As I write this, I'm on a train in the U.K. from the Lake District to London. The countryside is whizzing past my window and I'm thinking about my past month spent in England.
Catching up with friends and family after time spent overseas is always a pleasure. It's something I've been fortunate enough to experience multiple times over the years, particularly in the early days when I came back to England after a year of backpacking in Canada and then Australia. It was a time filled with wonderment, memories, and the excitement of coming back to all that is old and familiar.
What I've noticed over the years are the common themes that reoccur anytime we return from our travels.
Here are 11 of them.
1. You're a Different Person
You've changed. You feel it. You see it. Other people notice there's something "different" about you. You've seen more of the world, it's changed your perspective and you won't go back.
2. You're a Hot Commodity
Remember that guy you used to work with? The woman you used to talk to in yoga class? Your friend from junior high? Yep, they may have barely given you the time of day when you were here, but now you're back from your year in the wilderness and they want to see you -- preferably yesterday -- and hear all about it.
3. Your Travel Stories Don't Land
"We sailed the Whitsundays!" Nothing. "We went whitewater rafting in the Rockie Mountains!" Nada. "I swam with dolphins on the Gold Coast, it was a dream come true!" Nope. Your stories understandably fill you with excitement, but are sadly met with blank stares indicating people are less-than-riveted. Bummer.
4. You Get Bored Easily
You think about getting a steady 9-to-5. Your eyes glaze over.
5. You Have an "Accent"
"Ooh you really have picked up a twang!" You haven't, not really. But the way you communicate has changed. Perhaps you're using Canadian lingo or Australian slang. And you're promptly told you have an accent (admittedly, this one might be just me).
6. Everything Has Changed. Nothing Has Changed.
You missed your best friend's wedding and the birth of their first child. On the other hand, some of your friends are still sat in the same seat in the same bar ordering the same round of drinks. It's like everything has changed but everything is the same. It's a peculiar feeling. You wonder if you're in The Matrix.
7. You Smile Like a Loon at Your Travel Photos
Memories... light the corners of my mind... misty water-coloured memories... Seriously though. Those were some good times.
8. Your Parents' Fridge is a Wonderland
"You mean I can eat anything in here? Seriously?" No more free shelves in the hostel or 10 cent noodles for you, buddy! It's cheeseboards, thick sandwiches on fresh baked bread and endless tea from here on in!
9. Old and Familiar Things Look... Different
You have seen your childhood home a thousand times before, but seeing it again after a year away seems new somehow. Nothing is the house has changed. But you have changed. And now things look different.
10. You Have a Sofa to Crash on in Approximately 10 countries
Where are you going? Oh, just Berlin. You met a really cool group of people from there when you were in Jasper and they said there's a spare room with your name on it. No biggie.
11. You Start Planning Your Next Trip
Rio 2016, anyone...?
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