And it just happened because you stepped out of your comfort zone and started sailing the seas.
But the big question is… Now you’re back home, what? What comes next? How are you going to fit your old routine again after all these months of being in your own travel universe? Let’s analyse this annoying bug together and you’ll realise everything has its silver linings!
What is it like to have the “travel bug”?
If you’re a travel addict of any kind, you must have felt it. It’s that feeling you have when coming back home after traveling for months and months that tells you that something’s not right. You don’t fit in your old room, you don’t enjoy the same conversations you did before, even your friends and family -no matter how much you love them- can seem kind of boring sometimes.
Everyone who hasn’t traveled that much may think that the hardest part of being gone is when you leave, when you have to say goodbye to your loved ones. Little did you know. The hardest part is, hands down, to be back home and feeling sad because “your adventure is over”. Now let me tell you something: Your adventure never ends unless you want to.
“What is wrong with me?”
Absolutely nothing, the reason why you feel sad, nervous, anxious (you name it) is because you just grew up. And that’s something wonderful that you must embrace. Traveling offers you the chance to look at things differently, to discover that there are way more possibilities in life than society tells you and that you are able to achieve whatever you want.
And suddenly, all these skies full of bright options in front of you seem to “turn off “ when you wake up in your same old place, surrounded by the same old environment, having to “go back to normal” again. Does that mean that traveling the world and learning about yourself is not normal? Sometimes it does to me. What is “normal” anyway? Being stuck in the same daily basis for years and years when what you really want is to get out and discover how many amazing things are waiting for you?
If you feel this way, it’s totally okay, all travel lovers have been there at some point, you’re not alone!
The surprise factor of traveling
If one day you wake up in the most friendly backpackers lodge in India, ready to do whatever comes across, and next day you’re back in your hometown in a bit of a shook because al ofl these sudden changes, I can just say that this feeling will go away; it won’t last forever.
I guess nobody has told you that traveling long-term has two “surprise factors” you should be aware of: one of them being the fact that you would never expect to change as much as you end up doing; you almost become another person. You learn about different cultures, food, traditions and amazing places; you hear stories from other travelers, you make lifetime friends, you fall in love, you get your heart broken, you get involved in projects that incredibly help isolated communities… The experiences you have in this period of time will change you forever; and it all comes unannounced.
The second surprise factor is realising that when you come back home, everything is the same, nothing’s changed in most cases. And that’s something you don’t expect at all; you unconsciously think that having had gone through that many amazing experiences when traveling, your environment would have also grown different after one or two years. But it hasn’t. You are the one that “has evolved”. Don’t feel guilty for “wanting something else”. It’s perfectly normal.
The usual annoying questions
And what about all the questions that everybody asks you when they’ve got used to having you around? “Well dear, now you’re back, what about your job?”, “What are your plans next?”, “Are you going to rent your own apartment?, “Do you already have a boyfriend/girlfriend?”, “You’re not leaving town anytime soon, right?”... And the list could go on and on.
If you don’t feel like answering to this kind of third-grade interviews because you’re actually getting used to being home and your mind isn’t clear enough yet, just change the subject. It’s okay, take your time to figure everything out and remember that going through so many changes in such a short time is sometimes hard to accept, so don’t be harsh on yourself and wait until everything falls into place again.
The bright sides of being back
Now we’ve analysed these weird feelings you get when you stop your journey around the world, let’s talk about how well you feel about some other aspects of having your “old life” back.
First of all, all the affection you get from your loved ones. After several months of not seeing them, having their arms around you again is the best feeling ever! It’s great to see that there are people that really missed you.
Telling everyone about your trip. Of course, probably the best part is to surprise everyone by naming all the places you’ve been to, all the people you’ve met, the amazing stories you’ve heard from other travelers…
Having your comfy bed and the delicious dishes your mom prepares. Or at least having nearby any supermarket where you can grab whatever food you please! Tasting your favourite meal after months and months gives you life, doesn’t it?
Also, especially if you’ve been backpacking, isn’t it so easy to go from one place to another without worrying for leaving your things alone at a random place? In this way, you’re kind of more free now than before!
Start planning your next trip to visit some friends you were really close to when backpacking through Southeast Asia or invite your lovely travel buddy to stay over with you for a few days. Reuniting with people you care about is the best!
Final tips to overcome feeling “out of place”
- Be grateful. Just be aware of how lucky you were to have the opportunity to sail the world, all the friends you’ve met, the experiences you’ve lived and of course, the lovely people you’re surrounded by now you’re back. It’s not something people dare to do everyday I must say!
- Enroll in an activity you love: Do things you feel passionate about to get used to the routine more easily. It could be dancing classes, cooking, writing a story about your trip. Get your hands busy!
- Do some sport: Yes! Move that body to relax, rethink the situation and get those endorphins up! Taking time for yourself is always a therapeutic solution.
- Start to plan your next trip: Being back doesn’t mean you won’t leave your home again in years, so start to think where you want to head next, what you’re going to do, who you will travel with… Make future plans to calm your travel anxiety and be happy about your next goals.
- Get involved in a project you believe in: Helping people who really need it will make you forget about your current worries. I have no doubt that the happiness of others is also your happiness! Give it a try and you’ll see!
- Find relativity in your situation: I know it’s not pleasant to come back after months of enjoying yourself to your old routine, but… It’s not the end of the world. There are worse things happening and there is always a solution for EVERYTHING. Uncertainty will go away and you will find your place again for sure.
I hope this article helped you see things differently. As everything in life, traveling has its pros and cons. Just give yourself time if struggling with having changed your lifestyle from messy hair and a backpack to office schedules and massive streets full of people. Find the right angle to look at your days and time will fly by!