The reality of coming home after you have traveled the world.

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  1. I know how you feel. The depression I had all the time…and the first time it happened was when I came back from living in Peru for a few months, and it was “when I lived in Peru…” or “well when this happened in South American…” people just thought I was being a snob. But I really had left my old life behind and I was not sure how to go back to it….So I just stopped doing it. I stopped going home so often, and I realized as much as I miss my friends the ones who love me understand that I feel happy living this way, so when I go home we hang out and when I am gone they are supportive!

    I never wrote about the post travel blues, I had a draft on my WP and I deleted it like 2 years after I started writing it. I didn’t want to seem ungrateful “oh god I had to stop traveling my life is so hard” type of shit. But I told my support group how I felt- friends and family- and they were like girl peace out! You are happy doing it so we will be here to see you when you come back. And that is what I did. I first went to visit Peru in 2007, then in 2009 we were like ok selling everything and going bye bye. And we don’t regret any of it. Of course it hurts now but when you start traveling again you’ll find your way again and hopefully find happiness! And its good you are hanging with your parents because life is short and I know I miss my mom a lot. And I do feel guilty because I only see her once a year but she is happy that I am living life on my own terms. Bonus- she’s coming to visit me in Greece so YAY for traveling!

    Big hug xoxo
    Mica recently posted..Cooking class in Istanbul with Turkish Flavours

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Oh Mica, yes I have to bite my tongue so many times because so many times I want to say things like “when I was in X” or “when I lived in X” or “oh I remember the night I did X”. I bite it because I don’t want to sound like a snob or try and seem better than anyone but thats how it come across and something people don’t realize is that THAT WAS MY LIFE FOR 2 YEARS of course I will reminisce about what happened during those 2 years! I am lucky to have a great group of close friends who do understand me in the life I want to live and love their support because sometimes it’s what I need most.

      I don’t blame you for never writing about how it felt when you got home. I’m not going to lie it took me so many times to write this. I started it a while back and would try to finish it but couldn’t so deleted and the other night just laid on my floor and wrote this. I still have so much I want to share that I am going through but just have no clue how to put it into words. So for now this will do. So jealous you may be going to Egypt soon btw… huge hug back. Miss ya & Love ya.

    • The universe is crazy… I literally just got back from Peru this morning and I’m sitting in a bus stop in Florida right now, about to take a bus back.Looking around at the people here, the food, the cars… everything I just don’t like it.

      I cried on the plane, I cried at the airport, I’ll probably cry on the bus and everyone will think that someone just died or something. It’s weird cause my grandparents are getting quite old and the is will probably be my last Christmas with them, and the rest of my crazy family, but I don’t really even care about that right now. I was so close to just skipping my flight and staying in Peru… that culture is just so much better than the overstuffed, dysfunctional, cold society of America…. I’m rambling, so I’ll stop that but I just wanted to say thank you for posting this comment. Every time I google something to do with traveling one of the comments talks about Peru, and that synchronicity just shows me that my life is on the right path somehow…


      • Jaime Davila says:

        Hi JOn, ugh I’m so sorry to read this but know exactly how you feel. It’s hard, but to be honest with you… you are doing thr right thing to be with your family now that you can. I did the same and am glad I did. I don’t see my family often and so it’s important to make time when you can. As for your rambling… no you weren’t. It’s exactly how I feel about things at home. The US has a superficial culture that we have been condintioned to believe is amazing… you know buy buy buy… get in debt debt debt and things things things will make you happy. When in reality it’s not. YOu will get back on the path you are meant to be in when the time is right. Just go with the flow… and it will all work out. The universe has a funny thing of making things work when you just let things be.

    • Hi Jamie, thank you. I really appreciate reading what I know and forget to acknowledge sometimes…
      – reverse culture shock for sure –
      Traveling changes you, forever. My 3 months in New Zealand and Australia have caught up with me, 2 months after being back in Anchorage, Alaska.

      I find the hardest part is the importance our society (USA) places on a job title and company we work for. Identifying with this is hard, especially when you are not working – dare I say unemployed.

      Glad you have your family and friends, recognize how you have changed, and how other aspects back home did not change. Coming home wasn’t the hardest part, recognizing how I’ve changed and feel like i’m starting over at 29 (*Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen – youtube it) is a check-in with where my attitude and energy lies. – how to give it back to the world, too

      Realizing the # of possibilities can seem overwhelming, because we have that many… (smiling)
      Having no debt, and being able to walk away from possessions (because they don’t own you… ) is liberating, deciding how to live in the present and plan for the future can seem daunting; a challenge of a balancing act.

      Thank you for your article and allowing others to relate with you through our growth – pains and all
      Grateful for traveling and the idea that the universe will align all of the possibilities if we “give it a go”

      “good on ya” for being honest with yourself,

      • Jaime Davila says:

        Thanks so much for the kind comment Dustin. It’s always tough going back home after you have been gone for so long. And sometimes the hardest part is realzing that you have changed and making that work with the reality of being home. Sorry I am just now replying. I hope you are doing better now and can make the most of being home and well maybe save up for another trip. PS. Alaska is one of the places I really wanna see in the USA…like so bad.

  2. Jamie great post. I can’t imagine coming home….we left 2 months ago and have another 22 months on the road. Coming home scares the scrap out of me, I know I will be a different person and people will not understand why I have changed or what I have seen on my travels. I know we have changed already, and that’s a great thing. Great that you landed a job and now are saving up so you can take off again on yet another epic journey. We hope you keep adjusting back to life in the USA, but we hope to see you on the road sooner than later! Purda VIda, fyi were in Costa Rica right now!
    Hannah @ Getting Stamped recently posted..Day 1: Lago Atitlan Trek – The toughest day

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Oh Hannah it’s going to be crazy to come home, but you have a long way until you have to deal with this. My advice is don’t even think about it, but do keep in mind it will be hard. You will come home a different person and you just have to take it one day at a time and embrace the new life and make the most of it. I’ll be back on the road soon so won’t try and worry about things so much. Ahh Costa Rica was the 1st country on my RTW!!! Enjoy it and it’s PURA VIDA!!!

  3. Wow, great and emotional and honest post. I just came back from a six months trip through Asia. And even though six months is not comparable with 2 years, sitting back at my desk in my office I know exactly what you are talking about.

    Being back feels strange. In six months even less changes at home. But I changed. And I often feel like I don’t belong here anymore and out of place. I’m saving for the next trip as well.

    Thanks for that post!!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Thanks Anja so much and well as for 6 months not being comparable with 2 years I may have to disagree. I think no matter the time frame we experience so many things on the road every day that change who we are and how we see the world. So during your 6 months you may have experienced as many life changing moments as I did in 2 years. Anyway being back does feel very damn strange and all I can do is take it a day at a time and enjoy it while I figure out what is next.

  4. Hey Jaime. Great post! I could totally relate! I travelled the world for 18 months with my girlfriend of 3.5 years. Sadly we broke up just after our 5 year anniversary in Australia and I came home cutting short my second visa. She has stayed until Xmas. I came back to nothing, and the friends I missed lots didn’t really care they were just glad I was safely home. Nothing had changed, just a few marriages and babies. I got very depressed and lonely but luckily found a job very quickly and only after 3 months am I happy. It takes a long time to adjust, its such a culture shock returning home. Thanks for a great read.

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Johnt, I am sorry to hear about your girlfriend. It’s a whole different experience when you come home after travel with a broken heart, I think it makes it so much harder. It is crazy though how when you get home you realize people are just happy you are back and that is that nothing else, but what can we do? Nothing much but role with the punches as we adjust with life back home. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  5. totally hear you on the reverse culture shock. i have had that symptom after traveling several times. i guess i feel blessed that i have a nice life here in the USA and am glad to know how some of the rest of the world lives too. i know that some people don’t even want to know how others live outside the USA…it takes all kinds. i just don’t appreciate the lack of understanding for the fact that I DO WANT TO KNOW and experience that.
    lola recently posted..i spy eye candy! – Seattle

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Oh Lola… yes it’s sad when people don’t even want to know how the rest of the world lives. I mean it’s like here you have me to ask me any question you want and none are asked. So I just keep my mouth closed and speak when needed about things happening around the world. Wish their was a pill to cure reverse culture shock jaja!!! We can swallow it with a whisky or something.

  6. I absolutely hated coming home from my first year long trip – sure the first few days catching up with people was fun but then it was simply depressing.
    In a way that made me realise how much I really wanted to travel and was a great drive to save and aim for a permanent way to live on the road.

