You’re on the plane about to go home after your incredible travel journey. You start reminiscing about all the things that you went through and smile. Just like that it’s over.
Exhaustion sweeps over you as you get off the plane. You walk extremely fast to go through immigration but the tourist in front of you has a million boxes of rice noodles and just won’t budge. Finally, you walk out of what feels like a claustrophobic space, (aka, your mind). This is the moment. It’s like a red carpet event and you’re about to make your big entrance. Walking down the departure strip, you scan faces for your loved ones.
“Ah, I swear if they aren’t here, I’m gonna kill them! I said 8:45am!!!” Finally, your eyes meet as you run towards each other .The welcome home balloon gets in the way as you hold on so tight with your face buried in their neck.
That excitement of being home lasts a little while. That’s until you realise that everyone has gotten on with their lives. You show photos and they ask how your trip was, and after that it’s like no one really cares anymore. You’re home, you’re safe and they’re back in their work office waiting to heat up last nights dinner for lunch.
People talk about the culture shock of arriving into a new country, but not many people talk about the culture shock of returning home. It is actually a thing, and closely linked to post holiday depression. The transition can be somewhat strange. You miss your backpacking buds and want to be exploring with them. You think about all the crazy nights and how nothing here at home could ever compare. A part of you almost feels like you don’t belong at home anymore because you’ve left your heart in so many other places.
The thing with going home is that everything is still the same. It’s you who has changed and become a different person. You feel like no one can understand the things you tell them because they weren’t there, but old mate José from Columbia who’s a hundred miles away would completely get it. You then jump on his Facebook and stalk the pictures he’s taken as he continues travelling through.
The adjustment is hard. You don’t want to become a robot stuck in the norms of society, but you need money to get away again and experience these crazy wanderlust things. So, as you heat up last nights dinner for lunch in your office, you think about José from Columbia and smile. You open up SkyScanner and contact him through that annoying Facebook messenger app.
“Hola, José! So I’m thinking South Africa next Summer. Wanna come?”
The culture shock and post holiday depression slowly sinks away as you begin to free fall back into the routine of that everyday life … but never for long ;)