When the honeymoon is over

blurry train window
Toronto, Canada

I am on a 31-hour train ride leaving my home city for my family home in Nova Scotia. It’s the first time in a couple of months I have had nothing to do but sit, take blurry photos out the window and let my thoughts wander.

All I can think about is how coming home to Toronto sucked.

Sure the first few days were exciting. But after the initial hoopla, answering my favourite places and how I felt feel great to be home something terrible happened.

 

A darkness started creeping in.

 

I knew life moved on without me. But I have started to wonder if there’s any room left for me there. I’m not so sure it mattered that I was gone. I don’t know if my friends really cared. I’m not so sure that we were great friends. I spent ten years in Toronto and considered it my home, but now I am not so sure.

 

It feels terribly lonely.

 

I’ve spent a lot of time in tears, realizing that people I thought I would have lifelong friendships with don’t seem to have much time for me anymore. It’s like a mourning period, when you realize your old life is gone.

It is the first time since I left that I wondered if I did the right thing. Should I have left my boyfriend, job, apartment and friends.

In some ways it feels like I gambled and lost.

And now I am in this limbo where I am home only for a short time and then off again. But coming home has confused and depressed me.

I had been warned by other travel bloggers that this would happen. I knew that people had a tough time resettling back into life. But I’m not exactly resettling which is part of the problem.

 

I don’t belong anywhere anymore.

 

And the darkness worries me. I’ve met people who have travelled for years and they are always a bit off. There is something a bit socially inept about them and now I’m starting to realize why.

Traveling solo means you can easily lose that sense of connectedness. When you have lost your old life but are still searching for your new one.

My feelings are still raw about all of this but the good news is that I’m off to Nova Scotia to spend time with my family and for me that is a very good thing. They have always been my biggest supporters and I really need that right now.

I didn’t write this to have a pity party but to share both the highs and lows of my journey – geographically and emotionally. The good news is that I have an amazing family, one that has always been my biggest supporter even when they don’t understand me.

I know this feeling will pass and things will get better but right now it’s just a deep pit of sorrow and I’m swimming in it.

 

 


Comments

  1. says

    I”ve been travelling off and on for 10+ years. Never lived in one place for more than a year.

    It’s hard it’s terribly lonely at times. But in the end it makes us into strong, amazing people. I have no regrets.

    Just find a peace in being who you are. Connect with new people in a new place. Wherever that might be.

    Create a new home!

    Thanks for sharing. It reminds me that I”m not alone in this nomadic struggle to fit in somewhere….

    HUGS!

  2. says

    …feeling for you! i admire all of you travelling so much! even though right now in my life i am choosing to live somewhere i don’t like (suburbs of minneapolis) so my daughter can be by our relatives, i feel like i don’t belong here…as if my spirit is much bigger than what this place is now/any more. i think you have changed so profoundly by opening yourself up with the travelling/not knowing languages, etc/getting comfortable with your awesome self in new environs/i could go on and on :) keep travelling!! travel for me! :) i hope to make one trip abroad this year with my daughter…then i will be at 21 or 22 countries :) thanks for your posts!
    Marina Reede recently posted..I Realized Lately…

    • Ayngelina says

      I do understand how you feel at home, I once felt that as well but at the time could not articulate it.

      So nice you are taking a trip with your daughter. I am really hoping my mother comes out to visit me again this year. It was really nice to share Ecuador with her.

  3. says

    I went through it when I first got back. In fact, I am still going through it and it will be one year in a month. I’d like to say it goes away entirely, but I don’t think it does. Eventually, that pain you feel, that disconnect, the reality of your new reality, starts to ease a little … and you are able to adjust a bit better. It is hard. There is no doubt about it. I have been saying for a long time we should start a travel support group … just something to remind each other that everything works out. Chin up, babe. <3
    dtravelsround recently posted..Photo Essay: Napa Valley

    • Ayngelina says

      I remember reading your posts, they have been helpful for me as I was anticipating the difficulty when I came home.

      But yes we definitely need a support group, lots of wine and tissues :)

  4. says

    Oh no! I’m sorry you’re going through this—I know it well. I wrote a post about it here which may give you some solace “What happens when your once-in-a-lifetime adventure is over?” http://www.fearfuladventurer.com/archives/4572

    I think you DO belong somewhere, just maybe not in the place that you thought you did. Follow whatever it is that gets your heart pumping and you can’t go wrong.
    Torre – Fearful Adventurer recently posted..Why I Don’t Like Ten Year Plans

    • Ayngelina says

      Maybe that is where I went wrong, thinking I belonged where I left off. I think you are right, I should find the new place.

