It’s been one year since I’ve stepped foot on European soil again. One year of being back in my home country surrounded by friends and family. A year that has been quite different than I had pictured due to the Covid pandemic. Getting back into my ‘normal’ life of work, living in the same place, in a not so good climate, paying rent, only having weekends off and having a steady relationship. Accompanied by recurrent compulsive mental flashbacks of sunny beaches and palm trees, riksja’s and temples and the peace of mind of not knowing where you’ll be the next week. Post-travel blues is existent but controllable.
In general coming back has been good. Being close to family and friends, my own bed and the comfort of being somewhere you know your way gave a lot of comfort in the beginning. Of course, due to Covid-19, everything was slightly different than normal. Not being able to have a proper comeback-party with my friends, having a summer without any festivals or exciting social activities and not even being able to go travel at all was all in big contrast with the ultimate freedom I had. At least I was able to go kite surfing plenty of times and this has been my savior.
Slowly I rolled into the North – European lifestyle again, the ‘rat race’ mentality where a grand career, money and success is supposed to be the key to happiness. A big contrast to the feeling of freedom, budget living and immaterialism. Living out of a backpack instead of a wardrobe full of unnecessary clothes. A lifestyle where money would just get you further on your trip and working was something you did every now and then whenever it was needed because you wanted to save up for that next amazing country you’d want to visit. There is no point of resisting the ‘rat race’, you either go with it or you go travel again. Probably the reason why many travelers get the feeling they want to travel over and over again. We want to escape this race and feel like we have control over our own life’s, control in when and where to work and being where we ‘think’ we want to be.
Nonetheless, this lifestyle also has it’s advantages. You can build up some stability in life, you get the chance to save up in order to buy your own place (either a Van, bungalow, apartment, house, treehouse,…), your good friends and your family is always closeby and you might have more resources to build up your own company/project in order to be able to do what you’ve always wanted to do. For most of us travelers it probably has something to do with having an online job so we can work from wherever we want.
The main point is that you keep your head up. Remember everything that you’ve learned, that you’ve seen and that you’ve experienced. Don’t get trapped doing things without using your mind. Life will always find a way as we’ve learned while traveling. As long as you take time for yourself to either meditate, write or create you’ll keep hold of that amazingly free feeling you experienced abroad. Remember, nothing in life is permanent and it’s you that builds up your own life.
Remarks from non-travelers
‘You don’t need holiday because you’ve been gone for 1,5 years, you’ve had yours no?’, ‘How come you’re always so dreamy and still thinking about your trip, at least you had yours’, ‘it must be very hard to be back and living ‘real’ life?’… These are the questions you get when zoning out, when asking for a holiday or dreaming of your next destination.
‘It must be very hard to be back and living ‘real’ life?’
I have experienced that most people that have remarks actually mean it very well, even though in your head this might seem different. Don’t forget that you had a trip of a lifetime and not many people will ever (be able) to experience that. You are the odd one out and not them (of course no one is odd but you get what I mean). Try to tell these people how you really feel, what feelings traveling gives you and explain them about the travel bug. In the end they will all understand. Although the feeling of being misunderstood is frequently there.
Lastly, for me, the most annoying comment is; welcome back to reality. Reality is what you make of it. Making a world trip is reality, it isn’t always sunny with rainbows, it sometimes is lonely, sad and challenging. Maybe even more challenging than this so called ‘real life’.
Biggest TIP: stay connected with friends you met while traveling!
Feel free to comment down below about your experiences coming back home after a world trip. We are happy to help and happy to understand your travel bug!