There comes a time for most of us travellers when we have to return home for one reason or another – maybe you’ve run out of money, maybe you’re coming back for a job, or to start university – whatever the reason is, even if it’s the best reason in the world, returning home after travelling is always going to be a big deal. It’s going to be quite an adjustment coming back to the ‘real’ world, being in one place for more than a few days, weeks or months, having a wardrobe to unpack in and your own bed to sleep in (or even your own room – this past 18 months while I was away I don’t think I spent more than about 5 nights in my own room!), but there are a few things you can do to try to make the transition a little bit easier.
1. Treat your home country like a brand new place you’ve never been to before.
Pretend to yourself that you’ve never visited this country before (If you’re anything like me, I’m sure there are parts of it that you haven’t even come close to visiting) – go out and be a tourist for a while. Spend your weekends exploring new towns and cities, go to museums and art galleries, try new restaurants, meet people – just like you would if you were travelling somewhere new and exciting.
2. Spend more time that you usually would with friends and family.
Use this opportunity to catch up with loved ones that you haven’t seen for a while, and spend more time on friendships that may have slipped a bit since you were last home. If you’ve got younger siblings, spend some time getting to know who they are now, rather than who you remember them to be from a few years ago. Yes, you’ve been able to chat to them all over Skype or emails or Facebook, but there’s nothing quite like giving someone who you haven’t seen in a year a massive hug, or just hearing about their day to day life, on the day that it all happens!
3. Get a job/something to do/a sense of purpose.
I’m sure this is probably the reason most of you return home in the first place, but there’s nothing worse than coming home and suddenly finding that all your friends have lives and jobs and you are stuck with absolutely nothing to do all day, and no one to talk to. Find a job (yes, I know, easier said than done), volunteer somewhere, anything. Just find something to do that gives you a reason to clamber out of bed in the morning and keeps your mind off the fact that a few months ago you were lying on a beach or climbing a mountain (or whatever it was you were doing in some faraway land).
4. Join a new club/try a new sport or hobby.
Find something that you’ve never done before but always wanted to try, and give it a go. Maybe you’ve always wanted to do yoga or rock climbing, but have never been in one place long enough to get to regular sessions, or maybe you want to get back into a sport you used to play at school or university. There are always plenty of clubs looking for new members, and it’s a great way to meet a whole bunch of new people too.
5. Use the time at home to plan your next big adventure.
You’ve got a job, you’ve made some new friends at the new club or sport you’re getting into, and you’re living at home so there’s some big saving going on…everything’s awesome and you’ve really found your groove back at home. But there’s that little voice in the back of your head saying ‘ok, so when can I go travelling again, and where to next?‘ – being at home is a great chance to get planning for your next trip away. You have steady access to internet for some excellent research, and you have a few hours here and there to let your mind wander to all the exciting places you haven’t been to yet. What could be more exciting than that?!
Did you find it hard transitioning back into ‘normal’ life? What did you do to get yourself accustomed to being back at home after long term travel?