    This time around I always remind myself how much home isn’t really home anymore – I’m much happier living the dream and I meet so many amazing people that it’s hard to even comprehend maybe having to return to the UK at some point!

    Stick with it bro and roll on the next adventure 🙂
    Chris recently posted..Monthly Travel Summary, Stats and Budget – Aug ’13

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Chris yes the 1st few days are nice, but after that it gets sad and depressing sad. Just dealing with the routine of life is depressing and cant be compared to what you experienced on the road or the way you were living life out there. Yeah I’m just saving to get out of here soon and well after that who knows… just living in the now for now!

  7. Great post Jaime. You know I’ve struggled mightily since coming home. I didn’t even have the luxury of coming back to a big surprise party – most of the people I really wanted to see didn’t even make it to my “welcome back” party. And while I’ve experienced some reverse culture shock, it’s also amazing how quickly I’ve fallen back into bad habits – I feel quite torn between my travel life and my home life. Like moving back into my condo – on the one hand I don’t want to spend a lot of money to furnish it again; on the other hand, I want it to look cute and I want matching furniture, etc. And I spend so much money on stuff that I had been depriving myself of for 2 years before I left to travel – or rebuying stuff that I sold or gave away that now I feel like I really need!

    Anyway, hang in there! And just keep your eye on the prize – more travel!
    Katie recently posted..My Love Affair with Tennis

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Thanks Katie, I remember reading your post on how travel didn’t change anything. I actually thought of you when I wrote this post, because I knwo you have struggled too. It’s just not so easy returning home after you have been out there and away for so long. I’m sorry about your welcome back party not going as planned, that’s how I felt when I had my big one at a bar. I was expecting a lot of people and in the end only a few showed up, but I enjoyed the company of the ones who did. As for falling back into bad habits I have not allowed myself to do so since I am trying to save and travel again. If I knew I was going to be staying and living here for good then I am sure I would fall back as well. So that’s a bit different and well you are going to be staying in Chicago so you need to build a comfortable life again and remember their is NOTHING wrong with that. I am happy though I did not sell my furniture when I left. I love it and don’t plan on selling it anytime soon. I kept the things I knew I would need again when I got back so I got lucky I haven’t needed to buy much again. For now I will keep my eye on the prize!!!

  8. Oh Jaime, I know what you mean. You articulated it so beautifully, and so much better than I could have. It helps me at least to remember that I can go. That I could go right now, but that I’ve chosen to wait, and put it off a little longer so that I can make it last longer. I found that the most important thing for me in finding peace at home was to realise that it was a conscious choice.

    That and having a set date of departure 😉

    It definitely is scary how much we fall back into consumer culture. I actually took my car back off my brother when I got home… and then gave back after a couple of months. It didn’t fit in with my adjusted world view. Go you for not succumbing at all. It’s an odd balance, and a delicate one, but you’re still moving forwards, towards that goal 🙂

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Thank you so much Lindsey, I’m glad the post made sense. I honestly just didn’t know how to put it in words and even though I know I left out so many thoughts this captures the majority of what is happening with me right now. The best thing is the fact that I know I can pack up and leave today if I wanted to as well but am not because I want to save more so I can be on the road longer and well that is MY CHOICE. For now I don’t have a set date just a set financial goal I want to reach before heading out again. So in the mean time will try my best to live my life here on my terms like no car or cell and make the most of it.

  9. Jaimito, I enjoyed your post – your writing is very honest and that is so attractive. Even though I haven’t travelled the world extensively.. there are many areas where I can relate. I think you should give some of your family/friends an opportunity to also share how they have changed over the years. With each child, its like a milestone – you are never the person you were before. The sacrifices we make as parents are incredible – sure being in a mundane office is shitty but we do it with gusto because we know that the mortgage will be paid and there is no mystery on when and how much your next check will bring. Stability and loyalty become prized attributes – I wouldn’t trade my life for anything but I do look forward to the opportunity to travel again. The feeling of getting to a new location is so exhilarating!! The experiences you gained on the road will never be lost, its an education that can’t be taught and I’m so excited for all that you have gained from the relationships and friendships you have made on this journey. The human element is in the end the most important isn’t it? I think in your soul you have a womb and in that way I see how you feel sad and lonely. xox Big hugs – come over for a drink or curry if you are in my side of town!!!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Alma seeing your comment brought so much joy to my heart and a huge smile to my face. I’m glad you enjoyed my post and thanks for the compliment on my writing. You are right about giving my family/friends the opportunity to also share how they have changed. I never looked at all that as a milestone in their lives and the truth is that it is one in their lives. They are actually HUGE milestones and the sacrifices y’all have to make to achieve them are not easy either so in the end it’s like we are all the same. I’m making sacrifices to be on the road and y’all to live a life y’all want too. I respect everyone’s choices as long as they are happy. I just wish sometimes people would realize that the way I see things now have forever changed because of my travels and try and be a bit more open to those changes and at the same time maybe learn a thing or two, but anyway. You are right the human element is in the end the most important and that’s what I want to continue to have more of. The womb I have is filled when I am on the road… it’s a joy that it is hard to explain. It’s like I’m doing what I was meant to be doing. Ah well thanks for this comment I miss you and yes I should take you up on your offer of a drink and curry. I miss Indian food so much and so many of my friends don’t like it jaja.

  10. Jaime – Lovely lovely post!

    I’ve tried writing about this same feeling so many times since moving back to Toronto and can’t quite find the right words. I’ve been back for about 10 months and it’s been a series of ups and downs. I’ve only recently come to terms with the enormity of moving home and find happiness when thinking about the future I want to create for myself. Not sure what it looks like yet, but I’m having fun being home while figuring that out. 🙂

    So glad to hear that you like your job and that you’re enjoying your time with your parents. Savour them and before you know it, you’ll be out in the world again doing your thing. 🙂
    Cheryl Howard recently posted..Instagramming … A Bike Tour of Potsdam.

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Thanks so much Cheryl, I was actually so close to not publishing this post. It took me all day to write it and even then I kept rereading it and thinking this is not enough this doesn’t convey everything that I am feeling. In the end though I published it because it does convey a portion of what I am dealing with. What makes me happiest is thinking of the future I want to create for myself and I too have no clue what it looks like yet either, but I know I will continue to live life on my terms. Thanks for the support and I hope to be back out there very soon.

  11. Once again I admire your honesty. I have been home for 2 months now after 2 1/2 years! Some might say I am lucky that home is Maui but to be honest I feel more trapped than ever. Sure I can get on a plane but it is at least a 5 hour flight to California. I wish I had the option of road trips, i wish my boyfriend wasn’t on the other side of the world! I know that this moment of non-nomadic life isn’t permanent but it is so hard. Running into old friends and telling them you just spent 2 + years visiting 40+ countries often leaves them with this blank look. I can’t really explain it maybe it is awe, maybe it is jealously or maybe it is just so comprehensible to them. Whatever it is it makes me feel more alone than I did those days I was alone and lost in a new city. Like you this rant isn’t me being ungrateful for the experiences I have had. In fact I treasure them! This feeling really can only be understood by people like us. One day soon I know we both will be frolicking somewhere new and exciting! Till than chin up & aloha
    Alexandra recently posted..A Box Of Aloha – Maui Style

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Thanks Alexandra, I was actually about to say how lucky home is Maui for you, but I can only imagine when home is paradise and a small island it isn’t a vacation but home. Maui is a tiny island so wow I can only imagine how trapped you feel. I’m sorry you are going through this as well and it doesn’t help you are so isolated with like no cheap flights anywhere. I think you described it pretty well as to how it is when you let friends know what you did the past 2 years and all the places you visited, you just don’t know what they are feeling. Is it jealousy is it envy is it happiness for you? In the end the feelings we are going through can really only be understood by people who have experienced the same and it’s just not easy. I hope we are frolicking somewhere together and think it will be sooner rather than later if we keep our goal in mind!!!

  12. Careful with getting too comfortable. Travel changes you, and untravel changes you right back. Maybe not right away, but stay at home long enough and little sneaky changes will happen, like wanting to get your own stapler and frying pan. SENSIBLE things, which, if you want to travel, are just things you want to get rid of because it’s holding you back from running off again. And you’re right, coming home is the hardest part. No one gets it, and you just want to leave again. Immerse yourself in things you like, and remember the job is basically a pre-trip preparation ritual, of the financial kind.
    OCDemon recently posted..5 awesomely quirky tourist attractions in Poland

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Oh OCD, I am NOT allowing myself to get to comfortable. I am keeping my goal as the #1 priority right now and along the way making the most of my time at home with family and friends. It’s scary though how untravel (is that a word? I love it anyway) really does change you right back if you let it. I have been good at not buying things I don’t need and only buying things I need. I do not want to go through what I went through last time in having to git rid of stuff I no longer need. I think I am going to be a minimalist for life jaja. So for now I will enjoy my pre-trip preparations and make the most of it.

