San Gerardo de Rivas Costa Rica

How to Deal with the Shock of Returning Home after a Long Trip


The Being Home Blues.


If you have traveled for weeks or months, or even days, you know what I am talking about.


If you are a full time digital nomad like my wife Kelli and I you know exactly what I am talking about.


I love being home right now. I enjoy New Jersey as much as I enjoy Thailand or Bali or Fiji. But it was not always this way.


After our nearly 2 year long trip through SE Asia some 6 years ago, Kelli and I felt depressed, down and quite shocked to return to our home in the USA. We were a bit disgusted at the weather, the high cost of everything compared to the dirt cheap prices in SE Asia and the overall gloomy mood that seemed to permeate NJ, and the US, compared to the cheery, face-saving ways of Thailand, Bali, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Malaysia.


Fast forward some years. We love our time in NJ. We are excited to return home, even if that means leaving our beloved Chiang Mai or Bali.






Kelli and I follow a few basic tips to enjoy our journeys abroad and to love our home the way it is, whenever we return.


If you feel shocked, depressed, or outright horrified to return to your hometown after a long trip abroad, follow these tips to enjoy your time in your homeland.


Be with Your Feelings


Whatever you resist, persists.


I recall returning home to NJ for the first time after nearly 2 years in SE Asia. The gloom of a dark, rainy, cloudy March day felt depressing. But I tried to keep on a good face. Like a dingbat.


Then I saw my mom for the first time since she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Depressing, as even though she had some wits about her, clearly she had lost some of her memory, some of her energy and she was losing her motor skills as well.


This felt depressing, and even goaded me to grieve the loss of the old Elke, just a little bit, but I fought the feelings.


Sticker shock and other factors got me down…..and I fought the feelings….until I decided that you cannot get over what’s still in you. Or I finally saw that you need to feel your feelings about being home – especially the lower energy fears, anger, resentment, shock, grief, or whatever – in order to clear the energies so you can see things more clearly.


Meditating daily will help you in this regard because sitting with your thoughts and feelings assists you in feeling and processing these energies, so you an feel and dissolve the emotions versus resisting and clinging to these energies.


Feel the pain. Feel the fear. However unpleasant. Then let it go.


Understand the Person Who Left Is Not the Person Returning


I was a different guy 2 years into my world travels.


The guy who had never flown or traveled internationally was sheltered, scared and firmly placed inside of my comfort zone. When I returned to NJ, I was more worldly in that I had seen and experienced quite a bit more than many Americans – who rarely travel the world – so I felt a bit off, out of place and quite uncomfortable being among folks who seemed focused on different things than I.


I almost felt like I had to be the person I was 2 years prior to fit into the persona that my friends and fam had known me as.


I gradually accepted that with each trip, I would change even more. This change was not good or bad; it just was what it was. No big deal. A shift. Some growth. I could be me, and still connect with family and friends. Actually, my bonds have grown even stronger because I have shed many fears and do more from an energy of love and fun, and this vibe has greatly enhanced all of my relationships.


Try Not to Judge Friends and Family


World travelers, please do your best to avoid the oh so common mistake of thinking¬†“I had the balls to see the world and since you lack that courage, I am better than you and your piddly 9-5 problems, family issues, etc, etc, etc.”


This horse shit ego trip paralyzed me for the first few trips back. I eventually realized that hopping a jet and seeing places did not make me better or superior or anything, really, compared to people who do not fly on planes to international lands.


Me by a classic 3 wheel Lankan in Colombo Sri Lanka


Do not judge friends or family or anybody who decides not to travel. Especially if they appear to be terribly tied down by their life, or, if they appear to be highly bigoted, opinionated, narrow-minded, and not too knowledgeable about world events, because they never left their home town.


This is their experience. Leave them be. If anything, by sharing of your travels and not judging folks, you could inspire them to travel or to maybe open up a bit out of their fear-based cocoon, to see the world really is a pretty safe, fun place, outside of their home town and home country.


Accept the Moment


Or at least do a better job of accepting the moment.


Most of our homes are in pretty neat places. Even if your dream home is not in the USA – but your hometown is in the States – you have plenty of blessings in the US to be thankful for, when you breathe deeply and soak up the moment.


I have paved roads here in New Jersey, and an endless supply of pretty much whatever I want. Restaurants, stores, convenience out the ying yang. Not a bad deal. Compared to the jungles around Bribri in Costa Rica a few years ago, where I had to trek through knee deep mud and mountains just to buy groceries for the week.


I also get to drop Arkansas Steamers in a toilet here in NJ; not so with the vile outhouse in the Costa Rican jungle.


Guys, life is pretty dang good wherever you are. But you only see this when you accept the moment and stop trying to be somewhere else.


Being Home Blues


How do you deal with the Being Home Blues?


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If you want to follow my travel experiences check out my Blogging From Paradise Travel Page.