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1. Posted by carosterns (Respected Member 159 posts) 9y

I have been away from home for four and a half years and am planning to return to Oz mid next year. I'm starting to hear all sorts of stories from ex pats and long term travellers returning home and the problems they have faced trying to re-establish themselves back home.
Does anyone have any tips and advise on how to settle back into a normal life after five years walkabout.

2. Posted by Kristie79 (Full Member 225 posts) 9y

I think everyone is different, and has their own way of getting back into it.

I'm still struggling and I've been home since February (I was only away for 8 months)!! The hardest thing I found was getting back into work and the routine. Although I found a job pretty easily I struggle with the daily grind of it all and if I had the chance I would quit and go travelling again.
One of the things I loved most about travelling was not knowing what you were going to do from one day to the next. Just waking up one morning and heading off to where ever takes your fancy.

Sorry, I've just read this back and it's not much help to you. Just thought I would give you my pennysworth!

Kristie

3. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3713 posts) 9y

I returned home recently after being away for 21 months. One thing that struck me was that most people weren't really interested in my trip - I think only my parents were genuinely interested in what I had done. And while I 'd had a life changing 21 months, most people had been doing the same thing at home during that time and I think some of them had an issue with that (even though I didn't).

I've not found it as hard as I thought coming back because I'm still enjoying being close to my friends and family again, but I find that I have less in common with some people now, and have more in common with people who have travelled.

Maybe just try and focus on what a good experience you have had and what you've learnt, rather than the negatives of being back home. I've developed an interest in photography since I've come back from travelling - you might find you've got some different interests too that you can focus on.

I have just booked a 2 week holiday too which has helped!

hope all this helps a little.:)

4. Posted by hey_monkee (Respected Member 430 posts) 9y

Maybe find yourself a job where you'll be in contact with travellers when you return home. I have to agree with Kristie above, people just don't seem to really care about your travels when you return. They're satisfied with hearing a quick run-down while you're bursting with stories and loaded with photos. Maybe join a travellers group where you will meet like minded people and get to share your experiences. If you combine still being in touch with the travelling world, with re-establishing a life back home, I think you'll find things won't be too bad:)

5. Posted by kalimero (Budding Member 50 posts) 9y

I just came back home after been away on and off for 6 yrs. I found it easier to come back this time because i was actually ready to come back, i had enough of backpacking and staying in hostel. i think the important thing is to take time off when you come back, see your family and friends. Time off to reflect what you want to do .. theres no point rushing things.

I agree hey_monkey and try and find other travellers to share your stories. i went back to school so im quite content to be home but a lots of travellers i know including myself have been depress after two weeks of being home....it takes time to readapt.

i think that feeling of wanted to travel never really goes away. i find myself looking at possibilities of travelling again althought im quite tired of the backpacking scene.

enjoy your return,

carol

6. Posted by carosterns (Respected Member 159 posts) 9y

Thanks everyone, I think I will have to buy myself a youth hostel so I will always be surrounded by travellers.

7. Posted by Kathi20 (Respected Member 270 posts) 9y

The first time I came home from a trip overseas was in 2004. I told my parents the wrong date, as a 'suprise', but the whole thing completely failed, as my Dad expected me a few days later and was looking forward to pick me up, where he 'had let me go' the year before (I was 19 when I left).

When I was in NZ, I met my boyfriend (now husband) there and had to leave him behind. I was very emotional and upset and thought "At least I'm gonna be home". What a lot of people forget is, that life goes on, while we are away. They tell you 'everything is still the same here', but actually it isn't the same at all.

It was just small things, but it took me a while to accept and get used to it: a lot of changes in the house (furniture, a new car etc.), but mainly getting back into a routine was hard. It might be hard for some of you to understand, but when you r 19, those things mean a lot.

I went back to NZ 6months later and we stayed there for another 1,5yrs. In May we went to ZA (where my husband is from) to get married and at the end of July we arrived in Austria.
First I was so happy to see my family again, but struggling at the same time, as my husband was trying to adapt to a new country and culture. After some time I started noticing a lot of things: my Mum had changed a lot (or did I just see it with different eyes, because I was away and had matured more???) and it hurt to see it every day (it's along story about her being 'perfect' and me becoming the same).

The biggest problem I found with coming back home was: people here are not openmined at all, they give a f... about other cultures, people from overseas, their language and lifestyles. At work they tell you about all the mistakes you make, but never tell when you r doing a good job (it's all about money and success). It is hard to make friends, as most austrians love to be in their groups and won't talk to anyone else. Hardly anyone seems to travel (apart from going on holiday), but that's only one reason, why it's hard to find likeminded people here. :(
I guess being married to somone from another country, living in my homecountry, has a big effect on things. There were days, where I was thinking a lot of NZ and friends we made there and I was trying to imagine what life would have been like, if things had worked out for us there. I was thinking (as here everyone sees security (house, job, family, income, pension)as very important), if that's what we (I) really want (stay here for the rest of our lifes).
Yes, I had a bit of a 'culture shock' (being austrian myself) but I had one important role: to support my husband who must have felt terrible the first few weeks.

My advice to you: go back home without any expectations. Keep in mind that things have changed there as well, above all people won't necessarily be the same.(when we were travelling in ZA with an old friend of mine, I had to realise, that we won't be able to have a friendship like we used to have, bec we both have changed heaps!!!some people develop strange attitudes).
Take your time and don't rush with finding a job, a flat etc. It is important to get into a routine again, but do it step by step.

For me the most positive experience was: being away shows you the true friends and family you have. Moreover it opens your eyes and allows you to see the beauty in your homecountry (again)!

sorry that it turned out to be such a long message...

Kathrin

8. Posted by Clarabell (Travel Guru 1696 posts) 9y

http://www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?thread=17222

I started a thread just like this just over a year ago. I will have been back a year this christmas. And I won't lie, it was bloody tough, and I got quite depressed. While you're away, you change, and peoples lives change. However, my best friends are still my best friends, even if I don't see them so often cos they're getting married and having babies etc.

Five years is a really really long time to be away, and you will have changed, but that's not a bad thing, its up to you to change your life too. Think of it as an opportunity to start a new life. It can be really positive.

It took a while for me to get my "new life" started, and I had to do crappy temping jobs etc, but if I'd just carried on the same as before I went travelling it would have all been for nothing. I knew I wanted a career change, so went back to uni to train to be a nurse, and have finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I am really busy, constantly meeting new people, learning new things, and gaining new experiences, and combined with living on a tight budget, those experiences aren't so different from those you get travelling, although without the sunshine and deep fried grasshoppers!
;)

9. Posted by carosterns (Respected Member 159 posts) 9y

Starting to believe going home is going to be a depressing event. I think I will be spending lots of time in Forums and looking at travel photos trying to cheer myself up.

10. Posted by Clarabell (Travel Guru 1696 posts) 9y

Quoting caro_stern

Starting to believe going home is going to be a depressing event. I think I will be spending lots of time in Forums and looking at travel photos trying to cheer myself up.

Didn't mean to scare you hon! Its not all bad! The main thing is positive thinking. You are not just going home, you are going to start a new life. It might be tough, but its an opportunity to make changes.