  13. A very compelling and well put together article outlining the part of travelling I think most travellers fear the most. You’re open and honest about everything and it is something to be greatly admired!

    I do think it is one of those things the longer you are away the harder it is when you go back and it results in a lot of people just packing up again and getting back out there. But if the hardest part is returning home than it shows we are doing the right thing by getting away and living out there.

    I wish you all the best of luck whilst at home and when you finally pack up and leave once more I’m sure you will have a blast, there is a lot to be learnt even from the negative aspects!
    Alex recently posted..Ten Reasons Why You Need To Visit Japan

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Thank you very much Alex, I agree after spending so much time out there returning home is just not the same and because you have already prepared for one breakaway it is easy to breakaway again. Of course that is if you make it your priority. Thanks for the luck and great comment I know I will be back on the road before I know it.

  14. This was a very powerful blog post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

    While I haven’t made my RTW trip yet (tentatively planned for 2014), I can relate to some of the things you’re going through. Over the last three years, I’ve made some big and bold changes in my life (for the better). Like you, I am alarmed by the consumerist mindset of the U.S., which is why I shun it and only buy things I absolutely need. People were shocked when I gave up my smartphone for a dumb, pre-paid phone. In fact, I could easily live without a cell phone (and am considering it), so I relate with you on that. Also, most of my friends and family don’t get what I’ve done with my life. I gave up my car to cycle everywhere or walk to my destinations. I don’t watch TV or TV shows anymore or read the news, and they don’t understand why I would do such a thing. Nor do they understand why I gave away or sold 80% of the stuff I once owned. When I talked to a close friend recently, I realized that we just don’t relate the same way anymore. I couldn’t share some of the huge, positive changes I’ve done in my life because we’re just in two very different places in life. I just don’t think my friend would be entirely receptive of some of those changes, so I listened to what was going on in their lives rather than share what’s happening in mine. I felt a bit sad after talking with that friend because we’ve been friends since childhood, but I’ve realized as we grow, sometimes our relationships don’t grow with us.

    I understand what it’s like to feel like an alien in your home environment. So I say keep your head up and continue staying focused on your next travel goals. And enjoy your time with loved ones. You will get through all that you’re going through with time.

    I’ve learned to live my life as I see fit, no matter the disapproval…and I’m pretty sure I will get a lot of that once I announce I’m leaving for Southeast Asia next year.
    Urban Minimalist recently posted..Why I’m Quitting the TV Show Circus

    • Jaime Davila says:

      UM, yes yes YES OMG I believe you are able to relate to some of the things we go through after returning from a RTW trip because you are already making some of the changes we are making now that we are back. Does that make sense? I started becoming a minimalist before my trip RTW to save money, but now that I have seen a portion of the world and how it is I’m now a minimalist because it’s seriously one of the smartest things one can do. Why live in excess when you can live just fine with the things you need and live a happy life as well. Since I have been back I have not bought anything I don’t need or won’t use. I make a conscious decision on everything I buy and make sure it’s something I need. I don’t shop like I used to and since I’ve been back have only gone shopping once since I needed things for my job. As side from that I have also cut back on the amount of TV i watch. I still have my TV there but don’t use it nearly as much and am fine that it’s an almost 10 year flat screen TV. As for cell phone yes I don’t have one but do have an iPod Touch and can only be online when I have WiFi so when im out with friends im normally offline. In the end I’m living life on my terms and am happy some people get me and the ones that dont well that’s their problem not mine. I have my life together and know what I want. So cheers to living life on our terms. It’s hard sometimes but as long as we are happy that is what matters. I’m excited to hear you are heading to SEA next year… it’s an amazing part of the world. Don’t miss the Philippines.

  15. I’m having major issues with this right now. I lived in Korea for 3.5 years, travelled March-August, and I’m now back at home – and also a bit tender after a break-up. It’s especially hard as I only have 1 friend in my hometown – everyone else moved away after high school, and my friends from uni all live in a different city. I can’t even get a job here, as I get rejected for being ‘too qualified’ for retail/hospitality/bar work, and it’s a small town so the businesses are run by people who just give their kids or friends jobs. Sigh. Add to the mix a family who aren’t very supportive and keep going on about what an inconvenience it is having me back (despite my offers of helping with housework and paying rent, both declined), and it’s pretty tough. Part of me just wants to up and leave and go back to Asia.

    I’m sure you’ll have no trouble saving up for your next trip, and remember – Ukraine 😉
    Tom @ Waegook Tom recently posted..Sexy Ukrainian Women… And Their Shoes

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Damn Tom, I didn’t have those type of major issues. I’m sorry… you are having to go through all that along with just dealing with the fact that you are home. The good thing is you have us for support and I mean it. So what are your plans now? I know it’s a question I HATE when I’m asked but I’m curious.

      Oh & Im going to visit Ukraine sooner than later!!!

  16. What a lovely post. I don’t think you are alone. I have been living in Cambodia for two years now, traveling across Asia too, and I visited home once. I love being back with family and meeting friends, but there is always this nagging feeling that I am not interested in their stories about their new baby, and at the same time they are not interested in my stories about trekking to Everest Base Camp. It is strange, but I always feel suffocated when I am back home and can’t wait to leave again. I think the most difficult thing is to explain to people that you like your new lifestyle, and don’t like the old life anymore. Maybe it offends them, because they are living my old lifestyle, but people find it hard to believe that I haven’t been clothes shopping for 8 months and only own 1 plate, 1 cup and cutlery. They always think I am in denial. Who wouldn’t want a car, fancy clothes and a daily Starbucks skinny latte? I certainly don’t and many other world travelers and nomads don’t either. Good luck with saving up for your next trip. Glad I found your blog. 🙂
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Going native – A traditional Khmer photo shoot

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Thank you so much Tammy, it honestly helps a lot to know I am not alone. Everything you mentioned is how I feel sometimes. I do care about the people that are in my life but I can’t relate to them that much any more it and it’s cus I don’t want that life. I at least don’t want it right now. I to haven’t gone shopping or own that many things so its complete oppisite way of life. For now though I am just going to make the most of it while I save to breakaway again. Thats all I can do and be supportive of them as they are of me. Well the ones that are. As for the ones who aren’t it’s like to each their own. I’m glad you found my blog too and thanks for commenting. If you ever need anything let me know!

  17. Hey Jaime! Great post!

    Strangely, I have felt my whole life, like you have described above and yet I have barely travelled (or strayed far from my comfort zone). I have felt like an ‘alien’ in my own country / city, wondering how my peers can be satisfied with such a meaningless existence and whether they are even conscious of the compromises they make every day to continue in their selfish, consumer driven, distraction laden lives!

    I love people like you Jaime! Even though we’ve never met, I feel I know you far better than everyone I interact with on a daily basis combined! Why? Because you (I guess partly through your travels) know yourself better and have learned what truly makes us humans happy… connection!

    I can’t wait for the day we finally cross paths (I’m sure it will happen one day)… Big hugs will ensue!


    • Jaime Davila says:

      Glad you enjoyed the post Peter, and I am sorry to hear you have felt like this your whole life. It’s hard feelings to have and to express. I know what you mean though about the life people lead, but you know what as long as THEY are HAPPY you should be too. You go about living life on your terms and let others do the same. It’s not easy seeing people live life that way but it’s part of life here in the USA. I loved your comment I am glad you feel like you know because that is my goal. I want to make sure people feel like they know me through my writing and blog because it is who I am and write like I speak. I will continue to be honest even if it’s sometimes not a good point of view. I hope our paths do cross one day. Huge hug back.

      • Actually Jaime, I’m NOT “sorry I’ve felt like this my whole life”. It has kind of seemed like I was the only one aware what was going on around me while everyone else (including family) seemed to be in some kind of ‘drugged stupor’ blindly following the status quo.

        My favourite (excuse the non-American spelling) story as a kid was “The Emperor’s New Clothes” because it took a child to point out how adults are so prone to ‘herd mentality’ (Especially when pride is at stake).

        As far as ME being HAPPY as long as THEY are. You are right! And I have. The (somewhat smug) self-awareness I have felt, has been a source of happiness (albeit tempered with pride).

