Cestopisy,  Seberozvoj

Post-trail blues EN

My friends, 

I am writing this, hoping it can help not only to all adventurous souls but to their dear ones as well.

When I was standing at the beginning of GR11, with 850km through Pyrenees mountains ahead of me, I was a bit scared and nervous. How could I not? It was my first long solo hike. My biggest adventure so far. To make the first step, I had to imagine how happy and proud I would be at the end. 



Six weeks later I am sitting on the rock at Cap de Creus, hypnotising the endless horizon, listening to the sounds of the sea, crying. How is it possible that I am not looking forward to the civilisation? To enjoy shower, clean bed, plenty of food, to see my friends? I wish I could walk the whole way back straight away! Instead of joy and happiness I feel sadness and emptiness. What is wrong with me? Do others experience this too, or am I the only weird one? I had no clue that a depression called the post-trail blues fell upon me.


Imagine waking up every morning with the sunrise, breathing fresh air, walking through breathtaking landscape, dancing in the rain, bathing in waterfalls, sleeping under the stars. Endorphins and adrenaline are pumped into your body with every uphill run. Your heart is beating loudly and clearly – YOU ARE ALIVE! This is freedom! You are spreading your arms to the sky, enjoying the wind in your hair, feeling overwhelmed with joy. Hiker’s High. 

Everything you need you carry on your back. Life is suddenly easier. You do not have to worry about your career, social role, relationships, expectations of others or their problems. You just are. Here and Now. The only concern is to run away from the storm, dry the tent, find a source of water, get food. Fatigue, frustration or fear sometimes appear, of course. But deep down you feel an unshakable confidence that you can handle anything that comes your way.

On the trail, I felt joy and gratitude every day. I was proud to face the fear of uncertainty, to leave my job and everything that could be called security. I finally started to follow my childhood travel dream. My eyes and heart were wide open and I was rewarded by meeting wonderful people. Sincere concern and kindness strengthened my belief that there is good in everyone. I felt love to the humankind, to each and every one of us. Fulfilment, joy and happiness at maximum intensity, day after day, week after week.


And then overnight it was OVER. Deep sadness and emptiness. It hit me hard in my beloved Barcelona. It should have been the icing on the cake, but it was bitter on my tongue. After six weeks on the trail, I felt like an alien there. The noise! The smell! And why is everyone staring at me? How is it that my rucksack and shabby clothes are no longer reasons to start an exciting conversation? Food at every corner, anonymity and the need for money led to the feeling that the world was strangely materialistic. I don’t belong here, I don’t fit in… and I don’t even want to! I miss my trail life! My routine, kindred spirits, the simplicity and most of all – the trail version of myself. Fearless, cheerful, kind, she could handle everything. Who am I now? The sadness was eating me alive. 

I thought it would help to share what was happening inside me with my friends and family. How naive! How could someone who has not experienced it understand me? The feeling of isolation deepened. Great, I don’t even fit in with them anymore. I belong back on the trail, among the same weirdos. Only they can understand that I left my job so that I could walk hundreds of kilometres and „experience misery“. Most of them did the same.

But we can’t always go back to hiking right away. Hikers are not lunatics who burn bridges and run from everything and everyone. We do not travel to escape from life, but so that life does not slip through our fingers. We have duties, obligations, family ties, we need finances… and all of this requires at least a temporary integration into normal life. How did I deal with it?


1. Be in touch your trail buddies / other hikers. They went / are going through the same thing, some less and some more intensively. Kind tip for those close to us – we don’t want advice or analysis from you. We just need to share and see understanding.

2. Share, share, share. Write an article, share photos, give a lecture. It’s an opportunity to remember all the great moments and realise what you’ve achieved. Maybe you will give courage to someone else, maybe you will open the eyes of those closest to you.

3. Stay active! There is nothing worse than to switch from approx. 10 hours of activity to sitting in a chair all day. Not only the physical, but also the psyche goes to hell. The human body is designed to move. Watching the body decay only deepens depression. Go for walks, exercise, dance, discover a new activity (climbing is great, for example). Do whatever feels good.

4. Do occasional fasting. After weeks of starvation, it’s natural to want to make up for it. But after a while, the feeling of exclusivity wears off – everything is so easily available. Do you remember how divine was the burger, for which you had to walk hundred kilometres? How could a square of chocolate transport you to paradise? Try to repeat this experience by making your favourite meal exclusive again. 

5. Plan your next trip. It doesn’t matter whether it will be for a weekend / a week, whether it will happen in a month / a year. Refresh your gear, look for inspiration. For example, in travel magazines, outdoor documents, or…

6. Go to travel festivals. Either as a speaker or a listener. You will meet a kindred spirits and find some inspiration. 

7. Make an occasional hiker trash thing. Your past reality will probably make you laugh and make you feel like a punk. And maybe you’ll feel grateful that you don’t have to do it anymore. Maybe we’ll meet one day in a cafe in the toilet, when washing our hair in the sink, stealing the toilet roll or charging our mobile phone.

8. Recap the trail. What did you go for? How did the trip enrich you? How can you incorporate it into your daily life? Maybe you finally learned to  calm your mind, get up early, rest. You may have noticed that when you don’t push anything, things happen naturally in your favour. You may have discovered that you are much stronger than you thought. Maybe you started to like yourself. And maybe you realised that you can do anything you set your mind to. What did you struggle with before you set out on your journey? What seemed to be an „insurmountable problem“? Maybe it’s time to look at it with your „new eyes“.

9. Pass on the kindness that was natural on the trail. Whether you shared something, or someone took care of your blisters, offered a ride / place to stay… these are wonderful gestures of interest and care. They show our need to be there for each other. We are social animals and helping makes us feel good. Even a grumpy person has kindness in his heart. But sometimes it is hidden under a hard shell, waiting for someone to crack it. Why not being that someone? 🙂

10. Write a journal. Ok, it may seem a little late for that. But you can start anytime! I’ve been writing a diary since probably forever, my observations from travels and life 🙂 Even the most colourful memory fades with time. A journal is a great way to keep it alive. And I am sure that when reading your notes later on, you will definitely think – wow, was it really me who experience this? 🙂

11. The life of each of us has meaning. On and off the trail. Therefore, give meaning to everything you do and do it with love. It will make your soul happy and other will benefit from it as well. 

12. Remember that you are not alone. And that everything was, is and will be all right.

With love to all those whose souls are always on the road and their loved ones.



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