My trip ended with one last long journey. I had a flight from Bali to Jakarta, waited 7 hours in the airport, had another flight to Dubai, waited 4 hours in the airport, had one last flight to London, travelled from Heathrow to Paddington, waited 2 hours in the train station, got a train to Taunton, and finally was picked up by my brother and I drove the final 1 hour home. In total it took 40 hours. I did the entire journey on autopilot to be honest, feeling exhausted and sad. When it came to the drive home I took the long way, I’m not sure why. I guess I really wasn’t ready to get back and face the true end of my trip.
I was greeted by my lovely parents, swiftly followed by a cup of tea, some marmite on toast and a selection of treats waiting for me on my bed. It was really great to see them. But my overwhelming emotion was still just mehness, and that worried me. I spent the afternoon floating around the house and feeling lost and antsy. In the evening we went for a swim in the sea. It was cold and although I love a sea swim and have missed the cold water, it didn’t do anything to improve my mood. We had a pint afterwards, my first proper british ale, and still I was sad (as you can tell from the photo!). At this point I’d been awake for 46 hours and that was hitting me and definitely contributing to my down demeanour. I went to sleep and woke up after 14 hours. As I opened my eyes and realised I was at home my stomach sank. With a bit more energy than the previous day, I did the things I’d been unable to do for so long - yoga in the garden on my mat, hugged my cats, cooked normal food, had a cup of tea, wore different clothes to the ones in my backpack. I did some productive things like booking a doctor’s appointment to check out my continuing surf injury and do a parasite test. I went on a walk in the sun, through the woods and then down to the sea and back. I watched tv with my parents, cuddled up on the sofa. I had a homecooked dinner. I still just felt sad.
I really thought after 14.5 months of travelling I’d be ready to come home, that I’d be longing for all of those home comforts. At times, I was so exhausted from the decisions and the responsibility of travelling. I thought I’d get home and immediately be so happy to have all of the things I’d been missing. I did not expect to feel sad when it came to leaving, and I definitely didn’t expect to continue to feel sad once I’d arrived home.
It’s been a few days now and I feel okay. Not exactly happy, but not so desperately sad. The things I’ve missed are starting to make me happier. I’m adjusting to this life compared to travelling. I don’t like the idea that I’m ‘settling back in’ because that suggests everything reverting back to exactly how it was before I left, and I have so much I want to incorporate into my life that wasn’t there before. But I’m adjusting. I have lots of lovely plans for the next few weeks, seeing friends and family and doing the things I love. And then I move up to London and have all of the fun of creating a little life up there again. And then I start my job… So lots of exciting things to keep me occupied!
I wanted to write this post because people would often ask me how I felt about going home, so perhaps it’s of an interest to people. Also, the way I thought I felt about it and how I actually felt about it when it come down to it, was wildly different! Thinking about returning home was something that gave me a little anxiety when I thought about it whilst travelling. People would comment on how strange it would be for me. I would worry about so many different things. Then I booked my flight at the end of May and I felt okay about it all. I gave myself time to process coming home at the surf camp. I thought I’d done a great job and everything would go swimmingly. How it’s actually been has surprised me a lot. It’s been difficult and I think it will continue to be difficult for a little while. It’s hard to voice this to people as well, without it coming across as me hating home and hating seeing them after so long! It’s also hitting me how I’ve got all of these memories and experiences in my head and I will never be able to truly share them with anyone. On one hand that’s kind of wonderful, they’re just mine, but on the other hand I can feel it becoming isolating at times. So, to everyone who asked me how I felt about going home, the answer is very very not okay!