So, I recently returned home from travelling the world for a year solo. It was without a doubt the greatest decision I ever made, to pick up drop everything and take a chance. But now I've been home for a couple of months and seriously struggling to identify with my surrounds - the society here, the people around me, etc. I can't find my balance. Now I am back at work too and working very long days again and I feel like I've done from a massive high to a massive low. I feel like I could probably write a bunch of advise to myself here to pick me up out of this negative state, but I am really just looking for people who can sympathise... people who have been through this themselves. What was your process? Did you find some of those wonderful lessons that you learn during your travels were able to stick? Where you strong enough to not let the society and people around you change you back to 'your old self'? Did you ever manage to accept being back, or do the feet never stop itching?
Thanks for the advise and lots of positive energy to all you travellers out there.
You're not alone here - many people get 'post-travel blues'. I'm also one of them and completely understand where you're coming from. I spent 5 months in Asia last year and had the time of my life! I've been back for almost a year now, working a job I don't love and living in a culture that is home but doesn't really feel like it. I couldn't take it so, from next month, I will be traveling Europe for 5 months then onto Aus and NZ for around 2 years. Who knows what after that?
You clearly miss traveling - I'm not saying that we all should drop what they're doing and go explore the World as that isn't for everyone, but don't lose that curiosity and sense of adventure. The thing I found that helped was to keep going on small trips to countries close to home. That helped me decide whether I was ok with focusing on furthering my career or continue my love of exploration. I chose the latter.
Life is there to be lived - if you're not happy doing what you're doing then change it!
Planning the next trip helps somewhat.
I never feared going back to 'my old self'; travel showed me that at any time I could just pick up and leave, living out of a backpack, and be perfectly content with my lot in life. Sure, it's comfortable in this nest I've created for myself at home, but I don't need it. Who cares about all those material things? Sit me down in a hostel's lounge anywhere in the world with a book and a cup of tea, and I'll be okay. Really *knowing* that helps a lot.
People at home don't understand. They barely pay attention for 10 minutes if you try to tell them about your travels. A year's worth of non-stop experiences just can't be comprehended when you're used to the never-ending daily routine. So I hang out here, sharing tips and experiences as much as I want, and regularly get to know that I've genuinely helped people by doing so. It's a good life.
Meanwhile travel also gave me the confidence to become a freelancer at home, so I have way more freedom (and money, now that I've built up the necessary buffer) to keep on travelling.
I haven't really been on a long trip - just two months - but every time I used to come back from a break, be it two weeks, a month or two months, I've been a bit blue after a few days. But Sander's advice above, planning another trip, definitely helps me.
Because of work (and I don't want to give up my work; I like it too much) I can get two or three weeks away in July and seven or eight weeks away over Christmas. For the past three years, we've bought our plane tickets for the following July before we've gone away the previous December and similarly we've bought the December plane tickets before the July holiday. This has two advantages - the main cost of the break is already paid for well before travelling (and the flights during school holiday time tend to be cheaper the earlier you buy them) and, as soon as you get back from one holiday, you can continue planning the next (and the one following) - it works for me!
It's China next month and Central America in December (and possibly East Africa in December 2015).
I also find that planning and booking another trip really helps, even if it's just a cheap weekend away somewhere in Europe. Also, research other destinations that you may want to visit from a longer-term perspective - I'm always really excited when I discover somewhere new that I want to go even if I'm not able to book it yet.
Also spending time with like minded people on forums such as this has certainly helped me.
My feet never stop itching!