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Coming home blues?

Travel Forums General Talk Coming home blues?

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11. Posted by jaxstar84 (Respected Member 415 posts) 8y

ive been living in the netherlands for 2 years and am about to head home to australia in 2 weeks and its not gonna be easy.. ive set up my life here, i have a bf, friends... ive learned dutch and i love the way of life here... i dont want to go home but visa says i have to :(

my old friends are getting married, having kids, buying homes and climbing the career ladder, and im going back to uni for my post grad.. alot of them think that i just havent grown up yet and think im just piss farting around still, while theyve gotten on with the real world. great thing to come home to........ funny thing is tho, alot of them are going to be the kind of mums you see talking to the foriegn nannies at school, saying how oooh what youre doing is great, i wish i hadve done it at ur age etc...

i agree with the expat life idea. thats what ive lived the last 2 years and it suits me down to the ground... its a challenge with the language and you dont have the normal daily boring struggle with things, well, you do, but its much more interesting! the ppl you meet are more like you, they understand why youre doing what youre doing, and ive found better friends than i ever had while i was in oz...

just one more year in australia, then i can come back home to amsterdam :)

12. Posted by Hollywood1 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y

Wow - sounds like everyone here knows exactly what I'm going through - 4 years living and working on the road: UK for 2, all over Europe for 1 and a Year in OZ, been back home in Canada for a year now and no matter what I do I cannot shake the travel blues - I invested in a business so I'm basically stuck here until it comes to fruition which could be another couple of years.

When I think about the expat lifestyle I used to live, it feels like the life I was meant to live - not this nine to five, get married, have kids, grow old and die lifestyle track everyone around me seems to have bought into as the "proper" way to live. Everyone just seems so focused on getting a better job, buying a new house, or a new car, or getting married and having kids. Yeah, they want to travel...all-inclusively to Cancun. I don't think of any of those things, I don't know if I really ever will want a mortgage over my head and I've lived a long time without a car. My friends and family keep telling me to grow up (I'm 28) but is living an unfulfilled life really the adult thing to do? To top it off, my *old* friends are envious now as well, not of the time lived overseas and the amzing life experiences I've had but the relative "success" of my business (I feel like I'm on crazy pills), which in my mind is nothing, just a way to me to earn money to live. They think I'm crazy when I talk about leaving it behind to live the life of a vagabond, living in hostels, they are like with the money your business is getting you can stay in whatever hotels you want. It upsets me greatly to see how much "material things" matter to these people, and that the person I used to be saw the world that way. My life is now much more about experiences now then about buying expensive things I don't need. Maybe I'm just blowing off steam here, no one around me can really understand me anymore and I them, I'm very much a stranger in my own home city and it ...well...it really sucks.

Thanks for listening to my rant!!! Any idea on how to change my world view to get me through the next few years are greatly appreciated!!!

13. Posted by TheSpade (Budding Member 17 posts) 8y

I can identify with a few things mentioned here.


It didn’t take very long, to find out that no one was really interested that much in my adventures abroad, simply because most people cannot relate.

How very true, people really are just not as interested as I feel they should be. When people tell me they've been away travelling or visiting a far flung place I love to heard their stories and see their photos however none of my friends or family seem that particularly interested in hearing about my trips. No one has even asked to look at my photos even though I've mentioned several times they are on my camera, laptop and my online blog (which no one bothers to read) and I'm not going to force them. When I get back from travelling people always ask how was it or what did I get up to and when I try and tell them they cut in to the conversation and start telling me what's being happening back home or what they've been doing even though it's remarkably less interesting and basically the same old same old. Irritates me a bit to be honest because I'm really not that interested in what's being happening at home, generally nothing exciting ever does.

The initial excitement of being back home and seeing friends and family wears off quite soon.

Indeed. It usually takes me about 2 - 3 days to catch up with sleep and speak to everyone at home and from that point onwards I long to be back on the road.

Material things that seemed so important before now seem relatively insignificant, and sometimes I feel critical of people who are so invested in these superficial details

I was never that big on material possessions anyway but I see so many people who seem to beleive they need these things in order to be happy.

What I find even more bizzare is when these possession loving people say 'you're so lucky being able to go travelling' or 'i wish i could go travelling'. Don't they realise they could go travelling if they wanted to it would just mean saving a bit of money and spending less on material gains.


