It’s a dilema. This question: How do you live your life when your not overseas or on the road. There are too many answers to pick one that settles my mind, but for me, the closest answer would be that your not living. My life is when I am traveling; being at home is just the in between bits, the time I use up just Googling travel and planning my next big adventure.
I’ve been reading a lot of posts lately about life at home in retrospect to life abroad. When you’re traveling all of your senses are heightened. You become someone else, more daring, more adventurous, more independent. When I went to India this past June on a bus trip with my mother, the first thoughts that came to mind were… 1) I could never travel in India alone and 2) Shut up Elena, you just did travel India alone in March. What I mean is, take anyone out of their element and throw them in an uncomfortable and difficult situation, and every individual will transform. Thus, allowing their natural instincts of survival to come through. When your out traveling on your own, you get this new sense of confidence, responsibility and a general “Don’t mess with me, I kick ass” type of attitude.
So what happens when you get home? First, there is all the excitement from friends and family who haven’t seen you since you left. Depending on how long you have been away this reaction always varies. When I got home from my seven months, there was the odd person who had no idea I wasn’t around and then there was everyone else. You start getting phone calls from old High School friends who you haven’t seen in years, more people know who you are, they know you as “the girl who was traveling”; but like everything, the excitement dies down too.
So how do you live your life while your not traveling?
1) Stay as connected to the friends you made abroad as strong as possible. They understand where you are coming from and will help you past the rough patches of post-travel depression. When I got back, I met this woman at a Bed and Breakfast a few hours North of my hometown. Her entire house was full of photographs from her travels, and artifacts she picked up along the way. A tall giraffe here, a few masks from Venice there and so on so forth. She heard I just got back from my 7 month long trip, and when things began to quiet down in the house, she pulled me aside. She said to me, “You know you’re going to have a really hard time adjusting back to this”. I just smiled and said I was fine, but she continued, “It’s going to take you months and months, but I’ve been there, and I am here for you”. That’s when it hit me. Home sucks, and here is a woman, a stranger who understood me better than anyone else in my life all because we shared this mutual bond over travel. It is the travel-oriented and travel-minded people who will help ease your life into place.
2) You must always stay connected to your experiences. Relive them over and over and over again in your head. Each detail will change, but the more you focus on it, the more you have learned, and will be able to process it quicker. Don’t underestimate the power of what traveling does to a person. Once you admit that these experiences really have contributed to your over all self and allowed you to change, then you’ll realize you are just one. This is the new you, so you better get a new hair cut to go with it!
3) Live like a tourist in your home town. When I’m traveling, I’m on a tight budget and can’t afford taxis and subways. I just walk everywhere. I try to apply this method at home as well: If I can walk there, then I do not need to turn on my car. I go to special events my city puts on, most of them are free too, and all of them are very different. So by constantly exploring my home town, I don’t feel like I’m stuck here, I feel like a foreigner looking in and trying to understand. This helps keeps your senses sharp.
Focus on your self, on what you learned, who you met, and how you were able to do all of that. Believe in the positive change you made in yourself and let it radiate throughout you. You deserve to feel that way, because this is who you are now! Apply your traveling self, to the person you are at home and combine the two worlds! Good luck, we all know home sucks after being abroad:)