Before you leave home the idea of travelling for an extended period of time can seem petrifying to some. Leaving your friends and family behind and exploring a whole new country with a completely different culture is a huge step for anyone. Yet for most people, a few days into your trip, you wonder what you were ever worrying about. You realise that travelling is amazing and something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetimes. Your Instagram is suddenly full of incredible photos. You meet new people all the time who you form such close bonds with that you find it hard to believe that you have known them only weeks, not years. Before you know it, you’ve been away from home far longer than you ever imagined and seen more than you ever believed possible. Then by choice or not, it’s time to return home. Return to the life you left behind. But for some reason, adjusting to life at home is even more difficult than everything you went through whilst you were away. This is the part of travelling no one told you about.
At first life at home is a whirlwind of emotions, hugs and catching up. Your friends and family have so much to tell you and you have so much to share with them. You hear about what has changed for them but when it comes to the time to share your travel stories, you find the words don’t come. How do you put your experiences into words? It soon becomes clear that it’s hard to share what has happened with people who haven’t been travelling themselves. You have been surrounded by like-minded people for so long that your home life seems alien to the life you have been leading.
The life you left behind has changed. There’s been promotions, babies, engagements and new houses. It can be hard to see where you fit back in. Your sweaty trek across South East Asia is unimaginable for those who have concentrated on careers or family. They have changed from when you left and it has taken until now for you to realise just how much you have changed as well. You’ve grown in so many ways and feel you can handle just about anything life throws at you now you have negotiated travelling the world. Home life can seem almost dull in comparison and you easily feel detached from everyone.
Essentially, travelling is like living in a bubble and reality hurts. For months you have been living ‘without rules’. Time has no concept and nor do days of the week. The contrast between your travel life and your home life is hard to comprehend. It’s good to see your loved ones again but you crave to go back to your life on the road. The feeling of being in a new country is so magical that you struggle to think of a reason to stay at home. For some, they put this feeling to the back of their minds, settle into new jobs and before they know it years have passed since their adventures. For others, their feet start to itch and they realise that their heart belongs elsewhere. So they give in to that wanderlust feeling and leave home again. Deciding which path to follow when you’re at home is tough. My advice would be to make sure that whatever you decide to do, don’t regret it. So even if only a small part of you wants to go travelling again, go. It doesn’t have to be this year or the next, just make sure you go. Don’t be that person sat at home in 30 years time wondering what would have happened if they had gone.