Left Travelling early - Depressed :(

Travel Forums General Talk Left Travelling early - Depressed :(

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1. Posted by Derek28 (Budding Member 13 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Hi,
I recently started what would be a 6 month trip around parts of Asia. I spent a few days in Dubai & then a few in Thailand but started to feel homesick, lonely & depressed and by the end of the 1st week knew that I had to head back home.

Even by the end of the 1st week I knew I wouldn't be able to cope with the loneliness despite usually being a lone wolf or independent. I realised I needed my family more than anything in the world.

I'm back home now but have this incredible feeling of emptiness, depression and feeling like a failure for not seeing through my trip.

Has anyone else done this at all, come back early from a trip and how did you adjust coming back to home life?

Thanks

2. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1749 posts) 1w 2 Star this if you like it!

A lot of people experience some initial loneliness, disorientation and culture shock. On the timescale you're talking about there may well have been some jetlag mixed in there too.

Mostly it passes. After a while of it all being weird and you feeling isolated, you have some fun and without really realising the feeling of difficulty passes and you're in your stride travelling solo.

It's usually somewhat later on that "culture shock" hits you. Too much alien input for your senses results in fatigue. For this reason people tend to advise going somewhere relatively similar to home in culture, so things are not too difficult while you are learning the ropes. eg UK to NZ. Asia in particular can feel very alien, busy and varied.

I've not much to offer for how to overcome feeling a failure - unless you need to focus on your next project or mission? That's usually my way of dealing with life's setbacks.

3. Posted by littlesam1 (Budding Member 73 posts) 1w 3 Star this if you like it!

Six months is a long time. Perhaps the length of time you were facing caused some of your issues. I love travel. And I try to travel at least twice a year. But I rarely go for longer than ten days to two weeks max. That's just me. I get tired. I miss my dog and my own bed. Perhaps you could try a shorter time that would not be as daunting as six months. And don't beat yourself up over this. You did what was best for you mentally at the moment.

4. Posted by Derek28 (Budding Member 13 posts) 1w 1 Star this if you like it!

I've been travelling on my own 3 times and coped very well, for around 5 days to a week, and this time I really thought I would enjoy for longer term, I guess I was wrong :(.

I've plenty of money to fall back on which is good, but jobless so I feel like I've missed out even though I probably should be at home for my own wellbeing.

5. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1382 posts) 1w 1 Star this if you like it!

Looking back, I don't think I've ever really done a trip on my own. I'm usually with some members of my family and, for the past ten years, it's been just my wife and me. I know many people who swear by travelling solo but I'm not sure that's for me.

We occasionally meet up with other travellers and do the odd day-trip together. We met up with someone from TP in July and did a few trips in Lebanon and we also joined up with a fellow traveller to tour Syria (pre-planned - we met her first in Ethiopia in December). Personally, I prefer not being on my own because I can discuss what we're going to do and what we've done with my wife.

The advantages of being on your own are that you can do what you want, when you want and you don't have to compromise. You can eat what you want, when you want. You can get up when you want and go to bed when you want and you can stay in whatever accommodation you want. Everything is your own decision. The disadvantages are that you're on your own (unless you meet another friendly traveller) and there's no-one to spur you on. And there's no-one to watch your back.

The advantages of being with someone else are you have someone to talk to about what you're going to do, how you're going to get there and what you've already done. There's always someone to look after your bags when you want to go to the loo and there's always someone to talk you out of a bad decision. The disadvantages are that sometimes you can't actually do what you want to do (I wish I'd cycled the Death Road in Bolivia but my wife wasn't at all keen) and you can only go as fast or as slow as the slowest one of you. That sometimes means being last through immigration or missing out on the one remaining seat on the bus that only departs once every 24 hours.

Have you thought about trying to get a travel-buddy from your home country who you know and who will stick around with you - preferably with similar interests? That might work for your next trip. Or try to arrange to meet up with friends for parts of a long trip - a week here or four days there. Or build up - you've gone solo for 5-7 days, next try two weeks, then three, then a month - that might work.

Whatever you decide, look after yourself - travel's not worth it if it's to the detriment of your mental health.

6. Posted by Peter (Admin 6795 posts) 1w 2 Star this if you like it!

We travel generally for fun, so if you aren't having fun then there is no shame in calling time on the travel and returning home. Honestly, I think you should be proud of the fact that you were able to make that decision and not just push on with the trip in misery as many people would do! I also tend to travel with family or friends and would always prefer that over going solo just because it's nice to have someone to share your experiences with.

If you are struggling with depression over this, try to get to a psychologist so they can talk you through what you went through. There's only so much advice you can get from the internet :) Even a few sessions might be enough to help clear your mind a little.

7. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1032 posts) 1w 1 Star this if you like it!

