A lot of “travellers” talk of reverse culture shock on returning home after taking off to travel, while others just fear coming home all together. It’s as if returning home means coming home defeated, destined to fall back into your old ways and never re-adjusting. I’ve gone back and forth on the dilemma for a while now given I’ve returned to my beloved Australia and to be honest I just don’t get it.
Living abroad had a resounding effect on me and is something I’ll forever cherish and could very well do again, but I don’t see why it has to all of a sudden end when you return to your home country. After all many of us come from amazing countries in their own right. Australia is essentially the size of Europe, so coming home still leaves me a whole bunch of places to go and explore that I’ve never been before.
So why can’t I just become an expat in my own country?
Coming home is only depressing if you let it be and intend to go back to the life you had before. Unless you’ve kept in touch with friends, work colleagues, your boss etc then trying to fit back into that mould you left is always going to be difficult. Even then it’s not going to be the same so my advice is to not even try.
Instead of looking at it from the negative try to treat it as a positive to continue your traveling way of life. I’ve outlined a few things I’ve done to make the move to becoming an expat at home a far more enjoyable experience.
- Instead of moving back to the town/city you left move to a different state or part of the country. I moved across the country to Western Australia after growing up in Victoria and it’s a completely different experience. The weather, the people, the scenery is a complete flip on what I was used to.
- Getting a job is perhaps the most depressing part of coming home as you will most likely be returning rather poor. In your travels though you’ve most likely worked a few different jobs, maybe look at continuing one of those on your return. A LOT of us travel to get out of our cubicle job so going back to it would be a horrible thought for many. I used to do that so instead created my own business and now work for myself. It’s a million times more rewarding and I get to work my hours and make my office wherever I have internet. It’s also something I’d never have done had I not taken off and travelled solo to begin with.
- Just like you made friends taking tours and staying in hostels/hotels abroad do the same at home. I’m surprised by the number of activities or tours I’ve never taken in my own country. I can hop a plane to Sydney, Melbourne or take the train into Perth and take a walking tour while staying in a hostel and enjoy the same experience while I was in Europe. Alternatively give up your couch to a couchsurfer so you can bring the travellers to you and play tour guide in your new home.
- Perhaps the biggest change I’d made on coming home is to not look at everything like I did before. I took Australia for granted and never really appreciated just how beautiful my country is. Instead I look at my surroundings like I did exploring Paris, Prague and London and I’ve come to enjoy it so much more. Taking the camera down to the local beach to capture the sunset or while walking around the city can really help you bring out your inner traveller at home.
Now I know it will never be the same as say waking up in your favourite foreign city and dining at that cute cafe you used to frequent. By looking at the return home more as a new destination instead of home I’m sure you’ll be far happier. Just like becoming an expat while abroad you can find ways to bring that life with you at home. And hey if nothing else I’m sure you’ll be making your mum/dad a lot happier knowing you are at least within the same country.