Coming home after being away for a long time can be exciting. You get to see all of your friends and family again, get into a routine, start going to the gym, eating all your favorite foods…and then you start to realize something. It’s all the same. While you feel like you have changed immensely, everyone around you was busy living their day-to-day lives. Your friends are still, for the most part, working the same jobs and going to the same bars.
People are happy for you, but they having been dealing with responsibility while you have been off traveling the globe.And there comes a point in time where even you best friend gets sick of hearing “There was this one time in Asia….”
After the 2 week ‘honeymoon phase’ I always start unpacking my souvenirs and looking at pictures. There are the handwritten notes from other travelers, the exotic bangles I wore for months on end, the bus tickets, the random and entirely unnecessary souvenirs I purchased because I felt bad for the seller. People always ask what it’s like being back home. The truth is- it’s unnerving, it’s scary, and it’s kind of strange.
It could be the fact that its cold and miserable outside. It could be the fact that the ‘traveler mentality’ you brought back just isn’t being reciprocated at home. You smile at a stranger on the bus and are met with a cold, blank stare. You walk through the drizzly gray days dreaming about somewhere warm and tropical, pretending your toes are kissing the sand. Post-vacation sadness can be very hard to get rid of. It can be easy to start feeling restless and unhappy. It can feel like your life-changing experience is over and you don’t have much to look forward to.
Here are some of the things I do to take the edge off.
Coming Home After Traveling The World
1.Do something you normally wouldn’t do. Take a class. Try out a new restaurant. Go on a date. The key is to bring something new and exciting into your day-to-day life. Break up the routine and the monotony by bringing in some of that travel spontaneity. This can also be a great way to meet new people.
2. Get Moving. Sometimes when I travel I let my exercise routine slip to the wayside, and it feels really good to start feeling in shape again. Do something that makes you happy whether that be practicing yoga, going hiking, or just going for a walk and appreciating your surroundings.
3. Do something creative with your travel memories. Build a scrapbook with all your old bus tickets, notes and pictures. Organize your files on your computer. Blog or write in a journal. While looking at these memories be happy that it happened, not sad that it’s over.
4. Get in touch with the people you traveled with. It’s important to realize that while you were traveling, your friends and family from home were doing things that were just as important. They were taking care of responsibilities (maybe even some of yours), working, and dealing with ‘real life’ things. They don’t want to hear about your travels endlessly. If you are craving to talk about it with someone, talk to people who you met on the road. If they are home, they are probably experiencing the exact same feelings as you.
5. Start planning your next trip. Read some travel blogs. Start dreaming. Then-start putting those dreams into action. Just because you are home now doesn’t mean you will be home forever. If travel is important to you, you’ll find a way to make it work.
Not all those who wander are lost.
Unfortunately for those of us with the travel bug, we will find that ‘home’ doesn’t have as much meaning as it used to. Home is now a subjective term. Home is where your passport is, home is being surrounded by the unknown. For those of us with incurable wanderlust our home is the horizon. We will always be dreaming, gazing off into that endless void of adventure that we know is waiting.