  5. says

    I came back ‘home’ about the same time (about 6 weeks ago) and I’m feeling all the same things. I’ve been meaning to write about it, but I’m the worst blogger so I’m glad you did the work :)

    Sometimes I’ve worried that I might get stuck back here, or that now with little in common with my ‘old friends’, that my travel friends may cease to exist as time goes on, and I’m left unconnected to people. The plan is to leave in 6-8 weeks or so *fingers crossed*

    Good luck to you.
    Dustin Main – Skinny Backpacker recently posted..Antarctic Ice

    • Ayngelina says

      You are not the worst blogger. I am sure if you had been on a 36 hour train ride still sniffling about it all you would have written something too :)

  6. says

    Hi Ayngelina,

    I’m sorry you are feeling this way, it’s tough to go through. I have never really recovered from my first big trip to India, in 2005-2006 – as anyone who knows me can attest. Going on that trip was the best thing I have ever done, though; it re-started my life. And it changed my life. Completely.

    All things must pass. You will integrate your travel experiences, you will go through this “phase,” and come out the other side — not the same person, but a new version of you.

    It’s all part of the cycle of life. Changes happens to people even if they stay still. Probably the most important thing I have learned in life is to let it all flow — and that includes feelings of sadness too.

    Hope to see you when you get back to Toronto. This time, I am hugging you!

    Mariellen
    Mariellen Ward recently posted..Discovering yourself, and the world, through travel

    • Ayngelina says

      Mariellen you are really an inspiration to me, you seem to have found a way to keep travel central to your life and maintain some sense of stability.

      Perhaps in time I will figure out how to do that as well.

  7. says

    I do remember that feeling. But for me, it passed. I think it depends on what your plans are. I never planned on traveling forever, only a year. So when I came home, I got a job and bought a house and settled in. That feeling of disconnect faded as I reconnected to my life at “home.”
    Just because you used to live in one city doesn’t mean that you have to return there. If you want to stop traveling and stay in one place, you can settle some place new.
    I’m sure you will figure out what is best, for YOU, it just takes a little time.
    Kristina recently posted..Tokyo’s Ramen Jiro, A Delicious Happy Accident

    • Ayngelina says

      Thanks Kristina, in some ways I feel grateful that I am tied to nothing, but then I realize I am also grounded to nothing.

      I will try to be patient and wait for the answer.

  8. says

    Wow, I can relate to this and I haven’t even left yet. Just deciding to leave to travel has really shown me who my real friends are – and who really are just acquaintances who aren’t there to support me. It’s been sad to realize how many people I have spent so much time with in 10 years in Chicago fall into the latter rather than the former.

    Hang in there! I have to think that it’s just a matter of time before you figure out how/where you fit in again!

    • Ayngelina says

      Katie

      We are in similar situations. People seem to be much more supportive in the town I grew up, even though we have less in common.

      It is a bit disheartening to spend 10 years in a city and feel like it was all so shallow.

  9. says

    I totally relate to what you’ve described. It sounds similar to what I felt like after I returned home after living in Ecuador for 1.5 years. I felt lost and down and it was horrible. I no longer related to most of my friends and felt like a Vietnam vet that no one understood. I had no idea what was next and that made it worse.

    What got me through it was time, staying connected with friends from Ecuador and the decision to return to school to pursue teaching, the job I fell in love with when I was away. Also helpful was knowing that I’d be traveling a lot in the future.

    Perhaps if you’re just present with what you’re feeling (while recalling the highs you’ve had and will undoubtedly have again), enjoy your family and anticipate being out on the road again, it will help. I think the fact that you’re not resettling back home will make it easier somehow.

    Best of luck…
    Lisa @chickybus recently posted..Me, Weight Watchers and Ramadan—a Perfect Storm

    • Ayngelina says

      You know it’s funny but I really don’t like to talk about the trip to others. People ask and I have a hard time talking to them about it. It is all too much to try to sum up in small talk.

