Travel Blues and Wanderlust bugs

For some strange reason, the first thing I think of when I hear the phrase ‘travel’, is an airport. I know it’s sort of clichéd, because in lots of ways, while air travel is perhaps the most comfortable and quickest, it is one of the more ‘scenically challenged’ routes to take while traveling. Unless you’re into…well, what the kids these days call…erm…cloud porn. I reckon my attraction towards airports has probably something to do with the fact that I’ve always found them to be fabulous places to people watch. Those scenes of people arriving and departing. The stories – of hearts broken, of affairs rekindled, of excitement unparalleled, of sadness indescribable. Every face has a story and sometimes when I get time, I try to weave a story around them. But today, it’s not about airports. It’s about travel. Sorry, I digressed.


The more I think about it, the more certain I am. The wanderlust bug definitely lost its way trying to find me. And once it did find me, it administered the slowest release of this ‘travel poison’ into my blood – so slow in fact that it took me almost 20 years to discover this love for traveling that I presently have. 


But then again, maybe it wasn’t the bug’s fault. After all, I grew up in a household where the idea of a trip was saving up money to visit extended family in India, once every year. So between saving money for these trips, buying things for people we’d come across on these trips (of course we had to – we were in the ‘gelf’ after all) and then actually running around to every relative’s house while on holiday, well, it’s safe to say, the wanderlust bug probably got confused and left. Years later, when it finally returned, it nipped me and I started to think about how much more there is to the experience traveling – the joy of discovering new places, seeing new faces, tasting new cuisines, being adventurous, trying new things and so much more. To me, it was very much like those kids discovering Narnia. Well, except I didn’t have talking lions and the secret cupboards and the rest of that.


So, it’s safe to say that I only started traveling into my mid-20s. Yes, the same age at which some of these new legions of travel bloggers and writers get addressed as experienced and veterans. So, that’s how late I was to the game. But fortunately, I didn’t let old age deter me too much and traveled as much as these creaky bones of mine would let me. Of course, then we became parents. And then the rest, as they say is history. But more about that in another post.


What I didn’t realize was that no matter how much or how little you travel, there is one thing that a good travel escapade often leaves you with. A side effect of sorts – a travel withdrawal symptom, if you will. I call it post-Travel Blues and I discovered it the hard way. It is something that affects you when you have really enjoyed your travel. It doesn’t matter whether the place you traveled to is one of the top most spot on the Lonely Planet guide or an almost hidden mountainside less known to most mortal beings. It’s all about how much you enjoy being there, living in the moment, experiencing everything that the place has to offer and often at times, rediscovering yourself in the process.


Now, I believe that’s what travel is all about. It’s neither the destination nor the route alone, but a sum total of those plus every new experience you have and every new memory you create. Yes, I stop to take photographs too. But while it used to be about the likes and hearts that they would accumulate on social media, I soon realized that photographs are important memory triggers too. They too are part of that travel experience and perhaps will One day rescue you when your memory is no longer what it used to be.


I’ve come to realize that for most of us, post travel blues hits us the day before the return trip. Starts with a lot of sighing and shrugging, and our emotional fight with the realization that it’s time to go back. And then on the return trip, we are torn between reliving those memories, the prospect of ‘going back to the grind and everything it entails and of course, promising ourselves that another destination awaits us, with new experiences to be had and memories to be made.


Come to think of it, in a lot of ways, traveling is like an addiction. An incurable and often ‘high-on-your-pocket’ one, satiated only by the possibility of a trip in the not-so-distant future. After all, that is the true essence of travel.


[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@iwrotethose” display_mode=”box”]Or maybe, #travel is like opening a box of Pringles. Once you start, you really cant stop. [/tweetthis]


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  1. Post travel blues is certainly the most difficult of all the things associated with a holiday. But fortunately for me along the way somewhere early into my travel days I realized the best way to beat them is have atleast a day off before you rejoin the grind, a day of not getting back to the usual. A relaxed day but not being at home, may be go around meet friends, neighbours etc. Being home can add to the blues the next day when you get to the routine. And most importantly reading this reminds me to do my bookings for the next trip 😉
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  2. I love traveling by car or train than by air. I like to drive aimlessly than driving to a destination. Then again I’m not much of a traveler as my husband would like me to be! What I hate about travel is coming back to a messy house. Oh yes, it always get messy as most travels happen as a last minute change of plans. 🙂

    1. I’m sad to hear that you didn’t read till the end, Dixita. Maybe if you had, you’d have understood the gist of what the post was about. At no point have I said that it’s an expense to visit family. I was talking about how previously the idea of ‘travel and holiday’ were to do more with going back home rather than experiencing something new.
      I have no clue how you ended up with ‘your’ interpretation of the post.

