Here’s a little secret. Returning home from long term travel is not all happy tears and long awaited reunions. The truth is, it’s also emotional and it’s exhausting. You question your decision. And, if you’re like me, sooner or later your family will pull you up for being a miserable sod.
Just two weeks ago I decided to return home after nearly two years travelling Australia on a Working Holiday visa. It wasn’t exactly an easy decision, but it was something I’d thought about doing for a couple of months beforehand. At the time I had a job in a restaurant, a place to live, and a bunch of awesome friends. But it turns out that that wasn’t enough to make me happy. Eventually I just thought “screw it”, packed up and bought a last minute flight back to England just in time for Christmas.
The truth is I had exhausted travel. Over the two years I had travelled all over the country, done things I never thought I would do in a million years, and met hundreds of people from all over the world. But I was tired. I’d lost that feeling of wanderlust that had kept me on the road for so long. Travel wasn’t that exciting anymore. I’d stopped taking as many photos. I’d merely spend hours exploring, rather than the whole day. I became tired of sharing a room with strangers every night, having the same conservations day after day, tired of saying goodbye to people you really didn’t want to say goodbye to. Meeting new people is one of the best things about travelling. It’s also one of the worst. I’d developed some sort of detachment. I’d built up a wall. Why should I open myself up to someone if I’m only going to say goodbye to them eventually. Isn’t that just a horrible way to live?! I can guarantee that no one can do that long term. When travel no longer becomes fun, you need to ask yourself why you are doing it.
And so now I’m back home. Back in my old bedroom. Back to my old life essentially. It’s a weird feeling. But it feels comfortable. It feels right. I’m definitely not finished with travelling. But I need some time to save up some money and get excited about travel again. And so that is why my goal for 2017 is to get a job. At least for 12 months. Build up my employment prospects but, more importantly, build up my money. And then continue travelling again in 2018 when, hopefully, that strong feeling of wanderlust has returned. I’m already excited for what the future has in store.
“We are torn between nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.” ― Carson McCullers