No, this is not a medical term, but my term for the low into which one can fall when one has been on pilgrimage.

When I came back from my first pilgrimage, the Portuguese Way of St. James between Porto and Santiago, I was still totally euphoric the first two days at home.

The impressions of three weeks of adventure and nature, people, southern Europe and the simultaneously sublime and unreal feeling of arriving in Santiago had completely overwhelmed me. I had a lot to tell and many pictures to present.

Back to the daily routine

Then came everyday life and everything suddenly seemed so static to me.

Sure, when you’ve been walking every day for three weeks, wandering from place to place, it can suddenly seem abstruse that you’re still in the same place in the evening as you were in the morning. And the next day you’re still there, and the day after that, too.

It just depressed me that it didn’t go any further, it felt wrong.

So I tried to walk as much as possible, to go on hikes, but the Rhine is not the Atlantic.

After about a week, this strange state had subsided and I had settled back into everyday life.

Nearly a depression?

No, somehow not.

Because even though I was depressed and my everyday life seemed somehow banal, it was not a purely negative state.

It was actually a time when I thought a lot about what I had learned about myself and my life during the pilgrimage and where I looked for ways to integrate these new insights into everyday life.

Does this always happen?

Definitely not.

But it almost always happens to me. No matter whether I was away only one week or five.

And I know from some other pilgrims that it also happens to them.

But in the meantime I can handle it well. I know that in the week after my return I try to keep my evenings free to go for a walk and to actively think about what “pilgrimage knowledge" I want to integrate into my life. And I also know that it is only a few days.

It doesn’t take so long until it doesn’t seem strange to be in the same place all the time….

In the end, the “post-pilgrimage syndrome" time is also a valuable one, which only shows that you have not come back as the same person you left as.