After coming across many other people when traveling and having this exact conversation, I realise it’s something we all feel when returning home from traveling.
Some call it ‘post holiday blues’… But I think it’s definitely more than that. Especially if your trip wasn’t for holiday, but rather for experience and growth.
You see, I left New Zealand after graduating from University back at the end of 2014. Up until that time I had been in school for the majority of my life. For 18 years to be exact. And while those years held a shitload of fun, it typically was the same thing day in and day out. Just going through the motions and accepting it as the way of life.
When I set out traveling in December 2014, I had no idea how much it would change me. Over the following 5 months I was changing everyday, yet had no idea it was happening. That is, until I returned home for 4 weeks in May 2015.
Talk to anyone who has gone off traveling for a while and they will all tell you the same thing…
Life back home feels different when you return.
Everything around you is the same and suddenly it feels like you never left, but you’re confused because you feel like an entirely different person.
There were times I had to purposely replay the last 5 months in my head to make sure that I hadn’t just imagined those best 5 months of my life. That I had actually lived it.
I had countless new friends that I had amazing, once in a lifetime experiences with, and no one at home even knew these people existed. It began to feel like I was leading a double life (for lack of a better analogy).
I remember struggling with a sense of belonging that I had never known before. This was my home town… How do I feel I don’t belong?
I felt like I had to go back to the person I was before I left in order to feel at home again. In order to relate to people.
Basically my mind and my heart wasn’t there.
I realised I felt more at home on the road than I did at my house. After 2 weeks of reuniting with family and friends I was already itching to set off again… But by thinking like that, it brought about feelings of guilt. I felt like a horrible person for wanting to leave again so soon after returning.
My time for the remaining few weeks felt like limbo. Physically being there but with my mind elsewhere. Just basically counting down the days to get back on the plane.
Sure enough, the next 6 month trip was just as amazing as the first. You can never really put it into words when someone asks, “How was your trip?”. You have a whole stream of visions and memories run through your mind, bringing a smile to your face and you simply reply with a, “Yeah it was great thanks.”…
When it was time to return home the second time I was expecting it to be the same as the first.
But it was here that something hit me…
My time home will be exactly what I make of it.
If I want to waste my time feeling out of place, then so be it.
Or I can make the most of my time being home and appreciate being with friends and family more than ever.
You see, while we might experience some post traveling blues, we also experience something else on the opposite end of the spectrum.
We experience Fortune… Gratitude… And the realisation of what our priorities are. What is important to us.
I now value the time I have with my family and friends like I never had before.
I feel immensely fortunate to have been born and raised in such a stunner of a location… How could I not want to come back here!?
At this point in my life, my heart still lies with traveling… Though from now on, returning home won’t feel like limbo. If anything it carries on the experiences I can have… All I have to do is let it.
I ultimately decided to write this post because I know many people experienced the same as myself. All the mixed emotions of returning home and not feeling the same. It can be a damn confusing time. But I want you to know that you control how you handle it. Turn it into a negative or a positive, it’s all down to you and your perception.
“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer