(The One With the After-math of Coming Home)
I’ve heard the warnings, read so many travel blog posts about it, I’ve even experienced this feeling myself before… but not like this, not with this much intensity.
Coming back home, after almost 2 years living in Thailand and traveling the world, I felt a big hole in my heart; something was missing. We’ve all heard of the “travel blues,” that moment when the vacation is over and a bout of depression sets in. Settling back into your day-to-day as your tan starts to immediately fade away. You can’t help but think about where you just came from: The people you met along the way, the experiences you had, the amazing new things you saw and did. That’s what happens, that’s why vacations are so important to have. It’s a rejuvenating feeling that makes you keep coming back for more. But what happens when it was more than a getaway trip or an extended vacation?
For me, it was my life, my day-to-day and how I chose to live. Bicycle rides to work, dance party during my classes, a beer by the beach while watching the sunset; it was not just vacation… this was the life I built in Thailand and I took pride in it. I tried not to take one experience for granted because nothing in life is ever guaranteed.
I knew the moment I got back something was different. I mean everything looked the same but it was like watching it in a different light. My friends, family, home were all the same, but I had missed so much. Families grew, circumstances changed, basically life moved on. I mean, I didn’t expect it not to just because I was gone, but I couldn’t help but feel out of place. The depression set in a little longer and the reverse culture shock was more shocking than I ever could have imagined.
It’s been a struggle being back home. Telling the stories with that “you had to be there” feeling or the random cry in my car when a song comes on the radio that transports me back. Thailand has a way about it to be a very simple and peaceful way of life and I can’t help but to crave more of those moments.
A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to it’s old dimensions. -Oliver W. Holmes Jr.
After 8 months I still feel lost, like I’m caught in between multiple worlds. I’ve tried to keep these thoughts and feelings inside as much as possible because I don’t want to show my insecurities, I don’t want to seem selfish or unappreciative. I don’t want my family and friends to think that I didn’t miss the hell out of them, because I did. It’s been a challenge for me to form my words when I do talk about my post-Thailand life. I wanted so much to converse with other travelers, other people out there that were possibly going through the same thing, because I was craving my emotions to be understood. I even took a hiatus from writing on my blog because I couldn’t come up with the words, I couldn’t bring myself to write because to me, writing about my travels was a different life for me. I knew something had changed. I wasn’t the same.
Then I thought if I was going through these emotions, maybe others were as well and I realized it was better to talk about it than trying to keep it inside. To let others know that these feelings are real, these feelings are shared by others and you aren’t alone. So I decided to write about it; to have the freeing feeling of getting my words out, to sing the hell out of Alabama Shakes’ “I Ain’t The Same” and smile with the fact that even though things are different, I know that I’ll be okay. I know that my journey doesn’t stop here, I have plenty of stories from my travels, past and present, some of which I was too scared of feeling vulnerable to write about, but I think this has helped me realize that that’s what life is all about; you change, evolve, and grow.
Cheers to a wonderful 2017!