Almost 7 years ago Chef and I sat on the patio and hatched the plan that became an indefinite round the world trip that would change our lives. We were to set off for a family gap year that became a never ending travel lifestyle. We became nomadic long-term travellers. Last week saw us returning home.
We’re lucky, we know this is a temporary halt. If we thought we’d be tied down forever I don’t think I’d be coping nearly as well right now. The hardest part about travel is absolutely going back. “Home” remains the place you don’t want to be. Travel, freedom and new adventures still call with a voice that, honstly, is stronger than ever. If you set out on an adventure like ours know that going home will be unthinkable. But for now, we’re OK, we’re treating our return as travel, in a different place.
15 Surprising Things About Returning Home After Long Term Travel
1. Our travel odyssey hasn’t changed us, but it’s changed our lives and how we will live them. Hopefully forever. We’ve found freedom and there’s no way we’ll hand that back.
2. Hardly anyone is interested in where we’ve been so we try not to bore them with it unless they ask and seem enthusiastic.
3. Coming back to “stuff” is nice. You will be amazed at how much of it you have, despite selling most of it before you left. “Stuff” is no longer evil but we need to remain minimalists and won’t let possessions tie us down.
4. Going back to working outside the home would be unthinkable right now. We’re lucky in that nobody will be doing that around here. You must try to avoid the scenario of going back to “normal” at all costs. Our eyes are now fully open.
5. We were in Kathmandu for weeks recently. I was “over” Kathmandu, getting bored. But I miss Kathmandu, and Romania and Thailand and Slovenia and almost everywhere else like crazy right now. I’d love to be magically transported back there. I’m sure you will feel this too.
6. Returning less than a month before Christmas is crazy. Don’t do that. Our fridge is being delivered just in time to fill with Christmas goodies. Hopefully, if the tropical wet season doesn’t close too many roads this week.
7. I regret not selling a few things. Like the barbecue. It’s stuffed now from sitting outside in all weathers. Had we sold it back then we could have got $100 for it. So far I don’t regret selling anything. So far.
8. Our house, which has been rented for 5 and a half years, is in pretty good condition. Hopefully, you’ll be as lucky.
9. Gardens fare worse than houses. My beautiful tropical sanctuary is trashed through years of neglect. However, getting it looking beautiful again will be fun, I don’t mind too much. I thought I’d mind more. If you have a garden you love consider hiring a proper gardener to look after it, ours just cut stuff back. Not all the stuff, just some. He left me the monster bougainvillaea to deal with.
10. Things are better here. There has been progress and I can now buy tempeh, tofu and tamari at the IGA. This is good. Everything is just a bit slicker than it was 6 years ago and it’s nice.
11. The travel itch is never truly scratched. It actually gets worse the more you scratch it. You MUST know this before you set off on your family gap year or any long-term travel. Your year will make the pain of not travelling far worse and harder to live with. You will be miserable afterwards if you can’t continue some sort of freedom lifestyle.
12. You will miss your kids. Even though we’ve just moved from hotel to house and we’re all still kicking about together, there is far more room. They disappear to bedrooms with headsets and may as well be on the moon. I’m missing them like crazy.
13. It hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. I’m actually enjoying the shopping and sorting and general household chores. I do not have post-trip depression, I do not have post-trip anxiety and I do not have reverse culture shock. Everything feels OK. Everything feels normal.
14. The kids don’t give a flying one. They are neither pleased to be back nor dis-pleased to not be travelling. But within 24 hours of being back, D was asking if we could go climb Kilimanjaro. So that’s a good sign. They’re happy. The wi-fi is good, of course they’re happy. Boo was just playing online with a kid in Romania. He was so pleased to be doing that, somebody from a place he loves. It’s good, they are good, all will be fine.
15. The dread of return was far worse than the reality. I stressed and sobbed rather a lot before we touched down. It’s OK now. The anticipation, as always, was far worse than the reality.
So I wouldn’t say I’m exactly glad to be back, but it’s OK, we’re good for now. We’re not really back where we started, other than physically. I don’t feel trapped because I’m not trapped. We have options and we’ll be leaving again ASAP. Life will just look different for a while. Soon, very soon, we will be planning new adventures and getting back on the road where we belong. Maybe after the fridge arrives and Uncle Toby has spent the holiday season with us. How’s your Christmas shopping coming on? Would you do us a favour and hit the Pinterest button below to share? Thanks. Final Update: Within months we were travelling again, we enjoyed being back for a while, but bricks and mortar aren’t our jam. Borneo, Bhutan, Thailand, London, Vietnam, we continue to travel and still have our bases in London and Romania to return to.