The hardest thing of travelling isn’t finding out where to go, it isn’t all the time you have on your hands and it isn’t surviving on a budget. The hardest thing of travelling is coming home. Two friends of mine are pretty depressed, being home again. I know what they are going through, I had it after my first journey as well. So here are some tips about how to survive homecoming blues.
How to survive homecoming blues
- Make a plan what to do after your journey When you are on the road, you have all the time in the world. It is nice just to travel and not think about what next, but why not using this time to find out what you really love and like? The two friends I was speaking about didn’t had a plan. They came home and are having a hard time, because they deal with the problem: ‘Now what?’. They have to start from scratch. Being home all their energy have been drained and they can’t get started. On all three journeys I had a little notebook with me and wrote ideas and plans in it. When I was home I started executing my plans.
- Save some money A lot of people go home when they are ‘out of money’. It means being home, you have none. It’s wise to save a bit of money, so when you get home you are not directly stressed out to find a job and earn something again. You can use the little bit of money you have saved on your trip to go after what you really want.
- Think about where to live One of my friends is home, living with her mam again. She loves her family, but has a hard time living with them. Travelling changes you. You become wiser, stronger, but while you undergo this changes, the people back home hold on to the memory they have of the person who went travelling. They don’t see the changes in you, they are not part of what you experience, so when you come home, they treat you as they always have done. They act if you haven’t changed. Little do they know. For you this can be very frustrating. You became wise, but people still see the old you. Especially parents. So before you go, think where you will live when you get back home again. After my first journey, through Australia, I borrowed my dad’s caravan and lived in that for a while, up until I became an anti-squatting watch and lived in a former police office with a friend. After journey two I moved in with a friend. This time I kept my house. I’m sharing it with a friend. When I’m on the road she is living there with my two cats, when I’m in the Netherlands we split the house.
- Go slow One of the things I love most about travelling is the ‘me-time’. I know a lot of people and I love spending time with friends, but I love spending time with myself as well. Being on the road it’s easy to divide time between friends and myself. Being at home I have so many people around me, it’s a lot harder. Coming home everybody wants to see you again. It can be exhausting running from one to another. So go slow. Keep some time for yourself. Stay a little longer in travelling mode. Your friends haven’t seen you for months, one week more or less won’t make a difference.
- Be aware of full schedules Having said that: remember that your friends have full schedules. Australia was my first journey. I meet some really nice people, became really good friends in no-time. I walked in a hostel, had a chat with somebody, went out for a beer, made some dinner in the evening and before I knew it I was travelling with them for a few weeks, having meaningful conversations, laughing, joking around. When I came home I was still in this backpackers mode. I wanted to get together with ‘old’ friends. It was a shock to find out they didn’t had time for me. Well they had: three weeks from now. When you go travelling you more or less walk out of everybody’s life. Their life goes on, your place get filled up with new friends and new obligations. Life in the West is dictated by schedules. When you are travelling your free. It’s hard to get those two lives balanced again.
- Plan your next trip Travelling for me is freedom. I don’t carry a past around, people are not expecting anything of me. I can just be me. Go where I want, be who I am. Being at home there are always expectations. People judge you because of what you have done in the past and based on how you are living your life. For some reason I have always more open-minded people around me and especially more people who look at life and at the world the same way as I do when I’m travelling. For me being on the road is being me. That’s a big part of the reason why I struggle with the homecoming blues. The way to escape it, is to plan your next trip when you are at home or – even better – when you are still on the road. I said goodbye to my regular life halfway 2014. My life now is on the road. Yes, I am in the Netherlands, but for me the Netherlands is just one of the places I visit. I am here to visit friends and family, to write a manual for a yoga teacher training, to arrange some stuff and then I’m off again. This is just a stopover to plan the rest of my trip.
Being home most of you will always have to deal with some homecoming blues. Especially one you come home after your first trip and have no clue where you are in for. After my trip to Australia I struggled with it for half a year. I was done, didn’t like my life in the Netherlands. Bit by bit I adjusted to it. Having a nice job (sports journalist), good friends helped, but the urge to go travelling always stayed. So I went again, came home and now I’m on the road. I can’t say forever, but I’ll be travelling for a few more years. I’ll hope to see you somewhere in this beautiful world. Keep on travelling, keep on dreaming and keep on living your dreams.