Ok, so you’ve been on this incredible trip… People are going to ask you, “How was it?” It is so easy to say, “Well, you just had to be there to understand. ” Yes, it is true that there are some things that cannot be communicated with words, but to only answer that way sells yourself, and your experience, short. It is important to process a trip rather than juat move on. You also don’t want to miss out on sharing your experiences with others. There are ways you can successfully share about a trip to communicate what it was like.

Process Your Trip in Smaller Chunks

Think about days or day parts. Highlight an activity from the day or from the area you were visiting. For example, if you visit multiple areas or neighborhoods, share a highlight from each.

You can also break your trip into categories, like people, food, nature, travel, etc.

Use Photos to Help You Tell the Story

They say a picture is worth 1000 words after all. The best part about sharing pictures is that someone may seem something in a photo that sparks curiosity. That will lead to questions and then help you know what the questioner is interested in about your trip. Photos may also help you remember highlights, too.

Think about Impact

One of my favorite ways to process a trip is to think about impact. Who did I impact while traveling? Who impacted me? How did this trip change my perspective? How did this trip help me grow? What will I take away from this trip that I will keep with me always? This will help you understand how the world around you shapes you and your place in it, as well as how you impact a place or others.

Process with Someone who “Knows.”

It is true that it is easier for someone to understand if they were there. That is why I try to process an experience with someone who gets it before I share with others, either someone who was there or someone who has been in a similar position. Doing this helps me feel like the emotions and observations I experienced are more valid and less silly. Processing with someone who had been on a similar or the same trip may also help you remember more from your trip that you might have brushed aside.

Don’t Over Share

It can be easy to want to tell every story and share every picture. This is a great way to burn out your audience. Share enough to keep your audience interested but leave room for them to ask questions. This piece of advice is the hardest for me to follow for myself. I just have to remember that it is always OK to say, “I’d love to give you more details about any part of my trip that is interesting to you.”

But Don’t Undershare

It can be too easy to answer with a generic answer or with an answer that comes across as dismissive. It can also be easy to brush off someone’s interest when they are legitimately interested in hearing more about your trip.

Think Ahead

If you’ve been on a significant trip, think about what you might share before you get asked. I love a flight or long drive home for this. I feel less overwhelmed when I consider ahead of time what I might say.

Coming “Home” can be Challenging

When I travel, especially international travel, I know that going somewhere new will leave me experiencing culture shock to an extent. But reverse culture shock is always more difficult for me. Jet lag coming home is always more challenging to overcome than jet lag going as well. I often feel out of body, or not fully present after my return. Especially if my trip was service related.

The first time I spent 3 months in Japan, when I came home, I didn’t feel like I belonged at home anymore. I felt like no one understood me. I felt unfulfilled. I didn’t really process my trip well either. This triggered a severe depression that I couldn’t even recognize as depression until years later. Please, process your emotions and feelings and see a professional if you need to.

Give Yourself Permission to Continue Unpacking

You may not be able to unpack your experiences as quickly as you unpack your suitcase. It’s OK to not be able to quickly rush to getting a post on social media or share with people. You may also not be able to share all at once. You can break sharing into more than one visit with a friend, or share a new memory you thought of at a later date.

Treasure Every Experience

Good or bad. Laughter, tears, goofy encounters, cultural faux pas. They are memories and should be enjoyed with fondness.

One thought

  1. So very wise! I can’t wait to hear all about your trip (I still share your experiences in Japan!). I love you and I love all you do!


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