Updated: 01/05/19 | January 5th, 2019
Coming home from a trip around the world can be a real culture shock, and sometimes the initial excitement wears away quickly, yielding 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 some 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 bouts of severe boredom, it’s been nice too. It’s good to see your family, sleep in your own bed, relax on the 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 also 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 5, 10, 15 years. People you grew up with and know pretty much everything about you. There’s a pleasant 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 also always interesting to see how my friends’ lives back home have changed. I’ve come back to new couples, new marriages, and new kids.
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 number of times I’ve had Taco Bell! (I know it’s bad for you, but I just love it!)
I’m also 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 has made me realize that sometimes the States gets 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 in discussions about the United States that occur in hostels around the world. The American people are friendly, the food can be great, the cities are 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 actually 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 somewhere on the road for a while can help you refresh somewhat, 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 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 a new appreciation for traveling. After two months of being home, I’m excited to leave again on Sunday. It’s like I’m beginning my travels all over. I can’t sit still any longer — there’s too much of the world to see!
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 when you return home, it can be a little underwhelming sometimes. But though coming home may be a hard adjustment, it’s not all that bad.
For more information, check out these posts:
How to Travel the World on $50 a Day
My New York Times best-selling paperback guide to world travel will teach you how to master the art of travel so that you’ll get off the beaten path, save money, and have a deeper travel experience. It’s your A to Z planning guide that the BBC called the “bible for budget travelers.”
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.