When travelling a lot, it becomes easy to get addicted to the lifestyle. Which is why, for some people, going back home (especially after a long trip) can be hard. Recently I have seen a lot of people describing what I like to call ‘returning home blues’: coming home from travelling and feeling absolutely disengaged and unhappy in their own home country. This is also sometimes known as ‘reverse culture shock’ (read more about this here).
I know that this is a real feeling for many people and it can be hard to accept returning to reality after having such amazing experiences abroad, but I for one can say I have never experienced this, and I don’t think you should either.
Why don’t I feel this way?
“I think the most important thing is to be in a good mood and enjoy life, wherever you are.” — Diane von Furstenberg
I live in New Zealand. And New Zealand (in case you didn’t know) is a pretty amazing country. No matter where I go in the world I will always call New Zealand home and I will always be happy to come back to the familiarity of that place I call home. It does help that I still think New Zealand is the best country in the world (read my post on why I never want to leave New Zealand).
I remember when I came back from my Europe trip. I had been away for six months, travelling non-stop for about four of those. I loved every minute of my experience, but when I got on the plane bound for Auckland, all I felt was happiness and excitement. I will be in my own country! With my own food, and culture, and language, and hearing my language be spoken with my own accent! And OMG, people would be driving on the left side of the road again!
It’s like, everything I’m used to is what’s right to me. So while it is fascinating and intriguing and mind-boggling to be inside different cultures, there is nothing more satisfying than being inside your own. And I believe travelling helps me to appreciate that even more.
Why don’t I believe in this phenomenon?
In my opinion if this happens to you, you might have missed the point of travelling. We should not be living trip-to-trip, barely surviving through the time we have to spend in our home countries, counting the days until we can leave again.
Travelling, for me anyway, is about learning. It’s about connecting with other people, engaging with people that you never ever would have had the opportunity to speak to otherwise. It’a about noticing and appreciating differences, and opening your eyes to where your own culture and society thrive and where they are weaker.
“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang
If you are sad when you get home, you are probably missing a valuable benefit that you could get from travelling, which is appreciating your own home. Understanding a bit more about where you come from and what makes it unique. What makes it special. What makes tourists come and visit it.
In my case, there are many things that New Zealand lacks that most other countries have, but there are also many things that no other country has but New Zealand.
Travelling should be about refreshing your mind and learning about the world and understanding how other cultures and societies work, realising that your home town isn’t the only place where real people exist, and so so many other things. It should be about finding where you and your background fit into the world, how the world views you and how you view the world. It is a reciprocal relationship, you take your experiences and learnings from every place you visit, and, whether unknowingly, you give back your opinions, your culture, your ideas, and a part of you.
“People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.” – Dagobert D. Runes
If you love travelling but you hate home, ask yourself: why do you love travelling so much? Is it just to escape reality? Or is there a deeper reason behind it? Because if you really love travelling, it should be because you love the world, and the world includes where you are from just as much as it includes every other place.
Tips for people who feel this way:
While I do not get this myself, I think it is a simple matter of a change of outlook.
Your home country probably has just as many beautiful places as wherever you have been travelling, so get out there and explore in your free time. Home doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) equal just work and no fun.
That unfamiliarity of foreign countries is something that should inspire you, maybe to ignite change in your own society or in your own life. Take what you have learned and see what you can do with that.
So go outside. Go for a walk. Look at the sky. Relax. Have fun. Talk to your family and your friends. Talk to foreigners. Show them around. Figure out what is amazing about your home. Embrace that.
Oh, and don’t be sad you’re home. Instead, be thankful you have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to travel. Reminisce, relive, remember, by all means. But please, please, don’t be bitter.
Tell me in the comments: has this happened to you? What did you do to combat it? Do you agree with my sentiment?~