The emotions that you have to deal with as a long term traveler are pretty extreme. Setting off can spark a few of them. Being in new and exciting places, and unusual and edgy situations can spark a few more. Going home after a long and fulfilling trip brings about perhaps the most. You feel excited to be going home but sad to be leaving your traveling lifestyle; the one you have fallen in love with. You miss your friends and family, and you wonder if they have changed. You anticipate the boredom. There are a million emotions to feel.
Going home can be great if you are in the right mindstate for it, or if you really want to go back. It is also possible to make the most of the situation even if it was never your plan to return. To help your transition you must understand a few of the expectations that can cause travelers gloom when they come back home. Understanding these pitfalls will help you to maintain a decent perspective.
- Everything may not have changed or evolved. Whether you realize it or not your time traveling is likely to have accelerated your personal growth. You have likely had decades worth of valuable and exciting life experience, in only a few short months, and you might feel like a new person. That doesn’t mean that everybody else has experienced this, and the chances are your friends, family, and your hometown, will appear pretty much static and unchanged to you. You have to accept that everything has not changed as fast as you have.
- Everyone might not want to hear all your stories. You have loads of stories, right? You have seen new places, met strange and fascinating people, and have opened your mind to the world. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to want to listen to your amazing life, and less people still will understand it. This can be difficult at first, as you might discover a barrier between you and your loved ones. You have to understand that they have their own life, and unless they travel themselves they probably don’t have the time to recognize how epic it is for you.
- Regressing. One of the worst feelings of coming home, can be that all of your own growth and changes in personality can feel like they are slipping away over time. Do not fear; they will not disappear, but it is your job to stay true to your new self, and not to regress to a childhood you based on old memories and behavior patterns.
Your reasons for coming home from long term travel are personal to you. You may have run out of money, you could be missing your family and friends, you may have commitments or opportunities at home, or you might have decided that long term travel is simply not for you, and need a rest.
Whatever your reason you can be sure that you have not failed. You have traveled, you have learnt, you have experienced life. If it isn’t for you, then it isn’t for you, and you know now what is important in your life. If you have ended up back home, then you can soon make efforts to get back on the road again.
So long as you keep a good perspective, and be humble about your experiences, while trying to be true to yourself and the lessons you have learnt during your travels, then you will be fine. If you do not want to travel long term again then now is a great time to start building a life, and considering some long term aims at home. If you want to go on another bout then now is the time to make a plan to get out there again… and to stay out for longer.