The curious case of the wanderlust blues

welcome to reality

 “Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life”

                                                                                        Michael Palin


A case of the wanderlust blues – there I said it. In fact I even admit to it, I am most definitely suffering from this delightful syndrome. For me my symptoms started after returning back to my hometown after a month long holiday in the ‘Big Apple’. I remember it vividly, it was the summer of 2006 and New York had stolen my heart – I came back home to Australia a different person. I was having the most strangest symptoms – I felt rather blue, my feet were restless, I couldn’t stop thinking of far horizons and I was having this incurable desire to explore the world. I reached out to a multitude of self help books (aka Lonely Planet guides) in a quest to recapture my holiday happiness. Then it dawned on me after months of moping around that I had been bitten by this thing called the “travel bug” and that – my friends is how I will be forever deliriously lost in the wanderlust blues.

So what is the Wanderlust Blues? Wanderlust is a strong desire or impulse to wander, travel and explore the world. When one finds that they are unable to travel then things can get a little stir crazy and a whole lot of signs and symptoms start manifesting.

The wanderlust blues: Are you exhibiting these classic signs?

  • Living vicariously through another persons travel experience is probably the number one sure fire sign that you have the wanderlust blues. You openly admit that if you can’t go away to some exotic location then “damn it” you will live vicariously through anyone else’s holiday. You then give them implicit instructions to post holiday snaps to their Facebook and Instagram accounts purely for your enjoyment.

  • That trip countdown app you downloaded to your phone now serves the purpose in reverse. Instead of deleting the app you now continue to remind yourself how many days it’s been since your last trip.


  • You beg your workmates, friends and family to pack you in their luggage as though it’s a reasonable request. You even offer to sweeten the deal by saying that you wont take up much room. Oh go on admit! I’m sure you have said this at least once in your lifetime!



  • The minute you touchdown on home soil you want to immediately get back on a plane again. Suddenly the nightmare of a long haul flight in economy doesn’t seem that bad at all.



  • Your stories always begin with “when I was in the US or when I climbed Mount Everest or when I had afternoon tea with the queen”



  • Instagram becomes as important to you as your right arm. You are forever logged into Instagram and follow every travel account under the sun. You reminisce by posting your own holiday pics from the last five years worth of travel. Instagram can certainly exacerbate your wanderlust blues if you are grounded and pangs of jealousy are a side affect of drooling over other traveller accounts.



  • You can’t bring yourself to tear off the airport tags from your luggage. It gives you a little warm feeling when you see LAX, LHR etc proudly displayed on your handle and you are not ready to give up that feeling. The holiday isn’t officially over as long as those tags are still attached to your luggage. Right?



  • The sudden depression after one arrives home from an amazing trip of a lifetime. You know that feeling? So you start planning your next trip to make you feel happy again, and again and again. Each trip exacerbating the wanderlust blues even more. You start making statements like “I need to be free”, “I can’t be tied down” and “there is more to life than a 9 to 5 job”. You fantasize about selling everything you own to travel the world … kind of like the modern day equivalent to “running away to join the circus”.



  • You don’t name drop you city drop! You conveniently somehow relate everything in a conversation to a city you have been to “Prague or Venice or Monaco or … “



  • You hang on to currency just in case you plan a return visit. As you never know when you might be back in that little village that took five days to get to via ten different modes of transport. Or like me you forgot to exchange your cash before you left a country with a closed currency! I know I will be back!



  • You carry around the London Oyster card in your wallet for years. Yep I am guilty on this one and even worse I have three of the things!



  • You have at least one room in your house that is a shrine to your favourite city or have a collection of tacky souvenirs you were forced to buy at a weak moment. How many of you have those pesky little Eiffel Tower key rings? Or what about a snow globe? Or my personal favourite the fridge magnet.



  • You have already staked out your work place annual leave calendar and have filled in your leave for the next twelve months and if it was at all possible, you would fill it in for the next year too!



  • TripAdvisor has replaced your best friend/significant other. TripAdvisor doesn’t mind at all how much time you spend with them or how much procrastination you do. A glass of wine and a date with TripAdvisor becomes the highlight of your Saturday night.



  • Your main goal and mantra in the workforce is: Make money for travel



  • You can’t listen to certain songs (holiday anthems) without feeling a little nostalgic about your previous travels. You are immediately transported back in time and the memories are flooding back leaving you with a strong desire of wishing you were back there again.

The cure

The wanderlust blues happens to the best of us, whether we have been away for a short time or for a year long journey, it will always leave us longing for more. Given this fact I’m sorry to say (actually I’m not really sorry) once you have been bitten by the travel bug – there is no known cure. So embrace it, harness it and get planning your next holiday adventure, and remember that planning is as much fun as the journey!

Enjoyed reading this?  Do you know someone who may be suffering from the wanderlust blues? Share this post and let them know they are not alone!

Leave a comment or ask a question here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.