I’ve been back in the UK for just over six weeks now, and let me tell you adjusting back to ‘real life’ after five months on the road in South America has been pretty tough. Although, we haven’t exactly returned to our usual routine: Instead of going back to our old jobs, Sam and I spent the first two weeks visiting friends and family across the country, went to his cousin’s wedding, then headed up to the Lake District for a spot of housesitting via Trustedhousesitters.
There have been lots of great things about coming home, with seeing my amazing family top of the list, but there have been quite a few downs, too. I miss travelling and I’m sad to have left a continent I fell so head over heels in love with. About two weeks ago, I suffered a massive crash and found myself feeling fairly depressed. For a lot of the time, I was apathetic and unmotivated, and the on-off feelings of general sadness lasted until just a couple of days ago. I think it’s one of the side effects of coming back from a long trip.
I’ve managed to turn that around now with some positive thinking, which took serious hard work, and some new projects to give me something to channel my energies into. But I wanted to share with you my experience of coming home from a long trip, and how I’m dealing with being back.
Focusing on the positives
Before we left Rio, I was feeling pretty reluctant to go. But Sam and I talked it though and we found plenty to look forward to. Some things were as simple as not having to share a dorm room with eight other people anymore, or being able to dye my hair again without sun and sea destroying it.
Of course, I was excited to see my family again, which is enormous and truly wonderful – if slightly crazy. I was especially excited to meet my new nephew, who was due not long after we got back. He was born last week and is totally gorgeous – the best reason to come home to the UK.
Keeping on travelling
We weren’t ready to let go of being on the road completely just yet, so we’ve made a point of travelling in our own country to keep the experience going. In the past few weeks I’ve been from London, to Guildford, to Chelmsford, to Southampton, to Weymouth, to the Lake District, back to London and finally to Winchester where I’ll be for three weeks. When we visited my dad in Weymouth, we turned my familiar home town into a holiday destination by exploring as much as possible (in between visiting family of course). We squeezed a whole lot into that week: a trip to the beach – and a swim in the freezing English channel – a visit to The Sealife Centre, a barbecue, dinner at one of my favourite spots in Weymouth, and lots of walks, including a long one from my dad’s house near the beach all the way along the coast to the Smugglers Inn at Osmington Mills.
From there, we headed north to the Lake District and made the most of our two weeks there with lots of hikes, and even a mini adventure in the form of the Go Ape zip-trekking experience at Grizedale Forest (read more here). And now we’re in Winchester for our second Trustedhousesitters assignment taking care of a gorgeous dog, after which we’re headed for Sam’s home of Guernsey for a week. The travels most definitely haven’t stopped!
Celebrating the UK
Since getting back I’ve been making a point of enjoying as much Britishness as I can. It’s silly little things, mostly, but things that are highlights of England for me which I’ve been making a point to notice and enjoy. Roast dinners (which I’ve had dozens of now), the new series of Great British Bake Off , pub lunches, countryside walks, pie, picturesque villages, Percy Pigs from M&S, windy British beaches, Primark and even rainy summers (although how can I not miss sunny Ipanema beach with the weather looking like this?).
Dealing with the negatives
A lot of things which never bothered me before I left, have suddenly become horrors for me since getting back. Like London, especially the busyness and the tube etiquette (or lack of it). Obviously, no one likes the tube during rush hour, and I definitely used to get plenty stressed when I was living there before we left, but back then I didn’t mind the stress, and I even think I thrived on it a little. Now, though, after five months of being fairly relaxed at least most of the time (buying bus tickets doesn’t count), the rush and the crowds seem nothing short of horrendous to me. London in general, with it’s atmosphere of constant misery and moaning, it’s sour-faced commuters adamantly ignoring each other, it’s lack of manners and morals, is now so unappealing to both of us that we’ve decided not to move back, even though that was always the plan and we loved living there before.
It’s hard to deal with the negative things about being back, especially when you’re not particularly fond of your own country, and so far the only method I’ve learnt is to ignore them and focus on the positives.
This week, I started working on a few new ideas for my sister blog, Backpack South America (please, please, please check it out and follow it), and pouring all my energy into pitching and writing freelance articles external to my blogs. I’ve also started attempting to practice yoga, for the first time ever, to see if I can finally teach my mind to chill out a bit!
Having new projects to focus on has really helped me. I’m reluctant to move on from memories of the trip because, of course, it was ridiculously amazing – but if all I think about is how awesome South America was then of course that’s going to make me feel miserable about being back!
Planning the next adventure
It goes without saying, doesn’t it? Planning the next adventure is one of the best ways to deal with the being-back-blues. Looking at flights and brainstorming destination ideas is great fuel for wanderlust and is just plain fun, too! I’m looking at 6-7 weeks from around the beginning of November – provided I can get enough freelance work to make it happen – so if you have any suggestions let me know.
How did you feel coming back to reality after your long trip or RTW ended? Comment here and suffer with me!