        USA is not immune to that way of life either. Here in Australia, most of my countrymen seem to be consumed with confusing busyness for productivity, consumption, and distraction. It makes it ‘all the more sweeter’ when I encounter people who (like yourself) realise there is more (or is it less?) to life!

        As far as reaching your goal, believe me, you have, my friend! Whenever people ask me why I am embarking on a 1-2 (or more) year trip next year, I always credit you (and your writing) as being instrumental in motivating me to think about the possibility. Your honesty has made me realise that when we trust other people (instead of fearing them as we are often taught to do), amazing things can happen!

        There is no such thing as a “not good point of view”. Differences of opinion (when handled maturely) can only serve to broaden one’s perspective and foster self-growth.

        PS. Thanks for the (huge) hug back. I look forward to returning the favour (again with the non-American spelling) in person one day!

        Warmly, Peter

        • Jaime Davila says:

          Wow I am going to have to watch “The Emperor’s New Clothes” because I had no clue it was about that.

          I’m reading this with joy because I can’t believe you credit me for helping you “BREAKAWAY”. That makes everything I do so worth it.

          Hope our paths cross one day.

  18. As i already wrote on twitter…. i cried. A lot . Because i can totally relate on almost everything you are experiencing, and the things i can not relate to, i can feel them. I was awaiting for this post like…forever. Sometimes i found myself wondering if you forgot about it… You know how much i admire your honesty, and this is by far one of the most touching posts. I don’t want to add more than this, just keep it up and be patient. We will still be here awaiting for you to be out there once again 🙂
    Big big hugs! xx
    kle recently posted..5 Reasons to Visit Sardinia in September-October

    • Jaime Davila says:

      I’m sorry you cried Kle, I know you are going through hard times too, but remember you are on the road living your dreams so make the most of it!!! I’m sorry you can relate to this cus it’s not easy. I know you had been waiting for this post forever it just took me that long to write it. I honestly had no clue how to write it and took me forever and finally just made my self do it. Hope our paths cross one day & yup I’ll be back on the road before I know it. Huge hug back… xo

  19. I understand what you mean about your friends not really wanting to hear your stories. They don’t really understand long term travel so the only thing they can compare it to is a normal vacation, so they’re really just expecting “it was great!” in response to the questions “how was your trip?” I had lunch with some former coworkers when I was back in Atlanta last year and that’s pretty much the extent of our conversation about my trip, and then they went on to catch me up on all the office gossip. Ugh. My situation was a little different than yours since I moved away for a few months before I started traveling, and when I went back to Atlanta it was just for a few weeks before going back to Germany. So the reverse culture shock thing was limited for me, but I did have to deal with actual culture shock in Germany, and somehow starting over again with it when my RTW was over. As for my friends back home, I still keep in touch with my closest friends, and I keep in touch with a few friends I hung out with a lot when I lived there. But the ones that were really more acquaintances or people I saw once a month at ladies poker night or whatever I’ve sort of lost touch with them except for the occasional FB remark. Some friendships don’t last, and it sucks, but I guess that’s just how life is when you go one way and they go another or stay in the same place.

    You know I’m always here for you if you want to talk or vent or need a shoulder to cry on. I hope you’re doing ok and I can’t wait for you to be ready to hit the road again, no matter where that next step takes you!
    Ali recently posted..Using Books as Travel Inspiration

    • Jaime Davila says:

      That’s one of the part that sucks the most Ali, the part where people just don’t wanna hear your stories. It’s like wow… I’d wanna hear it all…lol. With time though I have gotten used to just keeping that part of my life out of the conversations for the sake of just not dealing with people not caring about it. It was exactly how you said just a quick reply and then back to talking about their lives. In the end I know I am happy and living life on my terms so it doesn’t bother me much. I also know that the friends I care about the most are still in my life and am happy they are supportive. Anyway thanks for all the support and I’m happy we’ve stayed in touch through out the years. Still love our friendship so much and um we need to have our paths cross again.

  20. It sounds likle Narnia, two years and people haven’t changed. How weird. I am hoping to leave in two years after I finish school. Right now I am just building websites to bring me in income for that time. I guess you could look on the bright side and think at least you wont be burnt out from travelling the moment you start travelling it will feel fresh again. How much have you got saved up now?

    • Jaime Davila says:

      I never read Narnia Ash, oops maybe I should. You are right about not feeling burnt out when I get back on the road. It will feel fresh again for sure. So far I have saved up about $6,000!!! So I’m almost at my goal and know I can reach it.

  21. I truly enjoyed reading this article. Very honest and full of emotions.
    You going to be back on the road soon! 😉

    All the best of luck.


  22. Great article – thanks for sharing. I definitely relate to a lot of what you mention, especially coming back to the US as one of the hardest parts of travel. We’ve been moving within the US This year and even though we are still traveling, its different – I have a hard time putting it into words, but I feel I have lost a bit of the excitement and edge that I had.

    Good luck saving and traveling :)!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Caroline, it’s so hard to put it into words. It’s like you know what you are thinking and what is going on in your mind but to put them down is difficult. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

  23. I can so understand how you feel about changing and the people around you staying the same but I also want to give you another perspective, since I haven’t read my perspective on any of the travel blogs.

    “The hardest part for me though wasn’t even that it was the fact that after 2 years on the road I was realizing that nothing has changed at home. I was having trouble wrapping my mind around that fact. Yes people got married, purchased home or cars, got new jobs and even had babies, but their ways of life hadn’t changed much.”

    We only know what we know. You traveled for 2 years, saw different things, experienced different cultures, challenged yourself in different ways, and all those things changed you internally. You’re not the way you were before because you don’t think the way you do before. You have a deeper interest in others, a different way of looking at problems, and a different, probably greater, belief in yourself. Then you come back, look around, and everybody looks the same and it’s disappointing. They haven’t changed but you have. But the problem is you’re judging their outsides, by your insides, and they’re coming up short. If I were to look at you today and you 3 years ago, I wouldn’t see the difference because I can’t see growth, maturity, or anything else internal. So when you look at your friends, you can’t see any of that either. Yes, they look the same, but I guarantee you they’re not. That person that got married? They were terrified but they opened their heart to another person and said I can do this. They’ve learned to compromise, to settle arguments, to care about another person as much as themselves. They’ve let go of childish ways – hopefully – and they’re interested in making life better for another. Have they seen a new culture? No. Have they become a new person? Yes. That person with a new baby? They were terrified but they said they could handle it and they’re handling it. They’re sacrificing for a better tomorrow. They’re interested in the future because it affects their child. They feel more love and compassion than they’ve ever felt in their life. They’re different. You just can’t see it.

    When we connect with others on the superficial, we will always feel lonely. We connect at the level of emotion. Fear is fear, whether it’s a new baby or new city. Love is love, whether it’s the old boyfriend from 6 years ago or the new one Egypt. Compassion is compassion, whether it’s the poor people in India or the homeless people downtown. During your travels you had to connect with others at an entirely different level because you didn’t have your cultures in common and that level of intimacy is what kept you happy and sane; that’s the same thing you have to do at home. Stop looking at the culture and look at the people, even if you’ve known them 20 years. They’ve changed. And start telling your stories because it’s not the stories that are important, it’s what they represent. Then listen for that same message when you hear the stories of others. Don’t deprive yourself of that intimacy and that connection just because you speak the language. EVERY culture has something to teach us if we don’t close ourselves off to it.

    That’s just my opinion. Regardless of whether I’m right or wrong, you are one of the most awesome men I’ve never met. Thank you for keeping it real, no matter what. PS I refuse to re-read this so sorry about misspellings or grammatical errors. 🙂

  24. yeah i think that when you go on trip it makes you think how little you really need to be happy! Not been that many places, yet! but theres lots of places i want to go to! And yeah i think its great to be away, with just some clothes in a bag, something to eat and a place to sleep and your sorted! No books cds dvds! lol. yeah i have loads of these at home! I really need to give up buying more dvds! But if i didnt have animals i would be off again! reading about a guy who said, you can have a house or a life! Really made me think!! lol How right he is!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Bernie yes life on the road teaches you that you don’t need much to be happy and it’s something I wish more people realized. I used to buy DVDs so many of them, but now relaize what a waste of money they are. You buy them watch them once maybe 2 or 3 times and that is it. They sit there on a shelf and do nothing for the remainder of your life. So yeah just kick some bad habits save and get on the road. Of course only if that is what you really want!

      • Yeah your right!! Time to stop buying dvds! Like i have with books & cds! Guess next time i think about buying one i need to think how many meals of pad thai i could buy in Chiang Mai for the price! I know i would rather be in CM than watching a dvd!!