I'm with the others - don't beat yourself up for this but be proud that you recognised that it wasn't working for you, made a difficult decision and acted on it.

Like others too I don't like to travel alone. I know it's right for some people and I recognise the upsides, but I also know it's not for me. Usually I travel with my husband - we don't always want to do the same thing but generally we have the same ideas about travelling and largely overlapping interests. Yes, we have to go at the pace of the slowest (me, by a long way!) and compromise at times, but the advantages hugely outweigh this disadvantages. Like Steve, I like having someone to talk to about how the day has gone and what tomorrow might bring :) Maybe it was that lack of dialogue that helped to contribute to your sense of loneliness? On a short trip such as you've done in the past you know you'll soon be home and you're storing up experiences to share with your loved ones on your return, but with six months in front of you that opportunity to talk about everything will have seemed so far off.

I would suggest you take time to pick yourself up, mentally (maybe seek help as Peter mentions, if you're struggling to cope alone). Use the time to really think what you want to get out of travelling and how you want to travel. Then plan another trip, but think carefully about what you plan. Maybe a shorter solo one, around a month, to dip your feet back in the water. Or, if your reflections have brought you to the conclusion that solo travel for any length of time is not for you, look for a suitable travel buddy - a friend, a family member, or even someone found through our forum. A third option would be to combine the two. Set off alone, but have plans for a friend to join you mid-trip for a few days. Or arrange to meet online friends in one or two cities along the way.

Or even (and I know not all will agree with me on this ;) ), consider joining a small group tour for all or part of your trip - one run by the sort of company that gives plenty of free time to explore on your own and doesn't mind you going off alone some days rather than always having to be with the group. I think if ever I were in the position of not having a husband or friend to share an adventure, that would be my preferred option, as I'm an extrovert type who needs to talk things out, both the good and the bad

So use this time to really think about what you want from a trip, so that you don't let this experience put you off travelling forever!

8. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 2316 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

There are some charity groups that work overseas that you can join. Retired now, but back when I was still working I did a couple trips with Earthwatch. Once for Indonesia (Sumbawa Besar) where we worked on a Solar Oven project. (Save the trees, use sunlight for cooking.) Once in Thailand for the same organization I worked on an archeology dig at Phimai, Thailand. (I had lived in and visited several countries previously when in the military.)

The expenses for this type of charity work, at least for my country, was also a tax deduction providing you have a taxable income and the company is on a list of acceptable charities.

This type of overseas projects is not just all work for 24 hours. You are with a group who you usually eat with and live in same hotels. Free time in evenings and a day or two off during the stay for exploring.

For this type of overseas charity work you can choose the part of the world where a project exists. I chose projects that had guest houses or hotels for lodging vs tents. Work with animals in Africa and Asia. Various archeology projects here and there. Some environmental projects. Different projects different times of the year.

I have traveled with wife and sometimes with girlfriends on trips overseas. (Not at same time.) I think I prefer solo because no discussion or compromise on what to do - just do anything you want this way!

Up to you.

9. Posted by Bennytheball (Budding Member 47 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

I fail to understand how you could feel lonely and depressed in Thailand, arriving by plane from Calcutta and landing at Bangkok I booked into the famous Thai Song Greet budget travellers hotel and almost before I got unpacked I discovered that new friends would not be in short supply.

So, after a short siesta, a bite to eat and a few cold beers I began to explore the immediate surrounding terrain and discovered that even more friends than anticipated could be available, so to avoid "friend saturation" I returned to the hotel where the smiling manager informed me that the original friends who had welcomed me on arrival were upstairs awaiting my attention.

So, I suspect you had a basic communication problem with the local people, many of whom can only speak basic English backed up by hand signals. Thailand might seem daunting at first because of language problems in which case you should have hopped on the train to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a city where new friends were also not in short supply and with fewer language problems, English being widely spoken almost everywhere, a legacy of two hundred years of British Colonial rule.

Of course it's easy to be wise after the event, but next time you want to go travelling I advise reading up on a suitable guide book, I find the Rough Guide series most helpful with only minimal errors.

And....try to develop an extrovert attitude towards local people in unfamiliar surroundings, this will be a huge asset, I've always found that people in under-developed countries are friendlier on short acquaintance than you might find back home.....

10. Posted by khaledb (Budding Member 10 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Hi Derek!
I haven't been into your position, yet I can feel you! I agree with others supporting you're ability in making a decision.
Lonely and depression and slimier feelings might hurt you but they are completely very good symptoms. They assure how much do you love your family and homeland.
On the other hand, you should have tried to think carefully before heading back home. It would have been a good idea if you tired making new friends or joining some clubs!
Ultimately, I see it as a very good try which will help you manage things and look up guidebooks next time you think of travelling.
Although Dubai and Thailand are amazing for trips, they might not be your cup of tea!
Cheer up! :)