In what ways do you think the travel experience has affected you and your view of the world?

I've realised that (I think I always knew) that settling down, getting a 9-5 job, being 'sensible' isn't ever going to make me happy and no matter how many people tell me I need to join the 'real world' and follow a career path it's never going to be for me.

The world is such a wonderful place with so much to see and do, if I don't get out there and see it now I might not get the chance. I want to experience so many different ways of life and cultures and visit so many different places that settling down now and moving into a career isn't going to allow me to do that.

How do you apply the experiences learned on the road to everyday life?

It's so easy to come to conclusions in your mind and make decisions while your on the road about things which you should do or are going to change when you get back but then forget all about as soon as you do. I have a list of things as long as my arm that I was going to start doing in my life or things to make changes to which I now seem to have forgotten all about or quite frankly not bothered.

I have learnt a lot from my travels but I'm not sure if I apply any of it to every day life but I think I maybe should. I could learn a lot.

My life is now much more about experiences

Bingo! I'm not bothered about buying 'things'. Technology, gadgets, cars, clothes don't make me happy. They make me angry / pissed off / annoyed more than anything. I'm always furious that the laptop isn't working, my phone won't charge, the mp3 player has died on me, my camera is malfunctioning etc etc etc. When I'm back home I'm stressed and worried about everything and anything when on the road I don't have a care in the world. The daily new experiences when on the road keep me content, I'm never worried about anything just happy existing and being me. Back home it's a completely different kettle of fish.

alot of them think that i just havent grown up yet

That is seriously annoying. There is nothing grown up about getting a career and settling down considering the majority of people hate their career and their boring life. If growing up involves all that job / mortgage / car stuff then I'm Peter Pan.

14. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1113 posts) 8y

Quoting TheSpade

There is nothing grown up about getting a career and settling down considering the majority of people hate their career and their boring life. If growing up involves all that job / mortgage / car stuff then I'm Peter Pan.

Hey Peter Pan, well said. I just wish this NEVERLAND has one common currency, that way, I can also one of the lost boys.

The real world is the world that was not constructed by human laws or norms and hypocrisy. The real world is some theme park in a remote Chinese county, where people don't even who is Paris Hilton or the inalienable American human right to own an ipod and an iphone.

15. Posted by loubylou (Travel Guru 664 posts) 8y

Some of this might be off-topic, but here goes anyway!

I agree that most people can't relate to travelling unless they have done it or want to do it. We have been travelling for 2 years now and we are honestly dreading going back to the UK. All we seem to get when we speak to family is 'when are you coming back'...yes we have been away for a long time but this, to us, is something that absolutely have to do otherwise we will regret it for the rest of our lives. We had the careers, the house, the car but we wanted to travel and we never understand why people at home can't just be happy that we are living the life we want to!

A big part of people not being interested is jealousy...they are jealous that they haven't had the guts to go out and travel. I agree that we shouldn't conform to what society wants! For example, this week my boyfriend and I have been together for 13 years, but somehow this isn't good enough for everyone else, they believe we should be married and with/wanting kids by now. We know that when (if?!) we get back to the UK no-one will want to see our pics or hear the stories and we accept that. We have discovered that travelling reveals who your true friends are. Although we had a lot of people we counted as close friends before we left, these same people haven't sent us one e-mail...my boyfriend's brother has sent us a total of 3 e-mails in 2 years, all of those have been hassling us to go back because he is getting married next May. People cannot or are reluctant to understand why we do what we do!

People basically don't want to think about people out having fun and living their life, that's why they turn the conversation around to their lives and what's been going on at home. As to the accumulation of material possessions, even when we were in the UK before we went travelling we had a 12 year old car and people thought we were crazy saving our money to travel when we could have bought a flashy car or bigger house, but this has never interested us either.

As to the questions about how to apply your experiences and that life is about experiences. Applying your experiences can be something as simple as you're now more patient in dealing with people, more confident in talking to strangers or more willing to stand up for your rights or other people's rights from experiences in other countries. We would say we have learnt a lot. We were confident people to begin with and had lived away from home for 11 years, but after meeting my parents for their holiday they commented that we were changed. In a good way though - that we were more independent, very confident, patient and able to handle ourselves really well. We feel that we have changed and are very worried about 'fitting in' back in the UK!

