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Coming home after a spell of location independence – how would you feel?

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For those of us under the spell of making work and travel fit seamlessly together, one key aspect gets hugely overlooked.

We are so focused on visions of future adventures, but what about when we come back home?
 

Pros +

  • Reconnecting
    Nothing can beat a proper face to face catch up or those first welcome home hugs.
  • The novelty
    After a few weeks or months abroad coming home is new and exciting again. It’s another destination but with some great benefits like nights out with old friends and a whole new wardrobe.
  • Culture
    When you fly back to your home country, straight away things feel ‘right’. It’s like putting on an old pair of shoes which are moulded perfectly to your feet; they might not be pretty or even that functional but they are comfortable, familiar and easy. For a little while it can give you a little squeeze of satisfaction to be understood first time, every time, and to know exactly how things work round here.
  • Water!
    Obviously this one depends where you’ve just been, but I get a real kick out of cleaning my teeth without rationing bottled water, or downing a glass of tap fresh water without a second thought.
  • Fitting in
    After being away for however long it’s really easy to slot back in. You slip back into the flow of the life you left behind. For the people around you it quickly seems like you never went away.


 

Cons –

  • The speed
    Coming home is like being caught up in a hurricane. The pace of life is relentless; if going abroad is the eye of the storm, returning is like being tossed right back into funnel.
  • The ‘future’ game
    Back home the prevalent position seems to be one of hoping for a future when things will be better. Yet it remains unclear exactly how this will happen as no one seems to have the energy in the present to do much to facilitate it.
  • ‘State of the world’ attitudes
    I don’t want to clamber onto my soapbox about the destructive nature of media brainwashing, but when you are away it is so much easier to dip out of all that stuff. It doesn’t make it go away, but it makes it less something that you have to internalise and worry about. Things change, situations evolve so switching off to stuff which is negative and pointless can be a good self defence mechanism. What difference will it make to your day to day to have a minute by minute account of how screwed the economy is, other than heap another portion of doom onto the already pretty overburdened plate of gloom?
  • Self-efficacy
    It’s easy to get conditioned into how helpless we are when the messages we hear, the examples we see, the environments we live in are all force feeding us the same thing- we can’t change things. It’s not true. But it’s a hell of a lot harder to remember that when you get comfy back in the place you had good reason to want to get out of for a while.
  • Drive
    In the UK, and maybe elsewhere, people are so driven. Driven to prove themselves, to be better, faster, more productive, harder working. Whether it’s a need for approval from themselves or others it seems relentless and exhausting. And ultimately, this drive will never be satisfied.
  • Spending
    To make all of the above seem better, we need to spend. It’s about things more than experiences. But then we need to make more to spend more. Which is stressful and feeds into the cycle of working stupid hours, just like everyone else does.
  • Not fitting in
    The people around you make different choices to the ones you do. They experience different things, value different things, and sacrifice different things from you. However much underlying affection there may be, there will always be a big part of how you choose to live your life which is very different from everyone at home who you know.

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8 Responses to “Coming home after a spell of location independence – how would you feel?”

  1. We’ve gone through the same thing – it’s great for the first couple of weeks but after that the reverse culture shock sets in and you’re just itching to get away again!

    If you can support the traveling lifestyle, you’ve definitely made the right decision!
    Kieron recently posted..How To Earn Money To Fund Your Ongoing Travels

     
    • Thanks guys, guess the the tricky part is not getting too settled in at home and forgetting why you travel!

       
      • Hannah and Chris
      • Reply
  2. Thank you guys for sharing all this great content. It`s been very helpfull to guide me trough my ‘liberation’ fase of my regular work!

     
    • That’s great to hear Rodrigo, thank you! We’ll look forward to hearing more about your liberation!

       
      • Hannah and Chris
      • Reply
  3. Having lived abroad for over five years now, I think that going back home becomes harder each time. I always expect it to be great, and for a few days it is. But the thing that really affects me is just seeing how much everyone has moved on. Friends move, family move, and you suddenly realize that everyone hasn’t just been waiting for you to make your return.

    I think this has something to do with how long you stay away though. Stay away for years rather than months and sometimes your old home doesn’t really seem like home at all when you return.
    Connor Davies recently posted..Working Overseas: How to Move Into the Cloud and Work from Anywhere

     
    • 5 years, wow! We’re planning to be away for a year on our next trip and I’ve wondered if it will turn out to be just the start and once we get back we won’t properly live here again for any length of time. Your comments suggest its a definite possibility! Thanks for sharing your perspective. H

       
      • Hannah and Chris
      • Reply
  4. We just popped back home for a couple of months, and it’s tough – for all the reasons you mentioned, plus the interminable rain! Obviously that’s a Brit-specific one, but we’d forgotten how oppressive dark, drizzly days can be.

    We’re trying to stay focused on the positives by remembering that we’re just “stopping off” rather than “returning home”, and trying to see our home city through the eyes of travellers instead of falling back into old patterns.

    Being part of a community of location independent types has really helped too, because we’re still being inspired by people instead of just being exposed to the doom-and-gloom and learned helplessness of a lot of people back home.
    Rob recently posted..The questions you’ll be asked when you say you’ve become a digital nomad

     
    • Rob
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    • Hi Rob, wow what a true picture of winter in the UK you paint! I especially like the last bit about ‘learned helplessness’, so many people saying they are ‘lucky to have a job’ when there are so many opportunities out there.

      I think staying in touch with other ‘location independent’ people (or flex-pats!) will definatety help you stay on track, it keeps reminding you of what else is out there. C

       
      • Hannah and Chris
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