      Thanks for stopping by though!

  3. I won’t say I know a lot about travelling. But there are a few things about a vacation that make me happy
    1. That amazing few minutes when the bus/train/flight starts moving towards the destination. I just feel so happy and excited within, I may look like that Duracell rabbit at this time.
    2. The air. There’s something different about the air in your own city and the air of the place you’ve travelled to. I don’t think it’s the pollution factor, it feels like something else, something more magical.
    3. Whenever I think about a past vacation, I first think about the air. And then some good food that I’ve eaten there. And then the beautiful places I’ve visited.

    Loved the travel and Pringles analogy 😀

    1. The air. Now that’s a view point I haven’t heard much 🙂 I think I understand what you’re saying though ….about the ‘air’

      Thanks for reading, Mithila

  4. Lovely post. The first thing that comes to my mind when you say Travel is packing and unpacking. Anyway, I’m not much of a traveller. Love my bed and home food.
    Plus the waiting at the airports, stations …argh.

  5. I don’t want to think of travel blues since we’re almost at the end of the kids’ exams and travel is definitely on the cards. There are so many things in your post I’d like to talk about. I love air travel for the speed and comfort but you do have a point when you say it is ‘scenically challenged’. I miss the hours of train travel and watching the fields go by. Also what you said about travel = visiting extended family – that was true for us too except we never went anywhere because we were the extended family!
    Good to see you back here.

  6. I have just come back from Guwahati and what can I say, while visiting mom’s isn’t really called travel, but it is to me. And I can’t explain how blue I feel today. But yes, overall, a good holiday does do that to you. I am what you call the reluctant traveler, the getting there part is something I don’t like and once there, I want to lazy around and just soak in the place at my pace. And coming back from a good trip is like going to war camp literally!

  7. I read the words travel and wanderlust and here I am ! Travel is one the best things one can do – You discover new cultures, new places and best of all you end up discovering yourself. For me it is never the destination, it is the experiences you gather. And when it is over you are left with a kaleidoscope of memories. To eb taken out again and again and savoured !

  8. You know, one look at you and everyone will know you were born and brought up in the Gelf 😛

    You know my quest for travelling. I started travelling only when Cal came into my life. He’s an avid traveler and has been almost every place in the country. I was sadly born to middle class parents were travelling meant taking the public bus to and from school/college/work. As kids travelling meant going to visit my maternal grand parents in Hassan every summer vacation. I love the country side and this was something I looked forward to every year. Then sadly, I grew up and there were no summer vacations any longer.

    Cal and I have traveled quite a bit and we look forward for more. While we normally have 4-5 vacations every year, this year we could manage only 2 so far. Hopefully the next two months will help us take some time off and relax. We badly need it.
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  9. As a child I travelled a lot with my parents, all over India. Their intention was clear, we make it a fusion of fun and religious visit tour, so we also ended up visiting Vaishno Devi with Dalhousie or Puri with Darjeeling. I just came back from a trip back home and like every time dusted off all the old albums and went down the memory lane yet again. ☺
    Travel blues are like an anticlimax. The more fun the trip, the worse they get. I try to remind myself that life is to be lived during these breaks. No dieting. No restrictions. Otherwise, it is just an existence.

  10. Travel is beautiful. It is liberating. It really opens your mind to so much. Like you, I also started traveling much more in my 20s. Having a spouse who loves to travel was a much-needed trigger. So much so that having tiny kids did not deter us. We try to vacation at least 3-4 times a year excluding the family trips. I think that keeps me alive and motivated. Enjoyed the post. Was hoping to read a travelogue too. 🙂

    Hope you are feeling better.

  11. This is one of your better posts. I love the nostalgia and the wistfulness in it coupled with the almost invisible life lessons that come from the simplest of tasks, such as taking pictures. I love travel precisely for the reasons you mentioned although I’m not a travel bug as such.

    Side note : Good to see you blogging.
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  12. Most of the times travel blues last so long that your family tells you to come back (mentally) to routine life.
    But some trips have that effect you know;)
    They make you want the days should stop coz you feel so at home with that place or experience , so comfortable that you don’t want to lose that precious thing ( or that you that you found in that place)

    You know exactly why this rant , don’t you:)

    Ps : Pringles ? Really! You compared travel with Pringles!
    ( wait, why am I surprised?!) :p

  13. Travel, seems like forever since I last did it. But yes I do remember those post travel blues. Most of the times they hot really hard, almost making you want to cancel going back. What keeps one going after a period of travel is the planning and anticipation of the next trip. It is the only way to survive I have heard some people say.
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