The Truth About Returning Home After Traveling
The truth about returning home after traveling isn't what you think...
You're receiving excitement from everyone for your return home via text, call, or social media, but you can't seem to swallow the fact that your travels are coming to an end. On the other side of traveling is reality you intentionally left behind - the reality of a mundane life you needed to escape so you could learn what it's like to live deeper. However, in the last week or so abroad - that old life slowly begins to creep back into your mind - making your last moments of travel more intense as you push yourself to do, see, and meet as many people and go as many places as possible. You exhaust yourself trying to hold onto every moment like it's your last. You tell yourself, "it will all be okay" once you get back, but there is also a new element to you now that knows how hard it will be to let go of the adventure.
Maybe you miss everyone. Maybe you don't. During my travels I sometimes felt bad for not feeling more homesick. It was hard to miss things back home when this new way of life offers diverse adventures, scenery, and friends almost everyday. When asked if I felt homesick, I often answered with honesty and said "No." To my surprise this left people feeling somewhat bitter towards me. But I think it's an unfair question. Traveling and life at home are two different worlds, and they can't be compared to one another on that level. Going back home actually shot a twinge of pain into my heart. How can I go back to a normal life after all this excitement and experience?
Unless you're one of these brave souls who decides to make it a way of life and commit to the rugged style of living working odd jobs here and there to pay for your journey around the world, chances are you will be taking that return flight home. I admire these human beings deeply, but I knew I wasn't one of them and would be stepping onto the plane back home. Aside from the part of me that wants to travel and never stop, I'm also a creature of security who enjoys a steady income and sleeping in her memory foam bed. I never appreciated these things as much as I do now before traveling. But I also realized I'm a woman who dared to chase a dream. Until it became a reality, it was something I assumed I wasn't capable of. It's a beautiful lesson learning who you are by letting go of who you believe yourself to be. But in giving it all up for new adventures, you realize there are some parts you'd like to keep. In a way these two realities merge and eventually find balance within you, but it would have never been possible if I didn't leave.
The Journey Home
Despite my longing to continue traveling, I made the trip back. And as it turns out, this was a unique and important part of the travel experience for me as well. Boarding that plane brought me to tears. The excitement of my first solo trip had consumed my every waking thought for the last year and now two months abroad was gone in the blink of an eye.The journey was at an end. I was depressed that first month as I tried to resettle into my old life. Post traveler blues are a real thing! I enjoyed seeing my friends, but realized how life seemed to be at a standstill while I was away.
My first trip was a year ago now. Since I've been home, my life has changed in ways I couldn't have anticipated. Like losing people who I considered best friends, but realizing this is actually a positive thing. People will be on board with your new way of thinking or they won't. You're changed now, even if it feels subtle to you. You've experienced life on a heightened level that you can't always explain to someone who's never done it. I left parts of myself in the countries I visited, and replaced them with reclaimed parts I feel made me more whole.
It's important to remain present in your life once you return home. This is an essential part of readjusting. You must remember your day-to-day rituals are as much apart of your life as the traveling part is. Embrace the friends who encourage your new views on the world and who support and inspire you. And anyone who doesn't, allow them to fall away. Be the best person you can be since you now know how different it can be in other places, for better or worse. Dream bigger now, live deeper, and believe in the greater good of the world and it's humans, and always make space to travel as far as you can.
I embark on my second trip back to Europe this July - Be sure to follow my travels along the way here on The Holiday Girl website!