the adventure.  I found the place exciting, and some places were really a paradise.  Some people were great, and there are some who were not, just like in any other places I visited.

 

It was at first fun flying from one country to another.  But I don’t know what happened to me. Suddenly, I was back in my hostel room, feeling so empty.   The excitement was starting to wear off.  Am I just missing home? Am I just overthinking? I tried going out more often and make more friends to divert my boredom, as I called it.  But things got worse when I found myself not going out much when I was in Thailand.  It was a beautiful place, but I was not sure why I could not find the energy to explore more.  Sitting at Phi Phi beach and watching families having fun made me miss my own family back home.  Loneliness struck me that for two nights, I was just in the room that I rented doing nothing until I found myself registering on an online counseling site.

 

I talked to one of their therapists and told him about what I was feeling and asked him what he thinks about it.  He told me that the way it looked, my sudden loss of interest and sadness could be due to depression.  Travelers, no matter how excited they are, can experience depression, especially when traveling alone.

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To Be Honest, I Want To Go Back Home

He asked me how I really feel now that traveling to me is no longer the idea I was just imagining but a reality of life for me.  I gave myself time to think, and my answer was I wanted to go back home. Traveling alone, seeing beautiful places, experiencing new things is not fun when you are alone, that’s for me to say.  I have this guilty feeling that I should be sharing all this with my family.   Whenever I look at my selfies sitting alone at a restaurant, playing at the beach, I think of the family I left behind, and I think of myself as “selfish.”  Instead of enjoying the rest of my travel, it depresses me.

 

Coming Back Home Can’t Be An Option, It’s Cowardliness

After several sessions and after hearing me out, my therapist told me why not go back home.  He said that I seemed to miss my family, which is true.   But I can’t.  I wanted to do this. Giving up and going home would mean I failed.

 

Then my therapist told me, “What’s the use of finishing your goal if you are no longer happy about it?  Think of what will make you happy and not what others will think. You travel not for another people’s satisfaction but your own.  If going home is what will give you your happiness, then that’s not failing. That’s knowing what you want.  Your travel has taught you so much and has opened your mind to many possibilities and experiences.  That’s not failing, but gaining, and not all are given a chance to have that.”

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All My Bags Are Packed

My therapist got me thinking.  And I found myself packing my bags and heading back home.  Traveling has always been my passion, and it has allowed me to grow and learn many things.  Coming home is what excites me now.  I miss sitting on our couch and sharing them my stories.  I miss my bedroom and my mom’s cooking.

 

Many people love the idea of traveling, but not all are ready to leave the comfort of their home.  But for those who gave it a shot, like me, but found themselves just curling up in their hotel room, bored, jittery, and depressed, it is not wrong to open your mind to the reality of what you are feeling.  Cutting your trip short does not mean surrendering to defeat. It’s the wisdom to know what you want and doing something about it, which many fail to consider.

 

I do not consider myself a failure because I took the courage to travel and find myself. It is just that maybe going alone is not for me at this point in my life.  But I will be back on the road, and when that time comes, I will bring along the most important people in my life.

 

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