When I first returned from India after living there for six months, I experienced really intense withdrawal syndromes. Physically, I fell really sick after eating Char Kway Teow (a type of Singaporean fried noodle), and spent the next five days after returning home in bed, nursing a fever and a stomach ache.
During these five days, I also spent the time moping around, feeling superbly sad that I had left my favourite country for good. I missed everything about India, from the RS10 (SGD0.20) cup of chai I had at roadside stalls, to the bumpy roads and the rivers and mountains.
Thankfully, I had with me some pictures and books, which helped to make the separation slightly better. Friends also did help, especially those who saved my life after I attempted to walk by the side of the road in Singapore, rather than on the pavement. (In India, I seldom walk on pavements as they can be a) flooded, b) congested with litter or c) blocked by an animal, eg. a cow or goat.)
As I face the somewhat daunting prospect of not travelling in the next 5 – 6 months, I have compiled a list of 10 great ways to deal with travelling withdrawal syndromes. Time has changed my perspective in life as well as my earning power, therefore some of the ways to deal with travelling withdrawal syndromes have also changed since five years ago.
Here are 10 great ways to deal with travelling withdrawal syndromes if you can’t travel in the next 6 months.
1. Busy yourself with earning money
This sounds a little out of line with the theme of travelling, but I’m serious. To me, there’s nothing more important than travelling, apart from Money. Be it giving tuition, or aggressively selling vacuum cleaners/ insurance, work hard to make as much money as you can. Knowing this sum can be used for future trips will add to the consolation of not travelling. A caveat here is that you cannot be working until you suffer a burnout.
2. Cut up the credit cards
If you’re the type that is constantly hooked to the websites of AirAsia, Tiger Airways and Jetstar for good deals, it’s time to wean off the addiction. Using a sharp pair of scissors, snipe through the plastic. It will be a little troublesome paying for stuff later, but it’s quite worth it as you can no longer book that spontaneous flight ticket you’ve set your eyes on.
3. Unsubscribe from travel related promotions, like Groupon Getaways
Receiving updates on promo fares and travel deals via email/ social media is going to make you feel like travelling, and pose as a major heartbreaker. Avoid these at all costs.
4. Go shopping
Nothing is a better balm to the tortured travelling soul, than Shopping. One could easily spend hours in the Zara/ Mango/ H&M store, trying new clothes, shoes and bags. Whistles* Rather than covering just fashion, expand your shopping radar to home improvement items such as a washing machine, pans, cupboards and sofas. (Ikea makes a great place to spend the day.) At the end, you will gain some satisfaction into knowing that the money has gone into something tangible.
5. Try different cuisines
With the money which you have saved from travelling, spend it on a good meal at a fancy French restaurant, or doing a Gordon Ramsay. The fun part about travelling is trying the food of different countries, and it’s great that Singapore offers a great variety. For networking purposes, you’ll know what’s the difference between champagne and brut, and get to taste the best fois gras and duck confit like what you would have done overseas.
6. Go on a staycation/ Have a sleepover
Nothing beats spending a night in an environment which is not your home. Think a fancy boutique hotel with a huge TV, fluffy white pillows and a nice thick comforter. If you’re on a budget, than you may want to consider turning up at your friend’s place with a pillow and a bottle of wine. : )
7. Challenge yourself.
Pick up something you have never done before. It could be cooking, picking up archery or going on dates. With a goal in mind, it could distract you from your desire to travel.
8. Watch movies on your favourite country
When I found myself really missing India, I used to watch Bollywood shows, and films about India. My favourite is 3 Idiots, a film about friends, college life and comes with some pretty awesome views of Shimla and Ladakh. It’s a tad long, but very worth it. Lucky for me, Indian movies tend to extend for 3 hours, so I get the sense that I’m right back in India for a prolonged period.
For those whose favourite country is Korea or Taiwan, it’s really easy because there are so many awesome dramas and variety programmes out there.
As I mentioned in the introduction on books and guides, reading and travelling go hand in hand. When I want to travel but I can’t, I always read. Be it books about India, or simply National Geographic, which offers a really great articles, pictures and videos on the iPad.
Also, I’m sure I don’t have to mention how reading The Travelling Squid could help you feel a little better… : )
10. If all fails, have a few sips of wine…
This differs from person to person, but if you’re the sort that is slightly more able to reminisce the good old times after a few sips of wine, then I’d say having a few drinks, reading a book and watching a movie go hand in hand.
On a side note, if your travelling withdrawal syndrome has got to do with the inability to purchase duty-free alcohol, Friends are your best bet. ^^
To tackle travelling withdrawal syndromes, it will be good to first understand why you want to travel. If the need to travel is because you would like to avoid certain things or people, as described in the post “Six unhealthy reasons to travel“, then perhaps it’s best to target the problem at its root.
Hope you enjoyed the list and drop a comment if you have anymore ideas.