        • Jaime Davila says:

          EXACTLY Bernie, when you see it like that you know all the sacrifices you make now will be worth it down the road.

  25. I completely understand how you feel! After living and travelling Europe for 15 months coming home was a bitter sweet. I was happy in one way to see all my old friends and family but sad to leave all my London friends and then amazing life I built for myself there. I had so many conflicting emotions for such a long time after moving “home.” Now that I’m on the road again it’s different. It’s been just over 2 weeks so I’m still getting back into the swing of things but I feel like a part of me is back. The adventure is on and Im so happy to be on it again. I love my friends and family but I just feel so alive while on the road. I’m meetin such amazing people couchsurfing and I can’t wait to see what else this year has in store for me! Just because we wonder, doesn’t mean we’re lost 😉

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Calan, it’s so bittersweet you don’t know how to explain it. It’s like you want the best of both worlds and well that just can’t happen and we know it. I’m happy you are back on the road. I’ll be there soon.

  26. Hey Jaime, a very honest and emotional post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I’ve been a reader of your blog for quite some time now, but first time commenter. I am a week and a bit into my indefinite travels, and its interesting to hear of tales upon arriving back in your home country. I am hoping to keep my travels perpetual. Im just curious as to why you didnt decide to work whilst you were in your first 2 years of adventure?… have you set a date when you think you might reach your new goal of $15k? and when you may leave the US of A? any locations you fancy?

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi jimmy… thank you so much for the comment & reading my blog. Sorry I am just now replying. Congrats on being on the road for indefinite travels. I didn’t want to work because I wanted to just travel for two years. This next trip will be way different, if I can I will work since I will not be saving nearly as much to do the RTW trip. As for my goal I should reach it by March 1st but wont leave until may or june. So I may end up trying to save $20,000. I am not sure. As for where… I am not sure yet!!

  27. Just a few moments ago I was working on a new post, and I saw several drafts of posts post-Australia that I started but could never finish. Even though I shared some of my struggles about my return, there was still so much more I wanted to process and share and it was too difficult to figure out how to do it justice. SO many tears in the first 3-4 months. Every night as soon as my head hit the pillow. Reading your post brought back so many thoughts and feelings I had in the first year and some I still have.

    Save up that money and hit the road again! I’ll be right there with you as soon as we can make a plan and execute it.
    Heather recently posted..Guest Post: Bali’s Best and Most Beautiful Cultural Experiences

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Heather… it is so hard to write about how it feels to be back home after doing something so damn amazing. Even after this post their is still so much I can never explain. I;m sure this post did bring back a flood of feelings and like you said I’m sure some will never leave.

      Hope yall can execute a plan soon to get back out there!!!

  28. Strangely, I can completely relate to how you feel. I remember after I returned from my big 5 month trip, I was totally lost and out of place. I was excited to see friends and family, but felt like I could no longer connect. It is hard to relate to people who have not seen what you have seen, and few will understand what you try to explain. That is part of the problem with long term traveling. It changes you in many ways, some are irreversible.

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Andy, yes the feeling of being out of place is hard to go away. I’ve been home almost 8 months now and I still feel like I can no longer connect. It is hard and sometimes I feel guilty, but realize I can’t. I just have to be me and let things be. I have changed and am not the same perosn anymore.

  29. I read this post last night but was unable to respond because I was sad. It breaks my heart that the reaquaintance with loved ones was so hard but also because of those moments of random cries. Sometimes it’s good to cry because the tears express everything we feel and the words that can’t be spoken. Yet it’s healing to release the tears. I wish I could do something to help ease your experience while your home. You a are an amazing, inspiring, motivating, and influential individual. I wish I had some of those qualities. You’ll soon be back on the road and these blues will be a thing of the past. For now enjoy your family whole you’re here and then breakaway again. Find the place you want to call home. Just remember when you’re with me you are home. I love you Pinky!


    • Jaime Davila says:

      Everything you said warmed my heart. It has been hard at times, but I have also loved the time I’ve spent with the people I do care about. I love you and happy that through all this we still remain the same. I hope are able to hang out soon, because when I am with you I do feel at home.

      Love you Brain.


  30. Jamie,

    I spent a year abroad, teaching English in China for eight months and traveling through Asia for five months. I’ve only been home for three weeks and I’m really struggling to “fit into” this lifestyle. (It would probably be a little bit easier if I could find a job.) There’s something peaceful and relaxing about not having to research places to visit or hostels or transportation costs, but I just feel bored and unchallenged.

    I have so much that I want to tell people about my life abroad. It’s not that I want to brag or be a snob, I just have so much that I want to share. I want people to listen to these experiences and my stories. Maybe it is selfish, but I can’t not feel this way. I’ve changed so much and I feel like people don’t understand how I’ve changed (or maybe even that I’ve changed) because they aren’t listening. And even the people who are listening, they can’t truly understand my experiences because they weren’t there. I suppose a healthy outlet would be my blog, but I can’t figure out where to start.

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for this post. I’m having nearly the same feelings, but I haven’t been able to put them into words.


    • Oops! Jaime*

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Heather I know EXACTLY how you feel and you just said it all so well. I honestly couldn’t have said that better, because that is how I still feel like today. I’m glad you found this post and I’m not glad you can relate to it, because it’s crappy feelings. It’s life though, people won’t understand you unless they’ve done something similar.

  31. Hi Jaime,
    I appreciate your honesty and transparency in this post. As I get ready to embark on an extended international adventure with my boyfriend, so many of those thoughts cloud my thinking regarding the trip back. I studied abroad back in college and I remember EXACTLY how you felt in terms of reverse culture shock, not feeling like anyone understood the transformation that just happened inside of me, as well as no one truly really caring – like deep down caring. It was so much of the same thing, “so what was your favorite city? Favorite food? Now what?”
    I’m now getting so excited to leave but you absolutely got it right when you said leaving is actually easier than coming home.
    Thanks for the reality check! Ha! I hope you are able to get to your goal soon to be able to breakaway again.
    If so, come find us on the road! 🙂

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Anne, oh I know exactly what you are feeling. I still remember the day I took off on my two year trip around the world. I remember being so damn scared, but I knew I was living. Through out the whole trip I always thought I don’t want it to end, but it will. What I can recommend is just not think about it. Seriously fuck it all and enjoy your life to the fullest, you will deal with the hardest part when you get back. So where all are y’all going? Oh man… I am so excited for y’all. I hopefully will be back on the road in June or July so not far away if you think about it.

  32. Thank you very much for this post, I have Bern home a monty, and it has been a hard one. Reading tour post today, is a hold describtions of my feelings. Thanks mate.

    • Jaime Davila says:

      I am sorry you are going through this too Anne. It’s not easy, but hang in there. It does get better with time, but will never be the same.

  33. I feel the same way Jaime! I left my 9-5 job back in 2012 to travel Asia and now I’m back in the U.S. working another 9-5 at a different company. The hard thing is that I’m also in a new part of the U.S. (Louisiana) instead of Maryland where I used to live. My work friends just don’t get me when I talk about living overseas because, well, they never lived overseas. I’ve changed in many ways that no longer make me feel like a true American anymore. Sometimes I actually feel like a foreigner trying to understand a new country again – in the U.S.! It is comfortable to be making a living again but at the same time frustrating that I’m surrounded by people who you can’t share your travel stories with. Honestly, talking about the last Saint’s game or last episode of Game of Thrones doesn’t cut it for me anymore at the dinner table.

    • Jaime Davila says:

      James it’s something sadly you will never understand again. Yes even after time has passed, you have seen and done things otherw ill never do and because of that they will never understand things like you do. It’s something I deal with all the time but have learned to just keep my mouth shut and lets things be. I do me they do them. That’s all we can do. I continue to try and live a better life, by being less wasteful or so on and they think I’m crazy, and will never understand so have let it go. I do what I can to make sure I am living the life I want. Right now i’m at home saving to get back on the road. If I wasn’t going to be traveling soon and for some reason knew I needed to settle down, then I would find a small apartment and live the comfortable simple life I’d love to be living in a big city. Ahh it’s hard to explain but know that i get you.

