All good things come to an end. As much as I love life on the road, there comes a time, when you need a break. Constantly being on the move is exciting, but tiring, constantly saying goodbye to people you’ve just gotten close to never gets easy and constantly packing and unpacking sucks. At some point you just wanna throw that backpack of yours down, unpack it and leave it unpacked! I made the decision to go home when the time was right. After nearly 2 years on the road I felt ready. I felt that I needed stability in my life again. But what happens after you get home?
“Getting on that familiar train ride you’ve been on a thousand times before or driving through the countryside suddenly feels like a whole new journey on its own”.
Initially you enter “the honeymoon phase”. You fall madly, deeply in love with your native Land all over again. You’re able to see your home country with sparkling new eyes. Getting on that familiar train ride you’ve been on a thousand times before or driving through the countryside suddenly feels like a whole new journey on its own. You start to feel a profound appreciation for everything you see, most of which you took for granted before you set out on your adventure in the big, wild world. Same thing applies when you meet up with your loved ones. You fall in love with the people in your life all over again. You got so much to catch up on. So many stories to tell. You’re bouncing off the walls and all of your energy is focused on this highly anticipated part of your homecoming. But the joy and excitement of seeing family and friends quickly subsides. What happens then?
“You’re greeted as the long forgotten son, but before you know it, your friends have gone back to their normal lives”.
You enter phase 2: “The homecoming blues”! The place you’ve so dearly missed loses its news appeal. The train ride becomes yet another ordinary train ride. 1001. 1002. 1003. Then you lose count. In its sudden alienation the countryside seems unwelcoming and threatening like a huge tsunami just waiting to wash over you. You, yourself, lose your news appeal as well. You’re greeted as the long forgotten son, but before you know it, your friends have gone back to their normal lives. Naturally, they’re starting to settle down and haven’t got much time left for you. But that isn’t the real issue here. Because the truth is that you’re happy for them. Happy to see them making a life. Happy to see them succeed. The real issue is that you’re totally lost. You feel like a stranger in your own country. You feel like you don’t fit in anymore. Kind of like an elephant in Antarctica! That’s the price you pay for traveling the world. The more and longer you do it, the harder it becomes settling back into a “normal” life. And at some point you just know it. Deep inside you hear a voice whispering: “You will forever feel different”.
“For such is the law of a conventional life. In that particular reality change is limited and generic. It’s predictable”.
The road has done something to you which cannot be undone. You’ve changed. The thing is that you’re not quite sure in which way. No words can describe it. You just know it. You feel it. Why now, all of a sudden? When traveling the transformation you go through is a dynamic process which is so subtle that you barely feel it. But coming home alters your perception of what’s going on inside of you. The change is being amplified by the confrontation with all the things and people around you that have stagnated. For such is the law of a conventional life. In that particular reality change is limited and generic. It’s predictable. The transformation that happens when you travel, on the other hand, is a lot more complex and intense. It’s unpredictable. You soon realize that the only “thing” that has really been moving since you left is you. With that awareness you start to become socially inept and people will most likely perceive you as a bit awkward. As a bit off-beat. And even though you’re surrounded by hundreds of people, you get struck by loneliness. You feel like no one really understands, like you’re not speaking the same language as your friends anymore. You feel like a jigsaw piece in the wrong puzzle
“The remedy to your post-travel blues is to implement that which have inspired you on your journey into your day-to-day life back home”.
So, what can be done to get out of the black hole of post-travel blues? In the end what you’re facing coming home after a long journey is an internal conflict between who you were and who you’ve become, between the responsibilities and limits that comes with a conventional life and the carefree and limitless lifestyle of a wanderer. Your aim must be to build a bridge between the 2 poles, which is necessary if you want to feel whole and at peace with yourself once again. The remedy to your post-travel blues is to implement that which have inspired you on your journey into your day-to-day life back home. Be it your newly found joy doing yoga, eating healthy food, playing that instrument you picked up while traveling or maybe you’ve been inspired to making a difference in your local community or setting up your own business. People always say that they’re the best they can possibly be while traveling. Well, I say: “That’s the easy part. The hardest part is keeping up the good spirit when you get home. Be the best you can be, not only while you’re on the road. Be the best you can be today. Tomorrow. Everyday”.
“In that moment, remind yourself that it’s okay to go home. To rebalance yourself. To reenergize”.
Confronting your ambiguous feelings in the wake of your homecoming is all about accepting the now as it is, not holding on to what is lost. Because nothing is constant. The world changes. Life changes. People change. Focus on respecting the past and cherish all the beautiful memories and wisdom that lies within it, focus on imagining a future as bright as an evening star, focus on appreciating the present, just the way it is. However, at some point the inevitable will fall upon you. You’ll be missing the road and feel that it’s the only place you really belong. In that moment, remind yourself that it’s okay to go home. To rebalance yourself. To reenergize. What’s important is that you keep entertaining your mind, keep expanding your horizon and keep exploring everything your own backyard has to offer. Then you’ll find that in some sense you’re still traveling, still moving. And eventually you’ll know if you’ll be able to make a happy life in the place you used to call home, but now seems so foreign. Or if you are meant to aimlessly roam the world forever. A wanderer at heart.