I was asked for advice last week on how to get over the feeling of wanting to quit a trip and go home early. Having done exactly this on my first solo backpacking trip, I knew how this person felt.
Being away from your home country and the familiar culture, emotional safety net of supportive people and having one consistent safe place to go to as new smells, surroundings and experiences are throw at us daily can make us want to give up.
Travel is a challenge for everyone, no matter how small the journey.
There’s a few things you can do –
1. Make a list of all the positive points of you being on this trip. Freedom, new experiences, new lessons… the list will be a long one. Take a day or two to do it. Once you see that huge block of text, you’ll wonder why you ever felt like giving up.
2. Focusing on the positives is extremely valuable. Consider writing a diary at the end of each day recalling all the good things that happened. Leave the bad things out. After a couple of days, you’ll be actively looking for positives so you have things to write about. The coffee that tasted great, the red sunset, the girl that smiled at you. You’ll truly experience happy moments and notice so much that you wouldn’t have before. This is good for everyday life too.
3. Leave the phone at the hostel and appreciate where you are, the people you’re with and what you’re doing. Letting the place and people in will show you that it’s not as bad as you thought.
4. Let yourself rest. Chances are you’re just burned out. Travel isn’t a holiday and your brain will be getting overwhelmed with new information every day. Give yourself days to do nothing, to sit on the beach with a beer or in the hostel with a book.
5. Don’t isolate yourself and only talk to people back home. This will only cause you to remember what you left behind and make you more homesick. This doesn’t mean you should cut off communication with those at home – a healthy amount is good.
6. Finally, make sure you’re eating enough, drinking enough and sleeping well. Low mood is strongly attributed to these three and whenever I feel down, I check those first. You could just be hungover too.