So, here you are: you traveled to a different country, had an amazing experience, and now you’re asking yourself what’s next? You’re reminiscing over your pictures abroad, waiting anxiously to tell someone about your adventure, and browsing the internet for any sign of anyone else who gets what you’re going through right now. Well, I have some good and bad news for you: you’re not alone on this one.
Countless people travel abroad, have amazing, life-altering experiences, and return home feeling a strange mix of emotions while trying to reconcile the experiences they had abroad with their lives back home—wherever home may be.
The truth is, this is actually a really difficult task, one in which most travelers are never properly equipped to cope through.
Although you desperately want to share your experiences and your thousands of pictures with everyone you come across, you begin to realize how unrealistic this will be. Despite the few people who will genuinely be interested in the stories you have to tell, not everyone will be as anxious to just sit and listen. More often than not, you’ll see eyes gloss over and disinterest begin to form as you continue talking. Not to say these are bad people, it’s just hard sometimes for people to understand where you’re coming from or why it’s difficult for you to not talk about your time abroad.
Additionally, and not so fortunately, you will come across people who will regard your tales of adventure as obnoxious moments for you to “brag”. In these moments, it hard not to take offense—especially if you’re someone who has been humbled by places you’ve traveled—but it’s important to keep calm and politely oblige to no longer discussing your travels with those people. While it’s never easy to inhibit discussing your experiences—which have now become a large part of your life—at the comfort of others, it’s important to realize the privilege that traveling truly is, one most people never get to experience.
It’s both a blessing and sometimes a heavy burden, in which true travelers must carry responsibly.
Along with all this, you’re going to find a true difficulty with keeping the lessons you learned abroad relevant in your daily life. If you’re like me—and most travelers for that matter—then you’ve been drastically altered by the things you’ve experienced, places you’ve been, and people you’ve met. You discovered new ways to live life more meaningfully, and have vowed, if only to yourself, to carry these lessons with you forever. No matter your level of commitment to those new promises, you’ll find real difficulty with fulfilling them—especially as time eases you back into the life you had before your adventures. Although I wish I could offer some advice on this one, it’s something I continue to struggle with daily.
The truth is, returning home from traveling abroad is a struggle not a lot of people talk about or know how to deal with properly. You’ve changed immensely, yet have found yourself back in place that has remained unaltered.
You’re eager to share the depth of life you’ve just experienced, only to find the world you left behind has kept on living—and sometimes you’re unsure how you fit back into it. Everything feels different.
This is not your fault or the fault of those around you, just the weight of the burden travelers find themselves carrying throughout their lives. Maybe that’s the problem with wanderlust, it really leaves no room for staying stationary.
Despite this daunting task—that can lead to an extreme desire to pack up and go and/or depression—the benefits of traveling will always far outweigh the burdens. Coming back requires patience and a willingness to learn as you go. Although most people won’t ever understand the roller coaster of emotions you experience when you return from abroad, it’s reassuring to know your fellow travelers will not only share your sentiments, but will offer you the much needed release you need by letting you talk about your travels.
Despite those moments feeling insignificant to the large amount of time you spend navigating through your experiences, you’ll somehow find the positive reassurance that will always guide you forward.