I read lots of blog posts about how it can be difficult to settle into ‘normal’ life after travelling especially when It was for as long as me. I couldn’t help think that the posts were a bit dramatic. How hard can it be?! I expected holiday blues, depressed about the cold weather and stress about money and job hunting. All of these definitely were issues I faced but I was shocked at how hard I found it when I got home and for so many more reasons that I didn’t foresee.
Leaving Dubai I had mixed emotions. I was finding it difficult to accept my trip was over and couldn’t imagine being at home. I was obviously excited to see my friends and family but was also conscious I didn’t want to get too excited because the welcome home can be over hyped in your head. Ofcourse people are delighted to have you back but they all have their real lives to go back to and can only give a certain amount of time to listening to endless travel stories. I was also in dread of life at home jobless and penniless. Back to reality and obviously not being allowed to complain about it as I have been off ‘gallivanting’ for the last twelve months!
I was greeted at the airport by one of my best friends. Not going to lie it was a very emotional reunion. I had decided to surprise my family and come home a few days earlier than planned….Bad idea! I arrived home to an empty house because they were gone to a wedding, so long story short my first night home I slept on a couch in my sister’s house!
It was more amazing than I expected to see my parents and friends again and my niece that I had never met. (Another emotional meeting!) Everyone was so good to me, lots of wine drank, mammy cooked a roast dinner, daddy served up the Irish fry and lit the BBQ, friends brought me out. It all made me realise just how lucky I am and I shouldn’t have been complaining about my trip coming to an end.
Saying all that the first two weeks at home I found especially tough. At first it was small things like the silent bedroom at night to myself after getting so used to full dorm rooms, then it was the fear of forgetting the memories and wanting to talk about it all the time incase I would forget, followed by the need to keep in contact with all the friends I had made on my travels to keep reliving what I was missing but the hardest was feeling like I had nothing on common with the people around me anymore because I felt I had changed so much but nobody understood or cared.
Thankfully after reading lots of articles on the effects of returning after a long stint travelling and talking to travelling buddies who had previously returned home, these feelings eased and I started to settle into ‘normal life’ without the guilt or fear that the experience I gained would disappear from my memory and all the lessons I learned would be forgotten.
I treated my time at home as much the same as my travels as I could. Making the most of the time I had, doing things as cheaply as I could but still finding things to do I hadn’t done in years or never done before. ( I highly recommend a Cruise of the Cliffs of Moher!)
Job hunting was tough and a bit of an emotional rollercoaster but i managed to finally secure a job I felt happy with and still allowing me to continue new adventures, as I am not ready to stop travelling yet. So it’s off to Dubai next! I still have the fear that going back to working full-time will knock the relaxed, easy-going, traveller vibe out of me. I will just have to make I make the most of my weekends and holidays, for a change! 😉