  34. I can totally relate to this and am glad I found it. Im from the UK but last year I travelled to the US for 4 months to work at a summer camp. A fraction of the time some previous posters have mentioned but still long enough to experience true happiness.
    I loved america and had the time of my life there, meeting (and naively dating) a wonderful american girl while I was there. I knew from the start I didnt want to go back to England but with a temporary visa and a return flight already booked I had no choice. When the end of september came and I was forced to go back to Britain she promised me we could make the long distance work.
    The first few days back home were good but after the pleasantries with family and friends tapered off I quickly became very depressed. I was unemployed and couldnt find a job, despite the fact I have a degree because I was considered overqualified for the service/hospitality/industrial job market that dominated my small town.
    Despite my best efforts the relationship didnt work and we broke up within a month of me being back in England. It was one of my worst heartbreaks yet and combined with my unemployment, lack of friends (as I drifted apart from most of them when I travelled) and approaching British winter, the following months were just about one of the lowest periods in my life.
    I knew I had to escape England and my bleak prospects so decided to do training to teach english overseas. After 9 months of the worst depression I have ever felt, my light at the end finally came. In May 2013, I jumped on a plane to Bangkok hoping to never look back.
    I now still live in Thailand with the best job I have ever had, my own apartment and the most amazing Thai fiance. We both work together at the same school and plan to spend the rest of our lives together.
    My advice for anybody stuck in the bleak but misunderstood cycle of post-travel blues is to stick it through and believe that it will get better. Keep optimism and always plan your next getaway because you never know what might happen. No matter how bad your situation, the only person in charge of your dreams is yourself. Aslong as you dont give up on that, it will pass. Peace and love to all

  35. Hey Jaime, thanks so much for sharing… I googled this topic because I was feeling the way you were and your post comforted me a lot. It sounds like you’re processing all the feelings in a healthy way by putting them into writing and sharing it– best thing you could do I think! The most difficult part for me about coming home was losing the new ‘me’ that I had created and that now I didn’t have. I felt like when I came home reality took the form of family dysfunction, loneliness, social pressure about jobs… and my role in that also came back. Looking back I was lucky I found a job and made some new friends pretty quickly. But it was such a slam to the face. I tried to get away but ultimately had to stay, and 1.5 years later, I must say I feel much better. I was forced to face all those demons that home were for me, and that has made me a stronger person, although it was not easy. Travel breaks people open in such a profound way, and there are good sides and bad, I guess!
    Good luck with everything, and thanks again for your post…

  36. Great post Jaime! I returned from my 18-month RTW in September and it’s been so difficult. We’ve changed at our very core and most people don’t really want to know about it! What we did was huge! It was amazing, scary, fun, bewildering, enlightening, life changing! I knew coming back from a 38-country backpack adventure would be tough but i wasn’t prepared for just how tough it’s been. Life in the U.S. is just DULL compared to all of the wacky places I visited! It’s so overstated, over the top here. I never noticed that before I left. I can’t watch the news as it’s such hype. I can’t watch tv at all for that matter! Ugh! Forget travel shows…they just make me jealous! I find that all I want to talk about is my trip but I know that that topic gets old for others. I guess i just need to get back to work and forget about my adventure for awhile, save some money so I can take off again asap! What’s wrong witj me? Why can’t I stay in one place? I’m afraid that now that I’ve had a taste of the nomadic life, I will never be able to stay in one place again and that’s a bit of a scary thought and somewhat abnormal I’m afraid! Does anyone else feel that way? Thanks for letting me vent!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Cindy, I feel like that all the time. I’m so sorry you can relate to me because it’s not an amazing feeling. For now we just have to do what we need to do to be back on the road, or to make sure we are happy. Life is but one so we must make the most of it. I’m glad you vented it always helps to know you are not alone and trust me you are not… many of us out there are just as messed up after travel…lol.

  37. Jessica Gallagher says:

    I have been home just 2 weeks after living in Melbourne & Sydney in Australia for 9 months and I’m really struggling coming to terms with being home. As much as I love being around friends and family again, I’ve had to go back to my old job because I’m in a finical crisis (although my memories are worth being broke for). I do want to go travelling again when I have some money, but I don’t ever want to have to start again from scratch like this because it’s horrendous. I’m thinking of studying a diploma in animal care first (only lasts a year) then hopefully find my dream job abroad somewhere… Thank you so much for this post, it has cheered me up a lot !

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Jessica, I am happy this blog post was able to cheer you up a bit. Trust me coming home after being away is hard. It’s one of the hardest things I have ever done. You will get back in the swing of thing though but when you do always keep in mind who you are and what you want. As for starting from scratch… I know what you mean. I thankfully didn’t have much trouble in that part because I serioulsy got lucky when I got home and was able to get a job ASAP and it wasn’t even planned.

      • Jessica Gallagher says:

        I luckily managed to get my old job back and I’m trying to amend my severely damaged overdraft! Sometimes I feel so out of place and miss the life I lived in Australia it makes me feel physically nauseous (sorry for being dramatic). At the moment I can’t decide whether to go back to college to do a course in animal care (as i’ve always wanted to work with animals but decided to do my degree in English & Creative Writing – as that’s what I was good at in school) or to look for a completely new job in Liverpool (even if its something I don’t want to make a career out of) because I miss the sense of freedom/ being independent so much. Right now I’m living with my parents again, and I cant afford a car yet, and as much as I like the security it brings & I have a great relationship with my family – I crave an adventure and being able to go where I want / do what I want without justification to anyone. Anyway, thanks again for this post and your reply! 🙂

        • Jaime Davila says:

          Jessica, be sure you follow your heart. Seriously… we only have one life to live so live it on your terms. I always think that when you do follow your heart things just fall into place and everything works out in the end. Just take it one day at a time and you’ll be back on your feet and living the way you want before you know it. Oh & you’re not being dramatic at all… it’s the reality of being back home after travel. It does make you physically nauseous sometimes.

  38. I don’t know you at all but ran across your post as I’m dealing with the thoughts of returning from two years traveling in Europe and one part of yours really struck me as true–

    ” realized early on that people really have no interest in what I experienced around the world and were just happy to have me back home safe. I realized peoples biggest concern was, what I was going to do now that I was home?”

    This is more true than I can say! I mean the first day I was back with my family at dinner we were just talking about normal things they have been up to, work and the like. It’s like they didn’t even care about the sunrise I saw in Prague after getting lost all night or the concentration camps I went to in Poland or the family I made in France. Friends don’t even ask me about it. The only people that seem interested/impressed by traveling are strangers who are surprised when I say that’s what I’ve been up to. It’s a strange feeling to try to suppress your feelings so that you can be what they expect- which is exactly who you were when you left, only that’s harder than they realize! take care

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Alicia, I was nodding my head the entire time I read your comment. I agree with everything you just mentioned. That’s what it is and it’s so hard for others to understand you at all and when you do talk about your feelings they think you are crazy anyway. So while you are home you enjoy the quick talks you do have about with complete strangers and go on with trying to most of being back at home. Good luck as you continue to go through being back at home. It’s been almost 14 months since I’ve been home and still deal with it. Thankfully I am leaving in July and will be where I wanna be on the road.

  39. S. Storm says:

    Travel is a humbling, mind blowing and life altering experience and I wish everyone had the opportunity to get out there and see the world. There is no doubt that U.S. culture is materialist, self-focused and distracted. However, it seems the very epitome of a “first world problem” to have to endure the pain of returning home to folks who don’t understand exactly what you have experienced and learned. This post does not seem to acknowledge that there are many ways that one can examine their culture, challenge themselves, change and grow. It is a place of significant privilege to be able to “break away” and leave one’s life repeatedly. Sure, there is economic privilege that travel entails, but also physical ability and family situation. I have not been able to travel for years because I am a caretaker for a family member and have disabilities myself that would make travel challenging. This does not mean that I am unable to challenge societal norms or change and grow as a person. It is actually much easier to leave and surround yourself with a new environment that supplies an emotionally stimulating experience than it is to find meaning and purpose in your everyday life. I think if you tried to connect with others at a deeper level, perhaps through engaging in service or finding work that you are passionate about, you would have a different experience. Hope that you enjoy your travels and continue your learning and self-discovery while on the road and at home.

  40. When I first got home after being on the road for a year and a half… It lasted 9 days before I was outta there again!
    Elliott recently posted..Another view on coming home

  41. Great post. It has been a year since you wrote this. Do you still feel the same way? Have you saved up enough money to take off again or are you comfortable in the daily routine? I’m thinking about cutting loose and traveling for a year.

