I Came Home From Months of World Travel, Now I’m Sad
What I have learned from coping with the sadness.
What inspired you to commit to traveling?
Oftentimes, it’s stories from friends on the road. Maybe it’s movies that depict life-changing experiences. Or, probably, a strong desire to change your way of living.
Regardless of what it is, a life of travel is likely to bring you unimaginable experiences. Beyond your wildest dreams.
You’re going to meet people who push you further. Do things you didn’t think you could handle. And live in a way that you learn to love.
In essence, you’re going to become a new person. And it’s going to be real; the real you.
You are going to bring home with you what you didn’t have before.
The problem is, as much as one changes during travel, home is still the same when you return.
“We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.” –Jonah Lehrer, “Why We Travel,” Panorama Magazine (Deccember 2009)
You’ve seen so much. Your mind is wide open. Yet, none of your friends have undergone the same change. It can be frustrating to tell your friends back home about your experiences. They won’t understand.
As you tell stories of your incredible, life-changing journey, you’ll get the feeling that it doesn’t touch them as you expected. Trust me, this is how it always goes.
People will not change with you.
The sooner you understand this, the better.
Your friends, they’ll remain your friends. But, at times, your frustration at their worldviews will boil over. Not only their worldview but their outlook on life.
It is hard for those who have not been there to know what you’ve gone through.
You’ll start to find new friends — friends who have been there. Friends with more openness to the things they don’t understand.
Here are some things you can do to find the people you connect with.
Care about what others don’t.
I’ve picked up several new hobbies and interests that inspire me. My friends back home make fun of me because of those interests. I don’t care, though. I’m drawn to new things now because it keeps my mind alive and my life moving slow.
You’ll continue your friendships from abroad. But, as time passes, you’ll lose touch with a few. You can only reminisce on old memories for so long.
Still, you’ll always share that special connection that no one else knows about. That bond that being abroad is all about.
Be persistent in seeing them again (sooner rather than later).
Continue speaking of your experiences.
Find the people who care (or at least try to care) and stick to them. Your stories, to them, are the same ones that inspired you to travel — only told by a different person. You can have an impact on other people.
The most important coping method of all. Don’t let others’ conformity get you down. You don’t have to settle for a life that doesn’t excite you. Live your own life and keep dreaming even when things seem unlikely. Even when ideas seem profoundly risky to others.
It’s the only way that you can stay true to yourself. You owe it to yourself.
Get involved as much as you can.
Even if it means venturing out on your own into abnormal routines. Because your friends back home don’t want to try new things. It doesn’t mean you can’t.
This is also an easy way to meet new friends who could change your experience at home. Before you hit the road again.
Slow it down.
Life will begin to speed up. You have to be ready for it.
The stress from a life that you thought you’d never have to deal with again will eventually come back. Your to-do lists will get busier. You’ll commit to more than you bargained for. Life will become routine again.
It’s a sad reality, but you can use it as motivation to return and recapture the life that you experienced abroad. That’s the only thing you can do.
Don’t get blindsided.
The things you said you wouldn’t return to when you got home will all come back.
Don’t let them blindside you. Also, don’t try to resist them.
Whatever it is that you didn’t think would become routine to you again, will. It happens naturally. You shouldn’t hold back. The more you try to fight it, the sadder it will be.
Just remember the feeling of being free from whatever it was you escaped. Strive to return to that feeling.
I’m a firm believer in destiny. There’s a reason we have the life-altering experiences that we do. That’s why I stick with my instincts even when it seems the feeling I got from it is fading.
There’s always going to be more to life. You’ve got to find the parts that bring you alive. You just have to. Be diligent enough to find your fire.
It’ll be trying.
At times, you may feel stuck in a life you no longer want. The beauty of your life is that the time to change is always upon you. There’s nothing stopping. Just like nothing stopped you during your time abroad. During your life-changing moment.
Go out and change your life. Again.
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