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Coming Home After Travelling

Today I cried in McDonald’s. Not because my McChicken burger was really shit (though it was). A sudden burst of emotion that I didn’t even realise I had been hiding  bubbled to the surface and overflowed, right into my flacid, tasteless lunch. I don’t want to go home. Nobody ever talks about what happens when a long trip ends, or when months and months of what you’ve come to know comes speeding towards a flight back to Heathrow at seemingly breakneck speed.

I guess nobody wants to hear about it. Sorry. I’m not expecting sympathy; it’s a very fortunate ‘problem’ to have, as far as sadness goes. Tears over almost an entire year of full-time travel, from beautiful beaches to breathtaking mountains, moments of thrill and moments of quiet, drawing to a close. At least for the time being.

If I put my realistic hat on (I don’t suit hats) then I know it’s not the ‘end’ end. It’s just a necessary interlude; I’m fortunate to have family and friends to reunite with, a company in the UK that needs some attention that I can’t give it on the road, a bed of my own to return to. So very, very lucky. I have big dreams plans. I’m by no means grounded…just a bit scared.

I’m scared that I’ve changed a lot; I know that I won’t slot straight back into my old life (spoiler: I don’t want to) but I don’t quite know how I’ll adapt back either. I’m scared that the dark and the cold will feel especially violent when my body and my mind has become accustomed to light and warmth (hello fellow SAD sufferers). I’m scared that I won’t have any work in December – usually my most profitable month of the year, that makes the following months of insecurity and a lack of work manageable – because clients may not know that I’m back and available. That perhaps the London scene, that I’ve so enjoyed being away from, will have moved on without me.

It’s okay, you can roll your eyes. I’m rolling my eyes at me too. Self-confessed drama queen over here, I’ve always felt things a little too deeply. I’ve been known to cry on Christmas Day; I’ve got two distinct memories of my lovely grandmother hugging me tight. It felt immensely ungrateful to cry at Christmas after a day of gifts, food and indulgence, but I felt the intensity of a big build up coming to a swift end. I suppose this feels a little bit like that, only my Christmas has been 11 months long.

Just yesterday I was busy scheming and reassuring about all the positives that some time at home will bring so I’m not really sure what prompted the salty-as-fries tears today. Perhaps it was browsing back through New Zealand photos for a job I was working on and realising that the date stamp was so many months back. It might have been the texts from family and friends that have started to contain the phrase ‘…next month’. Next month. Fuck.

Before I left, I sort of assumed that this time away would place a nice, tidy tick in the ‘travel’ box. In the lead up, I even had doubts about going because my business was doing well and it seemed a little mad to step away. Originally the trip was supposed to be 4 months long. Then it became 6 because, well, why not? 6 became 8, but then within less than 2 I knew deep down our return date wasn’t right either, so I deliberated for a while, then cancelled it.

Rather than tick a box, experiencing the life-changing rollercoaster (someone take my keyboard away) that is full-time travel has just opened a massive one. In part, I think I’m struggling with the idea that everything I thought I might want for my life isn’t quite so. This weird thing happens; the more you travel the more you realise what a teeny, tiny part of the world you are. It should be scary but actually, it’s comforting. Once you’ve seen what else is out there, it’s hard to go back and accept that yep, the bins need to go out on a Thursday and your eye test is overdue and Tesco are out of bloody-fucking rosemary focaccia again. How dare they! It all seems too insignificant.

If this was a Hallmark card I’d write some god-awful close like “Don’t be sad it’s over, be glad it happened” but I am sad it’s [almost] over. That’s okay. A big part of this year has been learning to give rise to my own emotions. To respect them, to give them air time, and to laugh at myself when they’re really silly (like now).

So I am a bit sad and a bit apprehensive and that’s alright. I’m also one of the luckiest people in the world to have something so good it’s hard to let go of, even momentarily, and I feel that too. But I am not putting the bins out.

Dress: Fortunate Ones [PR Sample]

Gold Shell Necklace: Seed Australia 

Pearl Hoop Earrings: Zara

18 Responses

  1. Hey Beth.

    This is an amazing post and I’m sure a lot of people who also travel have felt the same way. When i was researching my own Australia trip (which seems like forever ago now! 😞) I came across the phrase Reverse Home Sickness/Culture Shock.
    Seems apt to how you’re feeling at the moment. 💖☀🌹
    I hope you soon begin to feel better about coming home altho I know that however long/short your period in London is, nothing will ever match travelling the world and seeing a sunrise over the Whitsundays. Xox

    1. Thank you so much Sarah, for your kind words. Especially that phrase, it’s brilliant ❤️

  2. FREAKING AMEN. Dang this hit home hard for me. I just moved home after 3 years of living abroad and it is so hard and I’m totally unprepared. It’s so weird how things come into your life. I JUST followed you and you posted this! Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Once again your words are ridiculously inspiring and I feel your emotions on such a deep level. Although I’ve never experienced what you’re going through per say, it’s something I wish I could get the opportunity of doing.
    When I started my blog over 2 years ago, you were one of the first people I followed and actually the only non-travel blogger I kept up with. I watched you transform from a kick-ass lifestyle university-grinding London blogger to this inspiring, humbled travel blogger who is seeing the world the only way I’d like to.
    Sending you all the good vibes today & every day that you can cope with this major transition once again. And we’ll all be here to watch you smash the industry as you always have when you return 💛

  4. Hey Beth,
    It’s alright to feel apprehensive, it will be totally weird to go home and slot back into life. You don’t need to slot make into how you were. You will live a different life which is totally fine.
    Expats who repatriate find it much harder to return home that to move to another country. It’s a huge adjustment for most people and it is a thing as the person above stated.
    So don’t be too hard on yourself.

  5. This is such an amazing post Beth and thank you for being so honest about the thoughts of going home. You’ve been on such an incredible and life changing journey for the last year (I’ve followed you all the way on Instagram!) that I’m not surprised you are wary about readapting to life back in London soon! Just remember that you have inspired a hella lot of people to travel! xx

    Lucy |

  6. Hi Beth,

    I loved reading this! The way you write is so great i could read alllll the time!

    Love Beth (great name!!)

  7. You can always, always go home and then change your mind in a week, a month, a year, 10 years. The only things certain in life are death and taxes! Take things day by day and know that when you want to continue travelling, you can. Lots of love xxxx

  8. I just found your blog and this post spoke to me so much! I was nodding along the whole time – no eye rolling here! I think it totally makes sense to be scared and nervous about going home. We’re living abroad in Prague for a year and I know when our year is up, I’m going to have such a hard time heading back. I’m sure I’ll have a lot of the same feelings as you. And I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts on how travelling just makes you want to travel more and makes you realize how small your own world is. I was just talking about this to my partner yesterday! I hope you enjoy the rest of this trip and I’m sure it’s not your last!