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Life after the Long Road Trip

There are few experiences more life changing than the truly long road trip. We’re not talking two or four weeks, but a true adventure that takes an entire season like summer or even months longer – a truly epic and long road trip. While these are the types of trips that create the memories of a lifetime and that you’ll always cherish, there is a very real need to look at the aftermath. The trip doesn’t even with the return of your RV rental. While many people talk about the awesome benefits of these life-changing vacations (and rightfully so), too few people talk about is re-adjusting to life after the long road trip. Chances are very high that this will be harder than you think.

Schedules Are a Hard Re-Adjustment

Near the top of every list of great things about the long road trip will be “freedom.” The freedom to start the day when you want, to make camp when you want, to be able to go off on side adventures whenever you feel like it. This freedom is something that takes a bit to get used to in the beginning of a vacation or long-term trip but it also quickly becomes one of the defining factors.

After a life of punching the work card and doing the 9 to 5 the ability to take lunch when you want it, to push through to the next town or stop early in this new little place you discovered, these are things that quickly become highlights of your long road trip. While there might be certain dates you want to be at certain places to make a festival or meet certain friends, the ability to just stay or go, rest or work as you see fit is a major change and one that travelers embrace.

Once you are back home, going back to a schedule is hard. Like, really hard. Many people feel constrained and suffocated at first by having normal schedules and being around people and a society that expects you to always be on time or even *gasp* early for a planned meeting.

This is normal. The best way to get back is to ease that adjustment. Don’t jump right back into a 40-60 hour a week job and a dozen organizations requiring your time. Focus on the parts of having a steady schedule you enjoy most and ease yourself back into “regular life” once again.

Post-Trip Depression Is Real

Ironically if you want to look at a good community to tackle post-trip depression (which is very real after very long road trips) is to look at thru hikers who hiked the AT or PCT trails. While hiking for 6 or 7 months is quite a different thing than a long term road trip in your RV, both of these types of these trips are life changing in nature and coming off of them depression is a very real thing.

First, accept that the depression is real and there’s nothing wrong with you. This is a normal part of the process. By understanding that this is a real thing and preparing yourself to deal with it, you’re already ahead of the game as you ease yourself back into a regular scheduled life…at least until the next major road trip!