05 April 2013

Post-travel slump

After traveling for such a long time, it is hard to put into words how being back is like.

On one side it is simply amazing, I've just had an awesome night out with my very best friends, I started up swing dance classes again, and am really enjoying being surrounded by friends and family. Not to mention how blissful being unemployed can truly be! I've been chilling by the beach, playing golf, going to friends for dinner and drinks constantly, and just being having a real blast living life without the dread that is a work day.

Unemployment rocks, yet... well, it does make me realize that the future is wide open, and after the challenges and exhaustion of travel you'd thing I'd be flying with wings, exuberant at all the possibilities and good times that are now at my fingertips once more. But no, that is not the reality at all.

Despite the freedom and relaxation, I feel flat. Confused. Scared. I traveled for so long that I am having a tough time shaking off the mannerisms and habits that I acquired along the way, and continue to do them even now at home. Without thinking I subconsciously ensure that my possessions are within my sight at all times, even if I am sitting amongst a group of friends with no strangers around. I plan in my head how I am to be returning home, forgetting that I now have my own car to drive and don't have to rely on public transport anymore. And at times I feel lonely, and have to remind myself that I not in a foreign country anymore and that friends and family are only minutes away now.

Then there is a whole 'returning to reality'. Money spent on the road was money dedicated for the trip. Money spent whilst at home is money that is coming out of a bank account that has no money coming into it until I sort myself out and get a job. Getting a job takes responsibility, maturity, and commitment... skills not necessarily required when backpacking around a foreign country, which is one of the many reasons that makes traveling so appealing to be honest!

I guess I am just having a tough time adapting to what life was like before I left. 11 months on the road is quite the feat, and it is no surprise that it would be a challenge to return. But the thing I have realized is that it isn't home that has changed, because really it is identical to how I left it, but it is in fact I who has changed. My perspective on life, my habits, likes and  judgements have all been altered, and unless someone around me has traveled as well, my friends really have no idea what it was really like. I have to explain to them that it wasn't a holiday, that is was at times very tough, sometimes lonely, and scary, and that it makes you miss home quite a lot.

It's been not quite 2 weeks since I have returned home, and I am still struggling to find any kind of groove to fall into. I've been told it just takes time. For now I will slowly continue completing things on my 'returning to normal life to-do list', and hopefully will fall into some recognizable routine soon enough.


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