  10. says

    You’re right. It is like a mourning process. The place, people, and life you leave is not the same as the one you go back to. However, in our mind, things don’t change because our memories are timeless. I think that is what causes the sadness, the shock. We mourn the loss of that other life we were not there to live and to share. There is not going back. The only answer, whether one decides to continue traveling or settle down, is to keep going…
    Natalia recently posted..Not your Average Office Building

  11. says

    ive always found it strange coming home and finding that nothing has changed, everyone is in the exact same position as when i left yet i have been altered beyond recognition. somehow, you dont really feel like you belong.
    definitely a tough feeling that home is no longer home. maybe its a sign that your travel ambitions have not been fulfilled yet? maybe once they have been it will once again feel like home?
    sorry i cant offer any advice other than a good coffee can help!!
    jamie – cloud people adventures recently posted..Guatemalan Kite Festival – Lomography Style

  12. says

    Aw, Ayngelina. You’re right in this is something that commonly happens to people when they have a significant experience that meant a lot to them. Not everyone understands, and they’ve been having their own life changes while you’ve been gone.

    My only advice is to be generous with your friends, even though they might not be reacting as you want them to. They’re just going through their own thing and just because they don’t have time for you now means you can’t be friends later.

    Case in point: some of my friends had children very early, in their 20s. They were concentrating on their families when I was very into my career. We drifted apart for a while, but now we’re reconnecting as their kids leave the house.

    You’re finding what works for you and that’s great! A bit of sadness is often part of the process.
    Chris @CAroundTheWorld recently posted..All 50 States: I made it!

    • Ayngelina says

      Chris that is really solid advice.

      I don’t want to be negative toward them or cut them off, I know I am a bit too raw now to see it rationally.

      I really do hope there is a way to make it work. Maybe each time I come back it gets easier?

  13. says

    Friends. Sheesh! Who needs ‘em? :)

    Although I cannot claim to know your own personaly circumstances, I don’t think that it’s necessarily your friends not wanting to spend time with you, it’s just they don’t know what to say. You’ve had these amazing experiences, embraced new cultures, learned a language. They got a new washer/dryer combo. It’s like having an exchange student in the house — you need to give it some time to get used to each other.
    Raymond @ Man On The Lam recently posted..A Question of Travel

    • says

      I completely agree with Raymond Da Man. It becomes difficult for people to relate to you after you’ve done something extraordinary. Several times, I’ve caught up with old school friends who say, “So what have you been up to?” and I say, “Well, I just sailed across the Pacific,” and they say, “Oh, cool, so have you seen anyone else from school lately?” Most people like to work within the realm of what they’re intimately familiar with, like washer/dryer combos. And since many people are geographically challenged, they have NO IDEA where the Pacific is, or Argentina, but rather that admit that and learn something by asking, they just go quiet and change the subject.
      Torre – Fearful Adventurer recently posted..Why I Don’t Like Ten Year Plans

      • Ayngelina says

        Perhaps you are right, they are doing lots of things that I am so far away from, like marriage and babies and houses.

    • Chris G says

      “They got a new washer/dryer combo” … love it! :)

      Ignorance truly is bliss. There is no truer statement. What’s Neil Armstrong supposed to talk about with a local yokel who still thinks the moon is made of cheese? The weather wears a little thin quite quickly.

      Could the two have endless conversations? I doubt it. Maybe at some stage in their upbringing, but not after Neil got back from his galactic voyage. Could the two be friends? Sure, I guess at some level.

      I thoroughly enjoy spending time chatting with the cleaners at the different places I work. They are normally from Central/South America. I speak a bit of Spanish, they really enjoy helping me put a sentence together. I know a fair amount about South America – they thoroughly enjoy talking to me about where they’re from. I think of them as friends of mine.

      Friends are people you connect with at some level. I don’t think most of my friends could give a rat’s ass I spent a year in South America, or that we’re now selling everything and about to set out on a round the world adventure. Updates ‘from the road’ will mean nothing to them – and I have no intention of boring them with that sorta stuff. But I’ll watch their Facebook, read their jokes, send emails back and forth on things going on at home, etc. They’re still friends, but friends who will never really ‘get’ why I like to wander.

      • Ayngelina says

        Perhaps I just realized we didn’t have as much in common as I thought. But I do still hope I can somehow resurrect the friendships despite the fact they don’t understand me.

