Thoughts On Going “Home”

March 31, 2016

Our time in New Zealand is coming to an end. Some days, it feels like that end is way too far away and others, like today, it seems quite near. In just under one week, our epic journey from China all the way down to New Zealand comes to an end and we begin our travels back “home.”

 

new zealand traveling

New Zealand travels

When we come across NZ locals asking us about our travels here, we tell them that soon we will travel back home. With this always seems to follow with their statement “wow, back to reality then huh?” I never know how to respond because it’s not really like that and I don’t think they would really understand.

 

My reality is what I do every day. It’s not on some version of pause until I go back to where my family is and pick up on my old life. In fact, going back to my home town is a huge source of anxiety because I’m actually leaving my reality and headed straight for the undetermined.
The truth is, even though my family is there, it’s not really my home anymore and I have a lot of work to do to get a life there established again. It’s not the easiest place to set up a life and I will be returning without knowing where I will live or how I will make money.

 

I am heading back to a place where I won’t have a car (in the suburbs no less), a working cell phone, a bedroom, health insurance or any clue how I will integrate and fit back into the lives of my friends and family.
It’s scary as hell actually. More frightening to me than getting off a plane in Vietnam and just figuring it out. I’m nervous about having reverse culture shock ( I mean, I cried out of happiness in an Australian grocery store upon first leaving Asia when I saw the berry and cherry display) and if I will be able to relate to the people I used to spend time with before leaving.

 

drinking water australia

Excited to drink tap water again in Australia

Before I left, I always had my life neatly put together. I was always propelling myself forward and constantly making progress. I had all of my bills paid on time, a handle on my taxes, a completely paid off vehicle, my own apartment and pets. I had everything I needed and was doing everything “right.” Now, I will be returning technically worse off and more dependent than I was as a high school student.

 

I am currently trying to determine if my younger sister can get me a job and if my family members can drive me around until I save enough money to buy a car. It feels a little bit like when you spend hours building an epic sand castle and just when you’ve got a killer moat and an on-suite bathroom for a seashell princess, the tide comes and washes it all away. Do you even have the energy to start over?
I don’t want you to think that I ruined everything I built because I decided to travel. Because, that’s really not the case. Yes, I did sell my car, dropped my health insurance, nearly drained my bank account and put myself into even more debt, but it has been my own fault. A lack of planning, life/work balance and poor financial strategies.

 

Actually, I could fly off to Japan right now, get a high paying teaching job, complimentary apartment, build back up my savings and pay off a lot of my student debt in an exotic place. I could do that if I wanted to. However, it’s been nearly three years and I’ve missed graduations, birthdays, births, weddings, holidays and quality time with the people I care about. So, going home is what I want to do, even if it means starting from the ground up again.
I’m not going “back to reality,” giving up or claiming defeat, I am simply starting on a new adventure, one that involves my family, friends and a new take on planning, finances, career and travel. Maybe part of the reason that I’m going back is to prove to myself that I can leave again. To prove that even when my sandcastle gets washed away, I can build it up even better than the last one.

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6 Comments

  • Reply Jana March 31, 2016 at 3:45 am

    I live out of my country for the third year now and I miss my family, friends and my country a lot – however I’m also afraid of it. What if I get bored? What if the job will not be so interesting? Would my blog died (even I’m not posting so much)?

    But as you said you can prove to yourself that you can leave again one day 🙂 I actually thought of going home just for a year as I do it now – year in Maldives, year or two in Malaysia etc.

    So far it is not time to go back home but rather to NZ, Papua, Bali, Japan, S America, S Africa or whatever place – let’s see where my life takes me next 🙂 However good luck! PS: You can always save for a one way ticket to an exotic country 😉

    • Reply Livesabroad April 1, 2016 at 1:46 am

      As long as you are enjoying your travels, I think you should keep going! Three years is a long time for me and I am finding it difficult to enjoy my trips these days. I need to recharge my travel batteries with a little home time. I am sure you will know when the time is right to visit home too. Thanks for reading!!

      -Shannon

  • Reply Gloria Atanmo March 31, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Love this SO much! Takes a lot to be so open and transparent about your journey. Light and love to you. I know there’s so much more in store xx

    Glo
    http://TheBlogAbroad.com

    • Reply Livesabroad April 1, 2016 at 1:45 am

      Hey thanks for reading! It’s nice to know that people can relate. Much love Glo.

      -Shannon

  • Reply Roger Goppelt May 1, 2016 at 3:18 am

    I lived in Denmark for a year during college. I never regretted it and in retrospect, I learned more from living there than in any courses I ever took. One lesson I learned is that America is not exceptional or even great country. We live in a country driven by fear, lack of awareness of other cultures and countries, and obsessed with money and materialism., We talk about freedom, but have less personal security, freedom, fun, and time for our families than many other countries, As an older person, you may love your job, but in the long run when you retire your work is meaningless and you are not missed., You are easily replaced. Your relationships and the kind acts you have done are all the matter.Keep on traveling. Your next job may bring you some money but it won’t bring you fun, adventure,and life. I enjoyed your posts. Thank you,

    • Reply Livesabroad May 4, 2016 at 3:57 pm

      Hey Roger! Thanks so much for sharing your personal experience. I seriously needed to hear it! I’m glad that you had such a fulfilling experience in Denmark and I totally agree that just being and living in another place is an education within itself. I also totally agree with you about the American culture. It’s hard to realize it when you are in it but man is it eye opening once you travel abroad and see the U.S.A from a different perspective. I hope you have found a balance between adventure and experience and stability!

      -Shannon

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