Missing Thailand: Post Travel Depression

It's been almost four days since I got back from Thailand and I am not coping very well. Sorry, biggest understatement of my life; I am not coping. Period. Everyday routine and functions take so much energy out of me. My suitcase is still lying in the corner, half-unpacked, I've barely gotten out of the house except to work and Facebook, with its constant stream of ATYAP photos has (sadly) become my closest friend.

Fuck. Just reading this makes me want to give myself a giant smack in the head. I know I shouldn't be wallowing. I don't have the right to sit here and mope about the ATYAP experience coming to an end because well, I was lucky enough to even get the experience in the first place. And this is why I'm writing a post instead of confiding in other people - because I can already imagine their metaphorical eye rolls and justified lack of interest. But even knowing all this doesn't stop me from curling into a ball on the couch and trying to pretend I'm anywhere but here.

Photo credit: Thomas Da Jose
I knew coming back wouldn't be easy. When I left, it felt a little bit like running away. I'd wrapped up my internship only a week earlier, with zero idea of what I'd do afterwards, I'd rushed the lesson preparation for my substitute at tutoring and I'd pushed any thoughts of uni right out of my mind. Basically, I was all "I'm gonna deal with this shit afterwards". Well it is now "afterwards" and the situation at work has changed, all the good internships have been snapped up and what I'm studying at uni no longer feels sufficient or rewarding-enough after the last 4 weeks in Thailand. I'm feeling swamped, lost and depressed and a (very) small part of me wishes I could do a mental brainwash a la Peeta in Mockingjay and just forget about all the good stuff so I can move on.

I went through a similar period of dissatisfaction after coming back from Korea. I wrote (and this is an exact quote):

You can't help but feel like you've left something important behind. And I was only away for ten days. What's going to happen when I leave Australia for a year?
Well this time, I was gone for an entire month. And the post-travel depression has been amplified twenty times over due to the nature of my trip. I set off from Sydney with 35 strangers and a month later, I landed back here with a family. I'd grown used to the constant presence and company of these beautiful, hilarious and inspiring humans. We'd taught together, lived together, karaoke-d together, mafia-d together and struggled uncoordinatedly together through the painful but fun torture that is Thai Dancing. When we were bored, we'd knock on each other's doors (which were right next to each other). There was always someone or a group to go to the night markets with you or someone who'd lend you a bucket when you had to do your laundry.

Photo credit: Samithy Heng
Photo credit: Sharon Ung
Now it's too quiet. And even though the majority of us live in Sydney, nothing's the same. I remember doing TBL and thinking that nothing could ever break the bonds we formed on the road trip. And I suppose some friendships have endured but at the same time, we were definitely not as close as we were 6 months ago. (This probably explains why, on the very last night in Bangkok, after coming back from some fun times on Khaosan road, I went around telling my ATYAP family "I'l never see you ever again").

I had such an immersive experience in Thailand as well. Before all the touristy stuff happened in Bangkok, we were practically living and working in Ubon Ratchathani. We had a routine and even though, at times it exhausted me so much I could barely drag myself out of bed to get down to breakfast, it was fulfilling in a way nothing else ever was. If we didn't live in the world we live in, if money wasn't an issue, if I didn't have to worry about what I'd be doing in 5 years time, I would have stayed in Ubon and taught for another 6 months as Teacher Cindeeyah from Australia.

Me and my shadow, Mac, who I mentioned in the previous post. Turns out that the awesome Sharon Ung managed to get a photo!
It's been a rough few days guys. Hasn't helped that for the majority of the time, I've been hermit-crabbing in my house, too emotionally exhausted to face the real world despite knowing that the only way to get over this is to see people and do things. Maybe I'll be fine in another week or two. I really hope so because university's about to start and at this point in time, I am in no state to do anything, let alone sit in 2 hour tutorials about communication theory.

1 comment:

  1. I know how you feel, even though my situation is a bit different from yours. I feel like my life has been stuck in limbo for the past three years. It feels like I'll be stuck where I live now forever. I'll graduate High School in less than four months, but I'm mentally and physically exhausted. I know that these next few months are important, but I don't even care anymore. I'm so over it. I just want to move to a different place and start a new life.


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