  14. says

    Being an expat, I want to share some pearls of wisdom with you. It was on my 2nd trip to Argentina that I was able to connect with people from North America who moved to Argentina. And what happened to all of us is that we changed. We aren’t totally like the people from home and yet we aren’t native Argentines. We are a hybrid of sorts….a species in itself! LOL And I think that may be part of what happened to you. You are between two worlds. You aren’t totally of your own native culture and you aren’t from the cultures that you experienced. You are your own breed.

    I can relate to how hard this can be. But you will find people just like you. Sometimes it takes months and maybe years. In the meantime, think of yourself as “special” in that you aren’t totally Canadian and you aren’t totally latin american. And there is nothing wrong with that!
    Angelina Khoo recently posted..Chili Experts and Chilly Expats

    • says

      Yep, I felt that way when I lived in South Korea. Folks who had been there for several years really became Expats first, rather than being from their own home countries.

    • says

      Completely agree with you, Angelina. I’ve been in Germany for around five years and whereas I have successfully integrated, I still feel like a foreigner. However, I don’t feel that much like I belong in my own culture either. In five years, I can count the friends I’ve made in Germany with the fingers of one hand; that’s right, just one; the reason I’m here, my wife. And, Ayngelina (you guys are confusing me with the names! :D), as much as I’ve felt like my friends from home stopped being my friends, they are the ones who’re always there whenever I need someone. I sometimes kind of cherish having a “real” home, with family and childhood friends but I’d never give up all the experiences I’ve made, good and bad.
      Rod recently posted..Weird and Wonderful Events: Horses, snorkels and (wacky) automobiles with tomato topping

  15. says

    Whoa. I hear ya, sister. I felt the same way the last time I was in the States. I had been in Asia for 4 years and all the friends that I left behind had moved on without me (how? how dare they!) and I just found it really hard to relate to them (especially when my former coworkers would talk about work and I was like, “Really? You still work there? That place still exists? But I left that place FOREVER ago?)
    Luckily, I have a few friends, including a few other expats, that I manage to connect with no matter how long we’re apart or how different our lives become. I’m sure you have plenty of those friends, too, even if you feel totally alone right now.
    Have a fun visit with your family!
    Sally recently posted..Sinking, Swimming & Staying Afloat: On Writing & Other Near Death Experiences

    • Ayngelina says

      I think our age tends to magnify things as well, if I were in my early 20s my friends wouldn’t be moving onto such heavy things in their lives.

  16. says

    Do not be sad.

    You have changed too: stronger, more secure in your self knowledge. Why expect people and places to stand still when you haven’t?

    You cannot be the same person you were then. You have been irrevocably changed by your experiences. Don’t try to “fit in”. Celebrate your growth, and celebrate theirs.
    sharon Miro recently posted..Sustainability & Common Sense

    • Ayngelina says

      That may be where I went wrong, trying to fit in and then feeling like I didn’t belong because I wasn’t being myself.

      I know this sounds strange but when I traveled I felt like I became younger and within a few days in Toronto I aged 10 years.

      • says

        That’s the average Torontonian’s goal in life – to reach old age where they finally get to enjoy their amassed wealth. Sorta pathetic. I thought the journey was meant to be the reward.

  17. says

    Reading this, I immediately thought of this clip. And especially the last line: http://bit.ly/r82FkP

    And then as I read the comments, I thought “August 17th”?… why are these posts dated next week?

    I’m currently on a “vacation” with my parents… and I know that THIS is not “home” anymore.

    Positive Engergeeeez Bacon!
    Chancito recently posted..Buenos Aires Chinatown

  18. says

    Oh boy – can I relate! We were on the road for three years as we cycled from Alaska to Argentina and came back “home” to Idaho in April. It’s now been nearly six months and I’m still not feeling like things are settled.

    There is a huge part of me that misses our life on the road and I wonder if we’ve made the right choice to try and put down roots for now. It’s a constant battle – and one I’m not sure I’m winning.

    That being said, I think there is a part of us that knows we’re where we need to be. We know the world is our oyster and we can go anywhere and do anything – so if we’re choosing to be right here, right now, that’s where we need to be. I truly hope you reach that place soon!

    • Ayngelina says

      Gosh those are tough questions. Ideally I would love to meet someone who has the same passion for travel and wants to do it with me.

      Until then I have to go it alone.

