While travelling South America I heard a lot of people talking about the “travel bug” 🐛.
One article in particular popped up a few time. It was called “The Hardest Part Of Travelling No One Talks About”. It described feelings people experience when they come home from travelling:
- Nothing has changed while you were gone.
- You feel like a new person but nobody sees or understands it.
- Quickly yearning to be back on the road where other people are also changing, learning, growing.
It was strange reading all this. I was really beginning to miss home, yet the stories made it sound like being home wasn’t that great. Going home would quickly become dull and leave me dreaming of travels again.
So upon arriving home I waited expectantly to see how it would make me feel.
I’ve now been home for one month. This has been my experience.
Being back is a big deal for me. Not for everyone.
“I’m back! This is the biggest thing to happen since me leaving! LET’S FREAK OUT EVERYONE! 🎉”
…Or not. Maybe this is what that article was talking about.
For me, I’m regaining contact with my friends all at once. For them, it’s one friend back.
People are happy, but I’ve been on another level. That discrepancy feels strange.
Conversations are filled with high level details.
“Where are you working?! What have you been doing?! How are the things?!”
It feels like there’s so much to catch up on. Work, relationships…life!
I’ve been surprised at how unsatisfying these conversations can be. When you’re close with someone, you know all that stuff. You get to connect over the highs and lows of day-to-day life.
Finding out someone got a new job doesn’t make me feel close to them. Being there when they got the job and celebrating together - that makes me feel close to them.
Sharing ups and downs vs. Sharing high level details
Asking the same questions. Telling the same stories.
It all feels repetitive after a while.
Friend group dynamics have changed.
“What’s X up to? We should all hang out again!”
“…I’m not sure. I haven’t talked to X in a while.”
Some groups of friends I know because another friend introduced me to them.
When I got back I was excited to see those groups again. Things had shifted though.
People moved around, found new friends, joined new social circles.
Going out with friends involved meeting their new social circles. Rediscovering my place.
So? Ready to hit the road again?
Not. At. All.
So far I haven’t done a great job at selling home. So let me clarify:
All these things have developed while being away.
I’m overly excited about seeing people because I’ve been gone for so long.
Conversations are super high level because I fell out of touch.
I feel out of place because I haven’t been maintaining an identity at home.
A lot has changed while I’ve been away and it makes me want to stick around so I can re-establish myself.
How’s my experience been?
- I feel like a lot has changed.
- My friends have been super understanding. When I describe the ups and downs of my trip, they get it.
- I’d be happy to settle for a bit rather then hit the road again and further isolate myself.
Landing in Toronto felt so surreal. I have so much history here that I’d forgot while travelling around the world.
I don’t want to spread myself too thin around the planet and forget where I’m from or who my friends are.
It's good to be back 🙂