A scientific investigation

I’ve spent a good deal of time this week avoiding and studying the effects of what I like to call PTP.

Post-Travel Psychosis is a most heart-breaking condition that affects those who have just returned from lengthy overseas holidays or adventures.

The worst part of the disease is the stigma and lack of sympathy that follows the sufferers.

Trust me, the response to “I’m depressed because I just spent the last three months travelling,” is never sympathetic, sometimes sarcastic and usually mean.

Having managed to avoid the condition myself, for now at least, I’ve been able to observe the disease in action with the boyfriend playing the role of Test Subject.

The disease appears to progress in four distinct stages:

1. Nostalgia

Symptoms of this phase include:

  • lengthy,  sentimental travel anecdotes, usually irrelevant to the conversation at hand;
  • Mental repression or censorship of travel; the subject glosses over or completely disregards less-than-wonderful parts of the trip.

2. Denial

The subject is unable to accept the fact that their life is returning to normal and they must now comply with the social norms of their home country. Symptoms may include:

  • Unwillingness to change travelling appearance; examples include refusal to wear uniforms, cut hair or perform everyday personal grooming tasks.
  • Hoarding of travel trinkets; in order to constantly remind the subject he/she travelled, souvenirs such as bracelets or household curios are worn or displayed in prominent positions to prompt guests or passersby to question their relevance, resulting in a relapse to the Nostalgia phase.

3. Depression

This stage usually coincides with the patient’s return to work or other every day, menial tasks. Symptoms include hating the world.

For example: Innocent questions, (“How are you finding being back at work?”) are met with alarming and disquieting answers such as: “I’m on suicide watch.”


4. Discrimination

This is the final stage of PTP. When the disease reaches this level of seriousness, little can be done for the subject. Chances of recovery are slim to nil and the mortality rate is very high. The stage starts of innocently enough with the subject making comparisons between holiday destinations and home. For example:

“I can’t believe how expensive booze is! In Laos, beers cost $1!”

Things quickly go downhill.

“Pfft, there’s no way I’m eating, the food is so much better overseas. Much more authentic.

“Water? No, thanks, I never drank tap water in Asia.” 

This is where most sufferers meet their demise, the majority refuse to eat or drink anything because it is perceived as ‘not as good’ as on their holiday. A small percentage however, meet unpleasant ends by disregarding common sense.

“I never, ever looked both ways before crossing the street in Vietnam.”

“In Myanmar, heart medication is only 1200 kyat, there’s no way I’m paying that much for mine!”

As the disease is so little known with such a heavy stigma attached to it, I have decided to start a charity to help support sufferers.

Save for a Cure.

The only cure is booking the next trip, so feel free to donate whatever you can.

I accept cash, cheque and am in the process of setting up EFTPOS and credit card facilities to fund a curative holiday.

This will take some time, won’t it…

One thought on “A scientific investigation

  1. Faith

    This is a brilliant piece. I am so glad some one finally diagnosed what I was suffering from a couple of years ago. I am starting my own fund and maybe if we get enough people we can get a group discount on our next tour.

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