You travel the world, try new things, meet new people, fall in love, visit all these amazing places, learn about other cultures.. then its all over. People always talk about leaving, but what about coming home?
We talk about the hard parts while were away. Finding real jobs, settling down, moving out of your parents, making real friends, making good life choices, learning social norms.. But these are all parts you get through. All of these lows are erased by the highs you experienced. The goodbyes are difficult but we know they are coming, especially when you purchase that plane ticket back home. All these sad goodbyes are bolstered by the reunion with your family and friends you have pictured in your head since the first day you left.
You finally return home, have your reunions, the next couple weeks you spend just catching up with friends and family, telling stories, and talking about the good old days. You’re on top of the world for the first couple weeks. You’re a star. Everyone wants to hangout with you and hear all about your travels and then it just all goes away.. Soon enough you being home is old news. Everyone goes back to living their lives just like they were while you were gone. Soon enough the questions start coming.. When are you gonna settle down? Do you have a job? What’s your plan? When are you going to move out of your parents?
Reality starts to hit you. You’re sitting in your childhood bedroom and realize nothing has changed. You’re glad to see everyone happy and healthy and yes, people have gotten new jobs, engagements, homes, etc., but part of you is screaming don’t you understand how much I have changed!? And I don’t mean appearance, I mean whats going on inside your head. The way your dreams have changed, the way you look at life, the way you perceive people differently, the habits you’re happy you lost, the new things that are important to you. You want everyone to recognize this and you want to share and discuss it, but theres no way to describe the way your spirit evolves when you leave everything you know behind and force yourself to step out of your comfort zone. You know you’re thinking differently because you experience it every second of every day inside your head, but how do you communicate that to others who just don’t understand what you seen and did while traveling?
You feel angry. You feel lost. You have moments where you feel like it wasn’t worth it because nothing has changed but then you feel like its the only thing you’ve done that is important because it changed everything. You made so many strange foreign places your home, that once you’ve actually returned home, you feel like a stranger.. Its like learning a foreign language that no one around you speaks so there is no way to communicate to them how you really feel.
This is why once you’ve traveled for the first time all you want to do is leave again. They call it the “travel bug”, but really its the effort to return to a place where you are surrounded by people who speak the same language as you. Not English, Arabic, Spanish, or French, but the language where others know what its like to leave, change, grow, experience, learn, then go home again and feel more lost in your hometown then you did in the most foreign place you visited.
This is the hardest part about traveling, and its the very reason why we all run away again, time after time..