Our feeling is that we didn't want to wake up one day when we were 50 years old and discover all we had to show for our lives were a house, 2 cars and a 2 week holiday every year. We wanted to get out there and experience everything we could. Our parents sacrificed a lot so that we could go to University and have a better life than they did...life is a series of experiences and if you are happy having a 9-5 job, mortgage, kids and marriage then that is your experience of choice. It just so happens that our experience of choice is travelling...we respect other people's choices we just get very angry when they don't respect ours.

We have had a lifetime of experiences over the last 2 years and seen some wonderful 'once in a lifetime' things. We wouldn't change a thing. We just hope going back to the UK isn't too traumatic and we don't get the 'coming home blues' too badly!

16. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 8y

I can relate to so much of what Loubylou describes in her previous post. It's comforting in a way to know that other people experiences these same "issues" (if you want to call them that). You are changed when you get back, I was very much so, and found it a big adjustment being home. I lasted 6 months at home before leaving again. Right now, I'm settled in the sense that I'm working 9-5 and not backpacking every day, but I needed to do it somewhere other than Ireland. I love where I come from and it's the best feeling every time that plane swings in over the Atlantic to Shannon Airport, but for now I've grown out of home and the kind of life I seem to fall back into there.

I dont like to dwell on the friends topic too much, but, like Loubylou, I was surprised at the attitudes of some of my closest friends in Ireland to my choices to travel. I still consider them my friends, and they are entitled to their opinions, but those opinions aren't going to make me regret my decisions. A lot of the negativity at home stems from some degree of envy at not having done the same. A lot of ppl aren't able to let go of the career, the house, the ladder and just take off. And that's totally fine, if that makes them happy. I dont judge them for their choices. There's just as much worth in that kind of life - working hard, providing for a family, building a career to be proud of. I respect that. It's just not entirely for me, so I don't see why they would judge me for my choices.

One of the most satisfying aspects of travelling I think is your growth as an individual. Before I really travelled, I would allow myself to get bent out of shape about little things so much more easily. Now, I can recognise maybe the reasons why people say or do certain things and try not to always assume the worst for their actions. People dont always mean to be negative/nasty. Often they say things as a way to just make themselves feel better.

Like Bibu, I wasn't as interested by material possessions anymore when I got back, so working all week just to go shopping or partying at the weekend was wholly unsatisfying. Now, dont get me wrong. I'm still well able to fork out cash on something that I feel will improve my life , but it's more the commercial carousel that I was on before travelling that just didn't appeal to me anymore.

But, once you are home for any length of time, you find yourself slipping back into the old ways again. It's inevitable. Bibu, it's great how you are making such a conscious effort to try and remember what you learned along your travels. I really admire that, and it's something I try to do myself. Entirely rejecting your "old life" isn't the way to go, but, as you say, trying to combine your new experiences and attitudes with what you know already - that is what makes your travel so worthwhile and makes you a better individual.

I think the way to beat the coming home blues (and I can thank the wiser members of TP for this advice ;) ) is not to view being home as the end of your travels, but rather to see it as just a stop along the way to your next destination.
Sound words I think. Even though I call Ireland "home" because that is where I was born, increasingly it is becoming somewhere that I think of as a familiar place to stop and refuel every so often.

Good luck on your continued travels Bibu. ;)

17. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4809 posts) 8y

Quoting loubylou

People basically don't want to think about people out having fun and living their life, that's why they turn the conversation around to their lives and what's been going on at home.

Obviously I don't know your friends and family, but I think this bit is unfair - or at least it would be if said about my friends. (Almost everything else from your post I agree with, so I won't comment further on that.)

Obviously while travelling you're having a fabulous time, and have many more (meaningful) experiences than the people back home. But life back home doesn't stand still completely, and if you wouldn't be kept up to date on those things, the alienation might be a whole lot larger when you returned home. I have several friends whose emails to me when I'm on the road consist mostly about events back home, for the exact purpose of helping prevent that.
(I remember once doing the same for one of my best friends back in our university days. So much was happening there every day as well, that missing just a week would have a serious impact. And then he had to sit at home for a couple of weeks due to a broken leg or something (I forget). So every day I emailed him with an account of the day, and he really appreciated that. And I remember him expressing that appreciation whenever I get one of his emails about events back home.)

