You’ve been travelling, you’ve lived the dream. Then you come home. What now?
There’s plenty of blog posts on how to up sticks and give it all up for the sake of travelling the globe, seeing the sights and living the dream.
But you don’t see as many posts on how to come home. And how to really LIVE there.
After a full year of being back, I wanted to share everything I’ve learned from trying to get back in the game!
So how, after you have spent three years moving from country to country, with sand between your toes and a single bag, do you move back to ‘reality’? Some travellers will stick with the dream, and make ‘nomad’ their lifestyle. But for others, it just isn’t possible. Finances, family, friends and life can call us back. Then ‘travel-sickness’ hits. You realise everything is different. It’s like being home-sick, only you crave freedom, change, a lack of home almost.
I wish I’d had something like this to read when I came back from travelling and felt like the rug had been pulled out from under my feet and I wasn’t quite sure how to stand back up again. I am DEFINITELY not fully cured. After nearly a year and a half of being firmly ‘home’, I still make my boyfriend switch sides of the bed with me every two weeks! The ‘sameness’ can stop me sleeping. BUT, I have found ways to tie myself back to a solid point and truly embrace the idea of home!
1. Do something you love.
9-5 may never be for you, but put your all into whatever you do. Don’t be afraid to start again, but also don’t think that your years of travelling count for nothing. Not taking into account any of the work I did, I travelled solo for two years. That’s two years of making choices, plans, bookings, finding accommodation, flights, buses, trains, budgeting, dealing with emergencies, re-budgeting, first aid and a whole lot of talking to other people. They call it life EXPERIENCE for a reason, my friends, don’t discount it just because you had fun too.
Be ambitious about your wisdom, not apologetic for the time you took out.
I would encourage you to ignore the people who say ‘never settle for anything less than perfection’. You won’t find perfection instantly. Some days, you will want to hit people. Find a place where you feel the youest you (#DrSeuss) and go from there.
If you really struggle to find your niche, email me. I’ve always wanted to take a crack at career guidance.
2. Change it up.
Travelling means you meet new people every day. It was one of my favourite parts of the lifestyle. Maybe coming home means you may have lost touch with people, or feel a little lonely. If you’re reading this and you’re British; did that stiff upper lip return as soon as you landed on British shores? Did you stop talking to the stranger next to you as soon as you had your first cup of tea? Mine kicked in later.
I tried to go on a night out, not long after returning from Sydney (pro tip: you won’t be able to go out anymore. It will never be the same) and I turned to talk to the person stood next to me in the courtyard. The shade was real. I had gotten used to the open vibes of tourists and travellers; here, the vibe was more ‘piss off’.
So. Hop on an app. I’m serious. Bumble has a BFF mode. I found it after I said that I wish there was a Tinder to find someone to come to a gig with me. Facebook has loads of groups for finding backpacker pals in a new country. Why not at home? Voila. Friend app. Everything British in you is screaming no right now but bear with. There are a LOT of other people who have travelled, come back, and want friends with the same spirit. Shout out to my Bumble homies, who have made home more homely. Tip 4 is also a great way to meet more people!
3. Take more pictures.
Explore where you are. Don’t spend every second scrolling through Facebook photos. Time hop still occasionally whacks me with a landscape that makes my heart hurt, but I look through all of the stunning pictures I have of the past year (side note: if you get yourself an Instagram boyfriend then this makes this tip easier) and I can see that the grass is green on both sides.
Tie this in with your new pals – go on friend dates (YES I KNOW THIS SOUNDS STUPID BUT IT’S FUN). Do run away. Run away from the same thing; the same pub, the same sandwich shop, the same daily walk.
Find somewhere new, climb over the fence and see what’s in the next field. Unless it’s like sheep or something because trespassing is a thing.
4. Get a hobby.
Get attached to something. One of the downsides of travelling is that you can’t always be a ‘part’ of the local community, at least not long term. When I came back, I found I was more open to being a ‘community creative’.
I live in Folkestone, Kent, where there is a fabulous active community of creative people and investment in what I am going to deem ‘cool stuff’. (Creative Quarter Folkestone, Creative Foundations, The Old High Street). This won’t be for everyone, I know that, but my point here is to find your people. Put yourself out there and get a little uncomfortable.
Seen all those ‘your vibe attracts your tribe’ Instagram posts? True, but your tribe will meld your vibe too! Spend your time with people you LIKE doing ‘cool stuff’. I choose to be a writing nerd. I got the chance to be a writer as part of link up between Sick of The Fringe and an art/science collab called ‘Normal? Festival of the Brain’ and met some fabulous artistic people who inspired me to see the amazing parts of the local community.
I also went to a fabulous session with Betty Magazine, making macrame and flower crowns. I was slightly terrified of knowing no-one, but everyone was SO welcoming and friendly! I’ve been to quite a few events now and learnt exactly what I enjoy (and what gives me a mini anxiety attack). But trying different things is definitely the key to success.
5. Find yourself at home.
Don’t wish your time away trying to be somewhere else. You wanted to travel to see the world, don’t miss seeing what’s right on your doorstep! If all else fails… get a dog. They’ll teach you everything you need to know.
- Have you come home from travelling? Do you have any tips to share? I’d love to hear them! Comment below or let me know over on my Instagram @sorunawaywithme