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Pat, the truth is not so much… with time you get better and the part of your life that this was just fades into the background of your current life. It turns into white noise… you hear it, but doesn’t really do anything. I don’t know if that made sense or not. But yeah in the end though parts of you are changed that you just can’t change back and you will always see things differenty and it’s part of the beauty and sometimes people won’t understand why you do the things you do, but you just do. It’s scary how easy you get back into the routine of life at home. The good thing is I knew I wanted to travel again so YUP I AM BACK ON THE ROAD!!! I worked like crazy, saved like crazy and took off on 1/1/15 and will be on the road about 2 years! If you want to do something like this I’d say GO FOR IT!!! It’s something you will never regret. If you need help or have any questions let me know I’d be more than happy to help if I can.

  42. Wow Jaime thank you so much for this post, beautifully written and exactly what i needed to hear, that its not just me experiencing this. Ive been back home for a month now, im stuck here till May because of my sisters wedding and various other family stuff, so i told myself just knuckle down and save money for May, when im going to Canada for the year. Ive just gotten back from 2.5 years travelling and im struggling so much, just split up with my American Girlfriend (shes from amarillo) of 2 years and every day after work, all my old friends are at uni, so im so bored i just imagine what shes doing, and just stare at the wall. Even when i do go meet my old friends, like you said, they just dont care, and we’ve nothing in common anymore. Gotta find some new people but i live in such a small town. Not good right now, only the thought of Canada and getting back to travelling and meeting new and awesome people again is keeping me going. Hope your travelling plans have worked out ok!!?

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Charlie, sorry to hear about you and your girlfriend. I’m glad though this post was able to help you a bit. You’re not alone it’s not easy for anyone coming home from the road. It’s just such a whole different world… a world, most people will never experience and to do so is a privilege. I am sorry I am replying to this few months later… I hope you are doing better now and hang on there. I know it’s tough waiting for more travel, but the sacrifices are worth it. I was back home almost two years before taking off again and oh it was worth it. My plans are now working out great… I just started my 2nd trip around the world and well who know what is to come.

  43. Oh my gosh, thank you so much for this post. Our stories seem so very similar. I’ve also just returned from a year and a half of traveling, a year of which I spent with the person I thought would be my husband one day. So, one massively broken heart later I am back in Canada, not knowing what to do or where to go. My days are full of people asking “what’s your plan?” or “what are you going to do now that you’re back in *reality*”. Truthfully, I have absolutely no idea!

    I’m also struggling to come to terms with the fact that the people who were once my best friends, and the people I was most excited to see, I now have very little in common with. I have changed so much this past year and a half, and I really didn’t realize it until I came home and nothing was really that different from when I left.

    This post made me feel SO MUCH BETTER, like I’m not completely crazy or depressed for no reason. It’s comforting to know that this is “normal”. Again… thank you.

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Shari, sorry for the late reply and I am sorry about your broken heart and I’m sorry you are struggling back home. I will tell you this… it does get better with time. You slowly go back into the swing of life at home and get a routine and slowly just go back to how it was before. I know that sounds insane, but it’s the truth. It’s hard though and takes time, but it is what it is. In the end though you will never be the same person and only you know that and you learn to just be and let things be. You’re not crazy… or depressed, it’s just natural. As for feeling normal again eh sometimes you will and sometimes you won’t. I’m glad this helped you and I hope my reply made sense. If you ever just need to chat send me an email and I’ll be more than happy to listen.

  44. Dear Jamie.,
    My husband cry when he reads you post. He is not that type of person but we just came back from 5 years abroad , canadian was living in Switzerland. We decide I think to came back for wrong reasons. Be closer to the family and being more with friends. Worng. We just actually live a real clash like you mentioned. But the thing is now too late. We have 2 kids involved and asked them to change their own life. Thx to putting words on feeling that we experience and so hard to describe. Time will tell us what to do or not. But no one’s except people who live that could just try to understand our feelings and expectations in lifestyle and future. Again thank for sharing your story and we hope future will tell us the right place to be. Karine

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Karen, sorry for the late reply. I am sorry I made your husband cry. I can’t imagine what it feels like after coming home from 5 years away. All I could tell you Karen is that it does get better with time. Sadly though people will never understand what you experienced, but it’s a part of you from now and it is what it is. You try to just be yourself and try to slowly fit back into a society you weren’t a part of for so long. It’s hard, but possible and in the end like you mentioned time will tell you what to do. For now let it be and do your best to make the most of it and if still nothing just save for your next big adventure.

  45. Thank you soon much for this post. I feel the struggle everyday. I had spent 3 years abroad in different countries, in mainly in spain and in mexico. And I feel so much of your pain. Its been a year and half since I’ve been back(minus a month and a half spent in africa 6 mos ago) and im still not the same. It has been incredibly difficult just tokeep things in my head straight and my emotions in check. I still cry sometimes.. I can’t connect with my freinds or my family because if I try to talk about my thoughts or the feelings that I have people dismiss it and think im just spoiled bc I got to travel. I’ve officially traded in dealing with lifes problems over tea and just talking and hugging it out, to my freinds texting me there too busy to talk. Or basically telling me to suck it up. Ive made it through the stage of not having or wanting a cell phone or car, thank goodness I made it through that. But I am still in a stage of not being able to find steady work. Ive owned my own business for years and then traveled, so basically that scares a lot of people. I hope it gets better and most days I smile and tell myself it will. But some days its just hard.

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Hi Lindsey, I’m sorry to hear you are going through this too. Ugh I know it’s not easy, but it does get better with time. I know it sound cliche, but keep following your heart and things will fall into place. I know everything you are going through and can relate, but I am glad I kept following my heart and doing things on my terms, because it just happened to work out. As for friends and what not you just learn to not talk about your life and I know that sounds horrible, but you don’t cus they will never relate or know what you are feeling and just look at you like nothing should be wrong. I remember just crying so many times… while I was working or at home in bed… it just happens and wwhen it does just let it happen.

  46. Very nice post. In 2011 I got fired from my job in Michigan. This was actually the best thing that ever happened to me. I’d always wanted to travel the world but having such a good job kept me from taking that leap. After getting fired though I had nothing to lose so I applied for a passport and moved into my grandparents house. By the time my passport arrived I’d already found a prospective employer in China so that’s where I went and ended up staying for the next two years. When my second contract in China was up I decided to go to SE Asia where I would spend the next four months traveling back and fourth between Cambodia and Vietnam. I’d originally planned to get a job and settle down in one of the two countries but my plans were cut short due to a family emergency back in the States. I’ll always remember the sadness I felt on the return trip. It hit me like a ton of bricks and it was so unexpected. What made it so much worse was the fact that it was late November and I was coming back “home” from tropical Cambodia. For the first week I was so depressed. My grandparents didn’t understand why I was so gloomy or why I would take two long baths every day. I told them why but there was no way they could have really understood. I stayed in Tennessee with my grandparents for three and a half months before finally making my way back to China again. Now I’ve been back abroad for almost a year. My contract will be finished at the end of March. On March 30th I’ll be on a plane back to Phnom Penh to start a new life. I can’t wait. I’ll have a little more than $8,500. First I’m gonna vacation around the country for about six months then I’m gonna pick a city to settle into for a year or few. I can’t wait!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      James… wow your story sounds so damn interesting. I love everything that you have done and are able to do. Sorry about the emergency that sent you back home, but as you probably know everything happens for a reason. I know the feeling of people not understanding you, but you deal with it and go with the flow. SO continue going with the flow of life and let things be and it will all just work out. You will be able to make that money last while you are in Cambodia… its so cheap. I loved Phnom Penh.