  19. says

    The losing friends thing is tough, isn’t it. I had a profound sense of loss after I’d been away for about a year and realised that none of the people I considered lifelong friends had sent me an email or bothered to reply to mine for months and months.
    It’s a lesson to cherish the people who do make the effort to stay in touch. They may even be people you’ve never even met in real life!
    And the post-holiday blues — you’re in the perfect position to shake it off. You’re still on holidays!
    Barbara – The Dropout Diaries recently posted..Stop Boring Dates

  20. says

    Thanks for linking to my post! I hear ya!!
    I know that sense of disconnectedness well. We’ve been back for a year and we rarely see our old friends. There is just not much we have in common anymore. I love them but its just different. I feel really out of sorts and quiet around them. So not myself, as they don’t really know who I am anymore. We spend more time in Sydney with our new travel friends and those friends of mine who have travelled and understand.
    Sometimes we have to understand that as we grow our directions with those we once knew go in different ways and that is okay. You have to peacefully let it go and prepare for the new to enter.
    And you may never find your home and that is okay. Your home may just be on the road. We have found ours to be on the road and in the States. We have found that place but will never stop having the travel as our place to exist comfortably either.

  21. says

    Each time we return home, it seems like the number of friends we reconnect with gets smaller and smaller. It’s tough to see that group dwindle. That said, the small group of friends we still keep in touch with are great and respect the differences in our chosen lives. These are our true friends and it doesn’t seem to matter how much time it’s been since we last met up.

    Like you, I’ve met some people who have been on the road for years and years who seem to be ungrounded and on another planet. Every now and then I try to take an objective look to see if Dan and I are “those people.” Spending time on one place to develop friendships and returning home helps.
    Audrey recently posted..Protect Thy Passport

  22. says

    I’ve experienced what you describe as “reverse culture shock” when I returned from living in China for three years.

    It’s not easy, and I think you’re doing exactly the right thing in acknowledging it is there. You’re mourning your old self, in a way, which I think account for why you’re concerned you might be becoming eccentric.

    The truth is, you are. The truth is, you’ve changed, and it’s not only that your friends have moved on, but you have also. You have all this extraordinary life experience, and the more profound ways in which it has changed you is still invisible to you.

    Good luck!
    Daniel Roy recently posted..Treasures in Time: Coconut, Bangkok

    • Ayngelina says

      I always thought reverse culture shock would be adjusting to how things were done differently, but you are right it is really about how we are now different.

  23. says

    Also as an ex-pat I know exactly what you mean! I think that part of the problem is that you have expanded your horizons, and those who don’t travel find it hard to understand, so they kind of switch off to you. Sometimes it happens when you change jobs too, even if you stay put, you might find current friends just don’t “get” your new job.

    It’s a shame that we can’t all try to understand each other more, and LISTEN to each other.

    I’ve been away a long time now, and it’s been an interesting revelation over the years, finding who has remained on my “friends list” and who not. Not always those you expect.

    It was always different for me because when they were young and here I always had my kids. Now, I find that my circle of friends is made up of a mixture of nationalities, plus some Canarians who have traveled, so maybe we are all from the same tribe regardless of where our roots were at one time.
    Linda recently posted..Of Art By the People for the People: Rock Balancing

  24. says

    I know exactly what you mean. I lived in South Korea for a year, and when I came back, it was like life had moved on and there was no longer a place for me. The connections I had with people were gone. The only way I really got over the feeling was to move to a completely new part of the country and start over.

    I know that’s probably not what you want to hear, but it’s what worked for me.

    And yes, I know what you mean about long-term travelers always being a bit “off”. I would like to avoid that, if possible!

    • Ayngelina says

      I really hope when I become the weird one people tell me before it is irreversible.

      Although I cannot imagine the people who are off ever were a normal person. They seem like they were always just a bit weird.

  25. says

    I’ve felt the same way multiples times. It was hardest for me after living in Japan for 3 years and then Canada for 1 year. When I returned to the US, I had a plan (graduate school), but I found it difficult to relate to people. Most of my old friends had left the area and I didn’t have much in common with people who had left a career to go to grad school. Or so I thought. After a few months of putting myself “out there” I started to connect with new friends and found that some of them had traveled for a longer period of time. I think it’s a matter of trying to stay connected with old friends even if there are now differences and also finding new people to connect with.

    Good luck!

  26. says

    I felt like I didnt belong anywhere anymore before I travelled. More than 10 years in the same city, friends started drifting away, I felt like Id seen it all and done it all.

