I woke up startled, heart racing – I just had a dream that was neither scary nor exciting. In the dream, I returned to travel about a month after coming home, back to a hostel in some tropical Southeast Asian country, with a new friend sitting across from me. It was about 3 days after arriving and I was unhappy to be back, to be traveling again. There was that emptiness that is associated with post-travel blues but it was happening as I re-started my trip. That feeling is what woke me up, bewildered me, and made me reflect for a moment on my week back in Toronto – home.
My immediate thought? I’m happy. Something I didn’t think would really cross my mind in that moment, nor as I was on the plane from Bangkok, as I was deciding in Siem Reap if I needed to return to Canada, when I got into the motorbike accident in Vietnam. I thought the post-travel blues would kick in like last time, having cut my trip short from another motorbike accident. Instead, this state of content helped me solidify that it was the right time for my return. Continuing this line of thought made me reflect on things I’d done right to help me settle back into my North American life, spending more time with my family, appreciating the life I had on both sides of the world and the person I’ve become, and my new priorities.
Coming back to live with parents, having been away for a year and living with an ex for about a year prior to the trip, was a lot easier than expected. There are, of course, certain downsides, but for the most part, I’ve been making the best of it – waking up with them at 6 am for breakfast, thanking my mother for all the work she does around the house and for me who currently has only one arm, and seeing the rest of my family and friends who have given me their love and support while away.
Returning home from travel, there are a lot more factors that have come up – notably having been asked the major question from every family member (in varying formats): “So, what are you going to do now?” It’s both a simple and complex question to answer. At first ask, I would say “I’m not sure yet”. To the pressure-bearing parents, I told them it wasn’t right to jump into something at random (as I’m fortunate enough to not need the income immediately). For myself, who’s asked it inwards throughout the week, I can now (proudly) say that I’m going to focus on myself, continue my self-development journey, and work on understanding what I want to dedicate my life to…at least for the short-term future. I’m very happy to say that I had that ~revelation~ the day before Christmas as another morning thought/realization. It seems like I’m a morning person!
Other random thoughts I’ve had over the week:
- Despite my previous sugar
addictionlove, I don’t really like high sugar junk anymore (yay?)
- I still like cookies
- It’s not that cold at 0 degrees Celsius, even having come from 35-degree Cambodian weather…this may be due to being in the cold for 4 months in Mongolia, China, and northern Vietnam
- Groceries aren’t as expensive as I thought when comparing to the local dishes I ate while traveling
- Washing hair is difficult with one arm, especially long hair
- You are able to create your own day. You can spend it reading, watching helpful or useless YouTube videos, getting exercise, over-eating, etc. It’s your decision and that’s what leads to your happiness
- Boredom eating is dangerous!
- Family is key.
- Negativity is easy. Kindness, patience, compassion, and thoughtful dialogue are not. I want to practice the latter as much as I can.
- I have a lot of stuff and need to get rid of it. This is very apparent after living out of a backpack for a year.
- I have a lot of things I want to do and accomplish in the near future
- The world is full of possibilities, it only takes some courage and removing mental blocks to really get to where you want to go
- It’s easy to put things off forever. Momentum and habits can keep you from reaching your full potential and what you want…but if you change these to your benefit, they can help you attain both.
- My neighbourhood is full of unnecessarily twisty, windy roads. Who came up with that idea, anyway?
- It’s also easy to get sucked into mindless, “fun” activities like watching a mildly-interesting TV show or going down the Reddit rabbit hole. That isn’t helpful 99% of the time
- Mornings are lovely
- A few baubles on a tree makes not a pretty Christmas
- Yum, cheese and hummus
- Typing for long periods of time with a broken humerus is not very comfortable
- Sitting on one’s butt is not good for its shape nor size 😉
- It’s a bit odd to go from not planning the next day, or even the next few hours, ahead of time to a lifestyle where there aren’t those spontaneous opportunities, appointments are required, and each day is used to build up to a future or purpose (not that I mind much, at this point)
- My mom is amazing
Simply put, there’s a lot of thinking going on! I’ve been lucky to be able to take this time to reflect and ponder rather than rush into job hunting or something similar. It’s been reassuring to know that I’m content here – at home – at this time after traveling. I’m happy to be able to focus on myself and what I want in the coming days, weeks, months, even years. Mornings are my breakthrough times and I’m looking forward to many more.
Further thoughts on returning home from travel and my experience with reverse-culture shock are to come in the near future.