  47. Laura Bernadó says:

    Thanks for the good read, and thanks everybody who shares their experiences online. I found myself seeking for moral support on sites like this one.
    I moved out of Spain 8 years ago, built a new life in another country, in Europe and in a european lifestyle. I love traveling and at some point I had an “inner call” and decided to leave for 4 months, backpacking. After that, it was planned that I would move with my boyfriend to another country and re-start the game again… but after 2 months, life changed completely and I ended up staying 6 months in south east asia, discovering what life was about… I came back “home” to quit job, pack all my stuff, sadly give away two cats I spent half of my life with and, I admit, with fear leave to Asia again without really knowing what I was looking for. In the beginnig I told everyone I was searching for my place in the world, I wanted to do something meaningful with my life for those super friendly people in SE-Asia, but after very short time, my focus changed and started getting something FROM them, instead of giving something TO them. I realized how crazy life is in our so-called first world societies, how much we forget about ourselves, about life in general, about nature, about being happy… During my learning-journey I met incredible people, I experienced unbelivable things, I felt the electricity on my skin, I discovered what happiness and what sadness was… I think I just tasted life. But, all people who travel know that there is something within you that tells you to stop at some point, when freedom becomes tyring and when having so much choice in front of you is perceived as a problem, more than opportunity. Having to decide everyday where to move to, where to sleep, what to eat… realizing that most of the people come and go and you never reach the point where you deeply share experiences with people you will meet again (or sometimes you meet them again but it’s not the same), meeting new cultures and knowing there will always be a threshold you cannot overcome in communication… well… missing also little easy-life pleasures, like having more than 3 t-shirts to choose from, having your own bedsheets, hanging your clothes in a closet… well… when all those things came together in one of the dips of the energetic rollercoaster of my second journey in Asia, then it’s when I decided, after 11 months snail-style carrying my belongings on my bag, to make a little break, go “home” in Europe (first Spain, then Austria, where I spent the last 6 years before I departured for Asia) and get back to my friends and familiy (who I was feeling I was losing… the more I experienced, the less connected I was to those who stay… and puting on a scale those year-earned relationships together with my individual experience and the short-term super intense relationships, ending up being mostly FB-relationships afterwards…, I decided to invest a bit more on the long-term ones, supposedly long term… I booked a flight and decided to enjoy the last month in Asia before flying to Europe.
    Interestingly after a couple of days since I booked the ticket, I started regreting, but anyway, I was flying “home” and I wanted to enjoy the last period of this traveling phase, and I did so…
    Back in Barcelona I fell in love with the city I used to live 8 years ago. It felt great not having to “fight” everyday to be understood, I felt completely integrated at all levels and, wow, after an overall 18 months of Asian experience that was a good welcome! I wasn’t really searching for any job, I just wanted to recover a bit and continue my world-discovery journey in south america, but an apparently great opportunity fell right in front of me, and I accepted a 3 months contract.
    I was really happy in the beginning… I did a little bit more traveling in Morocco and the day after I landed in Barcelona for the second time, I was dressing to go to my new job. I was really excited! A job I used to dream of 2 years ago when I first left for Asia… now… after 2 months here I don’t feel the same.
    One full year of not having a daily rutine, after enjoying every single second of my life, after giving attention to myself, and consequently to others (I also did some volunteering when traveling), here I feel trapped, I feel I am wasting my life, my time, I am getting physically sick, stressed, I am becoming a dark and negative person, I stopped enjoying life, I stopped listening to myself, to the people around me, and to the world. I spend more time in front of screens (computer/telephone) than in front of people, I forgot all the things I learned the last months and I lost all energy for great projects I had in mind when I came back here. I do not fit with anyone, people changes a lot in 2 years, or I correct… I changed a lot in 2 years. I have the feeling no one can understand me. They all say: “welcome to reality”, I say that’s rubbish! what is reality? reality is feeling the blood going through your body, whatever you do, wherever you do it… and this stopped! I am having digestion problems, I stopped all my daily practices and attentions I gave to nature, I started eating fast-food “polluting” my body and therefore my mind… and my mind goes at heart-rate from black to white and then back to black, I want to stay, I want to leave, I want to work, I want to quit, I want to start growing roots, I want to cut with everything, I want to get involved in a relationship, I want to be completely free… and this going back and forth mentally is even more tyring than all the things I found tyring when traveling.
    And well… social interaction is being difficult too… listening to people’s conversational topics is killing me, I find myself involved in conversations where I know I have to play a role and be completely fake to be able to be somehow integrated. I don’t want to say that I stopped learning from people, because I know that at some point I will be able to get something back from this experience… but it’s hard… and I check for planes everyday… Recently someone asked me for travel advice, ” I want to do something like what you did, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to”, I haven’t replied yet, but I am more and more convinced that the right answer to that will be “don’t be afraid of traveling, be afraid of coming back, if you are happy and fully satisfied with your current life, do not leave, because you won’t come back to the same thing again”.
    I admit, I’ve been pretty negative here, but I guess we all end up emptying our minds when we don’t feel well, and searching for posts online talking about the difficulties coming back from a long and life-changing journey is only a sign that something is not right… I am extremely thankful for having experienced absolutely everything I have in the last 2 years, but at the same time I feel tremendoulsy sad and “home-sick”, funny term for describing it…
    I am thinking of getting involved in local initiatives for immigrant integration in the city such that I keep a vague contact with the exotic flair of the travel, that’s at the moment the only way I think might help to cope with this weird feeling.

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Wow Laura I don’t even know where to begin. I honestly love everything about your comment because it’s 100% true. Literally everything you mentioned and are going through and are feeling I went through when I first got back home. It was so nice at first to be home, to have my own closet, to have more than a few things to wear, to have my own bed again, to have privacy and my own room once more. The novelty of it went away quickly. I realized like you did that I changed a lot. The way I see the world now is not the way I saw it when I first left. I realized how conditioned we are home to live a life of momentary happiness. We are conditioned to believe that buying something or eating something or treating yourself to things will make you happy. When in reality it’s not. I realized that long ago and when that is not what satisfies you it makes it so difficult to be at home. Life at home is always about the next event, everyone is always busy and that too is just draining. When on the road life is about enjoying the moment you are in and making the most of it. You are constantly doing & seeing new things and learning so much about yourself and the world around you. It’s just so different and for people who have never done something like this is hard for them to understand. I learned early on I just had to let things be. Lucky for me I know I was back home for a year or two before getting back on the road. That helped a lot. So what I did was just enjoy the small moments I shared with my friends and family because after 2 years away I too felt like I was losing them. When I first got back it was hard to relate to each other but with time I got back into the routine of life at home and just learned to enjoy it. I told myself I will be leaving soon so wanna spend as much time as I can with friends and family. Even if you don’t know if you are leaving again you should do the same, because in the end you or them can leave to the other side any day too. So it comes back to enjoying every moment to it’s fullest. You have to just make the most of your current situation. If even knowing that you are not happy then yes it’s time for change and follow your heart and go back out there. I know eventually I want to settle down. I have no clue where or when but I know I don’t want this nomadic life for ever. I think thats why I do the 2 year trip go home save and 2 years again. It gives me a balance of both a life at home and one on the road with out really losing either of them. BEcause in the end traveling gets exhausting too and we get tired of having to do it all and firgure everything out that in kinda turns into a routine too. So i think just the right balance of both is perfect. I hope this comment makes sense because by now I think I have just blabbered on and have no clue if it does or doesnt. Like i always tell people life is too short to not be happy or live it to the fullest so be sure you do. It’s okay to not know what you want. I honestly think no one knows what they want… but thats just me. I don’t know what I want either. Right now I want travel and I know I also want my ex in Cairo and I know I also want my friends and family in houston. I will figure out a way to have them when the time is right. For now what I want most is travel & am doing just that while I can. I know I will eventually go back to Cairo and see what happens there and then back to houston… so all with time. Anyway hope this helps. You can reply back and I of course will reply when I get a chance. Thanks for reading the blog and glad it could help even if just a little.

  48. Really awesome post! I’ve just returned home from cycling halfway around the world. I’m only home temporarily during winter before I get back out there next year but I am experiencing the exact same emotions. It is made easier by knowing that I will be back out there in 5 months… but only slightly!

    I am trying to write my own blog post, but can’t put it anywhere near as neatly as you did. You summed it up perfectly!
    Josiah Skeats recently posted..A very difficult final two weeks!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Oh it helps so much when you know you will be back out on the road soon. It’s a peace of mine… knowning you are working for an end goal that you know will be worth all the sacrificing. It took me 6 months to finally write this… it will come to you when it comes to you. I will tell ya this make the most of the time you have at home with your loved ones cus that’s what I miss most on the road… well that and hot sauce.

  49. This is an incredible post and so raw and true. Thank you for sharing your feelings! I have found so many posts saying that you should go and travel and it will be the best part of your life, but no one ever really mentions how hard it is to go back home and feel out of touch with everything.

    Thanks again for sharing!

    • Jaime Davila says:

      Agree Akid… it’s something no one really mentions. I hope this helped ya a bit if you are in similar situation.

  50. I wrote a similar article after backpacking Southeast Asia for six months. How do you re-assimilate into a world that you no longer belong to? The travel bug gets you, infects your blood, and instills a lifelong restlessness where the only cure is to keep traveling.

    For me, I didn’t know how to tell people how much I’ve changed and what I experienced. People ask how your trip was but it’s not just some vacation. Travel like this becomes such a big part of you- it shows you who you are. My friends who have never traveled like I did could never understand. I came back after 6 months and they were living the same life, going to the same bars, doing exactly what we did in college.

    I was depressed for over a month when I got back to the US. That depression turned into an itch, then a flaming desire to get the hell out of here. I’m currently planning on moving to Thailand at the end of the year

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