Coming home from a trip around the world can be a real culture shock and sometimes the initial excitement wears away quickly to the reality that you are no longer traveling. It can be a hard transition to deal with. You go from something new every day to the same thing every day. It’s not an easy adjustment for people, as the comments in the linked article above can attest to. But there are also many good things about coming home. I’ve been home for two months now, and though there have been severe bouts of boredom, it’s been nice to be home. It’s good to see your family, sleep in your own bed, relax on your couch, and have mom make you breakfast. It’s good to see your pet again and even nicer knowing they missed you too. My dog almost knocked me down when I came home and still tackles me when I get in the door, though I suspect it’s just because he knows I’ll feed him.
Returning home gives you the chance to catch up with old friends. No matter how many people I meet on the road, no matter how many times I visit them on my travels, it’s still nice to come back to people who have known you five, 10, 15 years. People you grew up with and know pretty much everything about you. There’s a nice familiarity to that. There are no constant introductions or explaining who you are, where you are from, where you’ve been, etc, etc. You can just pick up where you left off. It’s always interesting to see how life back home has changed for my friend’s lives. I’ve come back to new couples, new kids, and new marriages.
One thing I love about coming home is that I can see my old haunts. I’m always excited to eat at all my favorite restaurants again. I think I’ve eaten at my local sandwich shop every other day since I’ve been home. And don’t even get me started on the amount of times I’ve had Taco Bell! (I know it’s bad for you but I just love it!) I’m always amazed at all the new restaurants and buildings that spring up while I am away. Everywhere I go something has changed. It’s sort of like traveling all over again. I come home to the familiar but am still exploring the unknown.
I also find you get a new appreciation and insight into your own culture. Being back in America and traveling around has made me realize that sometimes the states get a bum wrap, even from me. There really are many nice places and people here. While there are many problems in the US (I’m especially disappointed when I see the current divisiveness on the news), there are also a lot of great things here that often get overlooked, especially among the discussions about the United States that occur in the hostels around the world. The people are friendly, the food can be great, the cities wonderful, and the geographic diversity is astounding. It may not be perfect but there are certainly worse places to live.
Most importantly, coming back home recharges your travel batteries. Traveling for a long time takes the excitement out of traveling. Eventually, things just become “another”- another waterfall, another church, another jungle, another beach. You’ve seen it all before. Stopping on the road can help you refresh but it takes a trip back home to really wipe the slate clean. Last year, after 18 months on the road, I came home. I had even cut my trip short to do so. I was burnt out. But within a few weeks, I was ready to go again. Coming back home gives you an appreciation for traveling all over again. After two months of being home, I’m excited to leave on Sunday. It’s like I’m beginning my travels all over again. I can’t sit still any longer – there’s too much of the world to see.
Back home, boredom can happen pretty fast if you don’t keep yourself busy. On the road, you move around every day. There are places, food, people, and things to see. It’s constant stimulus. Even if you keep yourself busy, returning home can be a little underwhelming sometimes. But though coming home may be a hard adjustment, it’s not all that bad.