Maybe I'm just really lucky in my friends, but I still wouldn't be quite as negative about the intent of the people talking about home as you seem to be. It's generally worth trying to see everyone's actions in the best possible light. :)

18. Posted by loubylou (Travel Guru 664 posts) 8y

Quoting Sander

Quoting loubylou

People basically don't want to think about people out having fun and living their life, that's why they turn the conversation around to their lives and what's been going on at home.

Obviously I don't know your friends and family, but I think this bit is unfair - or at least it would be if said about my friends. (Almost everything else from your post I agree with, so I won't comment further on that.)

Maybe I should have qualified my statement with 'the people we know at home'! We ask for updates and want to know about what is happening at home but friends have said 'oh you don't want to know about that', and we have had to say, yes we do want to know about your lives so please do e-mail us and let us know what is going on.

Sander, the reason why I have said this is because when we have managed to get an e-mail from a friend, they have told us this is the reason they don't e-mail...so we have to resign ourselves to the fact we don't get e-mails from some of our friends. It makes us really sad but we haven't given up e-mailing them eventhough we never get a response!

19. Posted by jaxstar84 (Respected Member 415 posts) 8y

its pretty hard to judge other ppls experiences... im sure that having a house is a satisfing thing to have, you can make urself a nice home and feel like you have your place. you have "home". i just dont relate to that atm.

having kids is amazing, to see your little child grow up and learn and speak and just be an amazing little person because of what you taught them... but atm i just dont relate.

working hard and climbing the career ladder and having work related goals and achieving them is really satisfying. however, again, i dont relate.

and thats the problem with travellers coming home. is that we dont have many ppl to relate to us anymore. most ppl around us who have stayed and had kids, bought the house and gotten a career (rather than a job) have had their support system of all the other crew who have stayed behind. thts not how it used to be when we were all at uni together or whatever... we get home and the whole dynamic has changed, and us travellers have gone off to have no fixed plan, jumping from place to place, and theyve gotten into the 9-5 routine... none of us are who we used to be. we sometimes expect to feel "home" when we get back to the place we grew up in or wherever, but were all a bit thrown off when we get there and it doesnt feel like home anymore...

when i meet other travellers, i want to see their pictures and hear their stories, i ask questions, i wanna look at the things they bought... but i know my old friends at home wouldnt care. i wanna have my friends over to have a big cook up where everyone cooks something from another country, but im sure ill end up with lasagne and burritos - not excatly very exotic... my old friends are just in a totally different place now, and thats ok, you have to do what makes you happy. it just shows me that i need to find other ppl to surrround myself with, because to me, the ppl who stayed home dont interest me enough anymore... i also clearly dont interest them much, because ive barely heard frmo alot of them. well i have now, since they all know im coming home soon n they want to catch up, but while i was away, i was just that - away. not in their immediate circle anymore, so i was out of the loop...

sometimes being a traveller is a lonely way to be... but its also a very satisfying life to lead... you see more and understand more. i dont regret anything ive done in regards to packing up and leaving, cos i know one day when i have kids and grandkids, im gonna be the coolest storyteller ;)

20. Posted by TheSpade (Budding Member 17 posts) 8y

The whole 'being out of the loop' thing with friends is something which I find happens not only when people go away travelling. Even when I went away to uni my mates didn't keep in contact with me. As it's you who's gone away they expect you to keep in contact with them as it's you who's 'flown the nest'. When I would contact them they wouldn't ask how uni was or what I'd been getting up to which I found strange they'd just tell me about back home where nothing much exciting ever happened. I used to think it was my fault at first for not keeping in contact as much as I should but I soon realised that they are quite capable of getting in touch with me if they wanted, but they choose not too instead engrossed in their lives back home.

It becomes a pointless waste of time even being in touch with them now because I've been travelling all over the world recently and none of them are even slightly interested and I'm certainy not interested in much that's happened back home. Nothing extraordinary ever does. It sounds a bit pompous but I think what I've been doing the last few years is a bit more adventerous and exciting than what they have considering they've been doing the same things over and over for years - work, nights out at weekend, work, nights out at weekend and repeat to infinitum. We've just kind of lost all contact now.

It's hard for people to go away for extended periods of time and come back and everyone still to be thrilled to see them and interested in hearing from them. Personally I'm not bothered myself I know I've been having the time of my life so I'm happy.

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