Travel can affect people in different ways. On one hand, you see new places, meet new people and hopefully do successful business. On the other hand, travel is far more stressful than it used to be. Airports have turned into busy shopping malls and actually meeting people is more difficult than ever with wifi all over the place. You’re suddenly in new surroundings and the old familiar touchstones aren’t there. Your friends, family, and co-workers are all far away and may even be asleep during your day. All this can make some people feeling depressed and lonely. When you’re traveling you need to fashion your own support systems. Here’s a list of some tips if you are struggling with travel depression. Even better, most of these tips are equally useful even if you’re at home. TIP #1: SIMPLY DON’T SPEND TIME ALONE Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Meeting new people and making friends can be a quick fix to your despair. Health clubs, museums and parks can be a great way to meet fellow travelers. You will find out, you are not the only one traveling alone, and people are usually very open about sharing tips. Talking to people is great medicine. Just communicate with people, friends and strangers to make new friends or explore new things. There are people all around you, there are families, other solo travellers, couples young and old, people on trains, planes or in ticket booths at train stations, baristas in funky cafes or hotel receptionists, people sit at tills in supermarkets, on ferries, and people welcome you and also stay at B&Bs, hostels; literally everywhere around you, there are lives of others playing out. Other people who you can choose to connect with, at any time. TIP #2: MAKE A ROUTINE THAT WORKS Carve out a routine as soon as you can. Whether you’re away for two weeks or two months, it makes taking care of yourself easier. Find the place where you’ll eat breakfast after forcing yourself out of bed each morning. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk back to your hotel, every day after your business meetings. Learn the streets and carve out paths until they become familiar. You don’t have to do the same thing every single day, just don’t allow yourself to fall back into a day of naps and staring at the ceiling if you can help it. TIP#3; GO OUT AND ENJOY When you’re feeling down, staying curled up in bed isn’t going to help. Take advantage of being abroad and go for a walk. Getting up and going for a walk is one way to motivate yourself. If you need it, take a map with you. Discover the places that you’re in. Wander off the beaten track, if it is harmless to do so. Whether you choose to see the tourist sites or simply people-watch, being out and about will take your mind off being lonely. Cherish the fact that you are far from home. And remember, he best places to go to are green. If a dog is caged indoors and not allowed to play outside, its owners may be prosecuted for not allowing the dog to “express normal behavior”. We humans, wanting outdoor greenery, are expressing normal behavior and should have rights equal to dogs. In all seasons– the sheer liveliness of the green world is good for the mind, for our psyches are uplifted and on the lookout for all the vital signs, written in green. TIP#4; BRING A REMINDER Bring a reminder of someone you love. When I travel I like to have something physical to remind me of my family at home. Usually, I bring a hard copy of a picture. I like to hold the picture before I go to sleep. You might bring a postcard or even wear a ring or bracelet of your loved ones. Knowing that I have someone I love back home makes me remember that travelling is just temporary. These stresses won’t last, and neither will the positives of the trip. So just enjoy the experience. TIP#5: TRAVEL SLOW Those going abroad for the first time often treat business travel as a checklist. The Vatican Palace, the Louvre, the Oktoberfest … and better yet, visit all of them in a day. However, there is much more to travel than hitting the tourist sites fast. Take a moment to reflect on your surroundings. When you travel quickly, you don’t even have time to process everything that you’ve seen. Making friends, and meeting locals in particular, gets lost along the way. By staying a bit longer, you can really get to know the place and the people in it. You may even hang about, and become an expat sooner than you know it. TIP#6; STAY FIT While Jet lag makes it hard to sleep anyway, use your mornings to start active. Pre plan and prepare a small snack prepare your workout clothes the night before. This way you won’t waste any time and can’t claim you forgot anything. Wake up 30-minutes early, eat your snack (banana, some yoghurt, whatever…) and get a quick 20-30 minute workout done. The energy boost you get from exercising and becoming more fit and above all less depressed than those 30-minutes of snooze time. In addition you’ll move faster and with greater clarity during the day. A simple Google search will find you many nearby gyms but of course this blog will advise you to use the Gymaround collection for a hand picked selection of premium clubs in all major business cities. TIP#7: PLAY WITH ANIMALS. If you’ve ever owned a pet, you already know how much fun and affection they can bring. Dogs are a great way to feel alive, meet new people and just feel better. Just type in “pets depression effects” and you’ll find endless articles on how beneficial owning a dog or cat can be So whenever you’re in a strange place and feeling depressed, look for the nearest dog park and just sit there. The sight alone will make you feel great! And as a bonus you can have some lively conversations with dog owners as well. Say bye bye travel depression. TIP#8: KEEP A GRATITUDE LIST Those of us who have been consciously active in personal development and self-help know that keeping a gratitude list or journal is key to a happy life. Make a plan to stay consciously aware of the good things that happen. At bedtime each night, write whatever it is you’re grateful for, or what the highlights of the day were. It can be one thing, five things, or ten things. Maybe it’s the barista who made your latte that morning and wrote Good morning in the foam on top. Maybe it’s the little kids begging you to take their photo, or the dog keeping you company on the couch. You will gain a deeper appreciation for all things and while it’s true, you will start receiving more things to be grateful for, you will discover that there’s no end to the amount of joy and appreciation you can feel. Starting this practice before you’re feeling down will help you to keep it going when you’re not having as much fun. TIP#9: DARE TO BE ALONE If you’re afraid of sitting down in a café by yourself, just carry a book or journal with you. There is nothing wrong with dining alone, and a good read or meaningful diary entry can sweep you away to (even more) foreign lands. A recent study revealed that a majority of people would rather give themselves an electric shock than spend 15 minutes alone in a room. Try to be good company for yourself and travel depression can be a temporary thing. TIP#10: DON’T BE TO HARD ON YOURSELF Don’t beat yourself up for not feeling joyful every minute. Yes, it sucks to be depressed when you’re exploring a new part of the world and should be busy with successful business or meeting new friends. But it sucks even more to berate yourself for not being happy when you’re “supposed to”. You are not supposed to be anything. Yes, try to appreciate where you are, but just feel whatever you’re feeling and that allowance might even make room for something more positive to come in. Are you an experienced solo traveller? What are your tips to feel good and not feel lonely while on the road…? Feel free to share some tips below.