So you’re off travelling. You’ve planned where you’re going, what you’re taking, who you’re seeing. All these things are so exciting and infectious and amazing! I was this person just over a year ago. Gearing up for my first ever trip away from home that was longer than 2 weeks and I couldn’t have been more excited. But the one thing I didn’t give much thought, if any thought at all, was what would happen upon my return to the UK.
It’s now 2 months since I’ve been back and I wanted to write something to explain exactly how I feel. Hopefully it can prepare those of you who are still away enjoying your adventures and let you others know you’re not alone if you’re in this current situation with me!
If like me you did the whole ‘surprise return’ thing where your family and friends think you are still halfway across the world, when actually you’re knocking on the front door, ready for a barrage of hugs and exclamations, you’ll know that it’s an amazing feeling being back with those you love and who know you so well. You catchup, you show photos, you just get used to the shock. Those first few weeks are full of catching up with friends and family everywhere, drinks, nights out, meals and get togethers. You go over the same stories, your favourite place (erm how can you pick just one!?) and whether you’re gonna stick around. It’s all a whirlwind and you feel like an in demand celebrity.
Then after those initial meet ups have passed, it’s back to routine, your friends going to work, not being able to plan things for any old day of the week. The fact that you were ever away gets forgotten, apart from when you have the odd contribution to a conversation that relates to a snippet of your travels. It’s difficult. You may feel like a stranger in your own home, with no purpose or clue as to what to do now. You didn’t give this part any thought beforehand but now it’s your reality. And that’s okay. For me, I’ve been job hunting for a new challenge, change in career and something to get me feeling excited and motivated again. Distraction is key. Planning is essential. I have found it completely necessary to have several things in the diary to keep me going. Whether that be a cinema trip, dinner with friends or a weekend away. Surrounding myself with my favourite people and doing fun things help fill the void that travelling has left in my life now I’m back home.
Putting stereotypical quotes aside, travelling does change you. It broadens your horizons, gets you out of a rut, and in my case, out of the middle-class bubble of my hometown! It immerses you in new cultures, cuisines and ways of doing things. It makes things you once thought important, seem irrelevant. For me, I see a whole world of possibility now. It would be such a shame to not embrace change whilst I’m young enough to adapt and deal with it. Travelling solo gives you so much experience for life. Budgeting, flying, communication, meeting new people, fighting your fears and living more openly and being more accepting. I wouldn’t change it for anything.
That’s why this feeling of slight emptiness is completely normal. That feeling that a part is now missing from me, is because a part IS missing! I left a part of my heart in every one of the destinations I visited on my travels. The friendships I made are now long distance. I now have connections across the globe and it’s impossible to ever feel whole at home again. This is why this period of feeling a little lost, this period of distracting myself is essential in the next chapter of my travels. It spurs me on until my next trip which will undoubtedly happen in the future. So fellow travellers, you’re not alone in feeling a bit uncertain and it won’t be forever.
With love, travel daydreams & positiff vibes