**You might think this is going to be another article praising the amazing and transformative things that happen to a person once they set off on a long journey abroad, but it’s not… I don’t think. It’s about the things you learn and realize once back home to reality.
What I Learned after 7 Months of Travel
Coming back home:
As anyone who’s been on a lengthy adventure overseas can attest, when you arrive back home to your “normal” life and standard routine, you feel a number of different things. For me, the first feeling is excitement! I’m excited to see my friends and family again, and share all the stories of my wild adventures (well, almost all of ’em). After this initial excitement subsides however, I feel an array of mixed emotions. I think this is the magical effect from travelling around the world, and it sometimes doesn’t hit until you return home. Here’s why:
As I mentioned before, the first thing I want to do once back home is share stories. Travelling has never let me down as a means to experience ridiculous events that would otherwise seem unfathomable, and story telling is such a great way to connect with people and feel a sense of closeness. I just love sharing stories with friends and watching their jaws drop. I guess the average day of a traveller seems to somehow always yield an adventure in its own way.
Strangely enough, when my stories have all run dry, and I take a breath waiting to hear of adventures in return, the mood changes. More often than not, I’m driven to ask questions like how is your job, your relationship, your hobbies, any new projects in work, any new trips being planned? What shocks me every time is the sense of stagnancy I get in response. I must note though, this isn’t the case with all my friends, but this back and forth process sort of hit me in a weird way.
My first realization:
Most friends still hate their jobs and complain that they’re unfulfilling and boring. The relationship is still trucking along with not much else new to talk about. Nobody is really saving for anything special, no real plans in the works. This is where another realization comes in: I don’t know if it’s travel that has instilled this in me, or perhaps a mix of things I’ve learned in my own life, but I’m compelled to seek different answers. I feel like a hyperactive machine as I’m already thinking about my next trip, exploring various ways to make extra money, introducing myself to new activities and friendships. In my mind, my life continues to move forward in a meaningful way even though I’m back home to my own version of a “normal” life with routine.
My second realization:
I find myself looking deeper, comparing my personal growth and development level to those who had stayed behind. It seems like everyone has just frozen in time and place. While I was alive and breaking out of my cocoon like a butterfly, dropping all my old leaves to grow new ones, testing my limits, experiencing new things, interacting and communicating with all walks of life, I was in a position to evolve and discover new processes for thinking and creating – something I think is invaluable. Now, I surely didn’t become some kind of super human just because I’d seen a few Countries and different ways of living. Rather, I think that my senses had just shifted and my understanding of the life I had before is different.
What I learned:
Travelling is like taking a personal development course that you teach to yourself, and when finished, you grow tune with the true realities and colours of life. The funny thing is, you don’t actually get some of this information until after your trip is over or your course is complete. The moment you get back home and immerse yourself into the rituals of normalized life, you’ll see and feel things you usually wouldn’t. It is the comparison between these two extremes that gives a sense of mindfulness and clarity in life.
Travelling changes you. PERIOD.
My final thoughts to anyone reading this who’s potentially interested in setting off on a journey abroad are these: Some of the things I learned from travelling came into my experience and changed me while I was away, and some of them I didn’t realize until I set foot back home. The fact of the matter is, you can’t undo the impact that travel has on the mind and soul. If you want to travel, do it; you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.