Depression is a very real psychological ailment that for many, can be completely debilitating. It is a condition not to be trifled with and needs to be addressed. It has also claimed so many talented lives, like genius-comedian Robin Williams. Depression is a form of mental illness that can place people in a quagmire of despair. In an attempt to elude this deep despair, photographer Michael Loffler spent three years traveling around the world.
Aided with his normal medication, this decision to be proactive about his condition helped him feel less in the doldrums. Traveling however does not come cheap so Loffler had to have a strategy of thriftiness. As he explained, the most expensive thing about traveling is plane tickets, which can really break anyone’s wallet. One solution around this is he tried to travel mostly by land, and in reasonably cheap countries in South Asia or South America.
He also went couchsurfing, hitch-hiking, stayed at friends’ places and spending as little money as possible with a daily ceiling of $30 a day. This is actually how most backpackers see the world. Loffler also tried to work even though he was on a trip. What he did was capitalize on two things: the fact that he speaks English, and the millions of people out there that want to learn the language. People readily offered payment, which added to his pocket money.
He also took on labor or retail jobs as additional ways to cut costs. Loffler perhaps should write a book on how to see the world on a budget. As for his photography, he said it “breathed a little life” into him. Loffler is just 26 years old, but he has already been to more destinations around the world than most people will visit in their lifetime.
Loffler however does admit that traveling is more of a temporary rather than a permanent cure for his depression. He says, “If you manage to get out enough that you can make it on to a plane, you will definitely feel better, but remember, you’re going to take all that stuff that weighed you down back home, with you. Change comes from within, so try and utilize traveling to teach yourself how to fix what you need inside. Traveling is inspirational and definitely will transform your life, for the better or for worse.”