Returning home after long-term traveling can be hard or great, depending on how we decide to live this situation. I know there is a lot of people who travel for months or years at a time and, at some point, they decide (or have) to go back home. The same happened to me.
In May 2019, after almost 9 months traveling around India, Nepal and Sri Lanka as a Digital Nomad, I bought a flight to go back home for summer. I didn’t plan this at all but one day I had a feeling I wanted to go back to my two homes: Istanbul and Artés (Barcelona).
I never felt homesick while I was traveling. Never. I missed some special people, especially sharing time and crazy adventures with them, but I never missed my home. One day, after seeing my grandmother by WhatsApp Video-call I had the feeling if I wasn’t going back this summer, maybe I wouldn’t maybe see her again. That was the moment I decided to go back to Turkey and Spain.
Back to my second home: Istanbul
I feel very lucky to have two places I can consider home. First, I went back to Istanbul to visit my friends and get my stuff back. I was very excited to land once more in this city which has been my home for almost 3 years.
Being back to Istanbul made me very happy. Furthermore, the day of my arrival was perfect: Alexandra, my friend and, ex-roommate, organized a wonderful day for me: a great welcoming “Türk Kahavalti” and a gathering of all my friends to surprise me. It was amazing!
Istanbul I felt really welcomed as all my friends in there offered me a place to crush; I felt super appreciated by them and this is a wonderful feeling! I have the best friends anyone can ask for. I already knew this, but after meeting them again I felt our friendship will be lasting forever. There is some unique connection between the people you meet abroad and now I can totally understand it.
I think I feel more attached to Istanbul than to my hometown, as I have been living there for 3 years. I never felt weird while I was back, I felt very comfortable all the time. I knew I was back home. But, on the other hand, I realized I do not want to live there any longer. That city has become too big for me and nowadays I prefer smaller places to live in.
Back to my hometown after long-term traveling
After 2 weeks in Istanbul, I had my flight back to Barcelona. I was nervous as I didn’t see my family and my hometown friends for a year. I knew things would be almost the same as before I left, but I knew I was not the same person at all.
I already didn’t feel comfortable in my for a very long time, when I left in 2016. Now, in 2019, I was returning home with a very positive mind and feeling much better with myself.
To be honest, the first two weeks were great, but I felt exhausted. I even went to the doctor thinking I had a lack of vitamins… but he told me I was super healthy and I just needed to rest.
Maybe once you get back home, the place of your comfort zone, you allow your body to relax until you get to understand you might have pushed yourself to the limit. Living a nomadic life for over 10 months is exciting but difficult: I was sleeping in trains or buses, sharing rooms in hostels, carrying 15kg on my back (yes, I am a bad backpacker), changing climate every few weeks, dealing with other cultures…
Once I recovered, I could see I wanted to go back to travel and have a nomadic lifestyle again. I guess at some point of my trip I recognized I might need a rest, so this also pushed me to go back to my family house.
Changes on yourself after your travels
Growing up in a village is not the same as growing up in a city. People in small villages (at least in Spain) gather a lot, mostly in cafes or bars. I feel sometimes we do not realize we forget our quality time alone. Personally, traveling helped me to change this habit which, in my case, was making me forget what I really need to be happy and healthy.
Before, I used to feel feel anxious if I was missing any social activity. Now, I do not care anymore. I just listen to myself and when I want to be alone, I am alone. When I want to hang out with people, I call them.
Besides, I could see some childhood friendships have changed a lot. A while ago, I would have felt stressed with this situation. Nowadays I accept it. If a friendship has ended, it is not bad; nothing is permanent, and it is very important to understand we all change so we do not need the same people around us all our lives and I appreciate what I had before and what I have nowadays.
Also, I came to realize that few people are really interested in where I have been or what happened to me during the last few months, so I got used to not explaining things they don’t want to hear. I keep my adventures for myself and I am just happy with that. I just travel for myself so I decided to share my adventures only when people ask honestly.
Another change I can see is I need less things. I do not have the feeling of needing so many objects so as soon as I arrived; I started to sell clothes and objects and I got some extra cash!
How to deal with the routine after long-term traveling
That is a point almost all articles similar to this one talk about. As I already knew I cannot deal with a 9 to 5 working routine, I decided to keep freelancing so I have the freedom to work and travel.
Even before arriving to my village, I already bought a ticket to go to the north of Spain to visit a friend. A one-way flight, once again. Initially, I was planning to be a week in Cantabria and at the moment I am in Euskadi surfing again, so in total I might end up being away over 2 weeks.
I think I do not know how to deal with routine, so I decided to just not have it for a while. I like to live thinking where it will be my next stop and let life surprise me. The feeling of not knowing what will happen next is such a grateful sensation for me that I want to squeeze this life until I feel I have enough and I want to change.
I feel this article is such a mess, as my brain is at the moment but I did my best to try explaining the feelings I had after being back to my two homes. Overall, I can say returning home after long-term traveling is such a big experience to live!