    Now that Im travelling, Im meeting many new (temporary) friends, and trying to find a new place to call home.

    I agree with the other commenters. Embrace it. Solo travel makes you stronger, makes you more interesting, and strengthens the things/people you truly value.

    Worse case scenario: use the time to plan a new trip!
    Ian [EagerExistence] recently posted..First Impressions of Turkey

  27. says

    I came back to Toronto after 7 years in the south of France. I like it here but in terms of friendship I’m starting over. Not easy.
    On the plus side I get to spend a lot of time with my grandson – and my daughter and son-in-law – and I wouldn’t miss that for the world.
    France still feels like home though; I just don’t live there anymore.
    Sam Mooney recently posted..Le Bistrot Gourmand Restaurant in Homps Languedoc

  28. says

    Oh wow, I totally hear you on this one! I’ve been going home for the past 17 years and constantly feel detached and disconnected and a bit lonely. It’s not easy when you’ve bypassed the stable and normal benchmarks of adult life in favor of curious yet intangible things out there…
    But you know what? Even though I’ve been away and doing odd, foreign things (and have no husband or kids or car or house or steady job…) I can still go back and find at least a few friends who still relate to me and I can relate to them. Our lives aren’t only about babies or mortgages or travel- we can connect on other levels if that connection is truly valuable to us. Not all friendships can survive changes of context but some can. I’ll add that Facebook really helped me with this. They can follow my life abroad and I can follow theirs so the gulf isn’t so big. I do hope things pick up for you though. I think youll be fine!

    • Ayngelina says

      Sometimes I really do wish we could just talk about things without it being what ‘we do’ as it seems to divide people when really I think we are all really similar.

      • says

        Indeed. And you know what? You are so much more than travel. Your friends are so much more than their jobs or babies or mortgages or husbands. We’re not better than they are just because we’ve left our homelands to check out other places and we are not unfathomable mysteries either.

        I don’t know about you, but I can go back and relate on a number of levels: music, art, good books, craft beers, experimental cooking, my cat, organic gardening, camping, farmers’ markets, humor… If people really are your friends and you are truly theirs, this will shine through.

        • says

          Exactly, MaryAnne. Well said. Connection can enter through any portal of our lives. From unexpected people, or unexpected places. Among fellow wanderers, or crickets on the hearth. On a planet of 6-billion people, if we are open to those connections they’ll show up sooner or later. Sometimes later hurts.

        • Ayngelina says

          It seems that my childhood friends and I can break through this but not my recent friends, maybe all we need is time.

  29. says

    I think you’ll be just fine. I’ve lived abroad in a few places and I can somewhat relate to your situation. I think what could help is just a change in mindset – don’t forget you’re moving forward, not backward. Meaning that even if you go to a geographical place that you’ve been to before, you’re not going BACK. You’re going forward. In that sense, it is as if it were a place you hadn’t been before. And what are we to expect of a new place? The unexpected. There’s nothing wrong really. All you need to do is to want to connect to a place, no matter if you’ve been there before or not, treat it as a new situation and off you go! It’ll be an adventure with completely new elements!
    Christina recently posted..Ben & Jerry’s factory tour in Waterbury, Vermont

    • Ayngelina says

      That is a really great perspective. I guess I was looking at it as going back and had too many expectations and assumptions and when it wasn’t how I thought I was disappointed and hurt.

  30. says

    I’m going through the same thing Ayngelina. I’m not sure if coming home is the absolute right thing to do knowing that I still want to keep traveling. But for now, I’m embracing home, or the idea of it. We’re also sharing our experiences with other Filipinos in the hopes that we can inspire more people to travel. Thanks for sharing your feelings with the world. The world hugs you back!

    • Ayngelina says

      Lois thanks so much, it really has been wonderful to have such a great community of travel bloggers that have been so supportive.

      What you two girls did was amazing, I am sure you will be an inspiration to others.

  31. says

    i went thru the same thing after my first 6 month trip last 2009… i couldnt talk to anyone because i thought that they wouldnt understand because even i didnt understand whats going on… i just opted to go back on the road… im not sure if that act resolved it but to be honest… like you… i still feel like im in limbo… hang on tight ayngelina… :-)
    flipnomad recently posted..Cheap Foods in Luang Prabang, Laos

    • Ayngelina says

      I completely understand how you feel. In some ways I feel verbally frozen and can’t explain to people how I feel so excluded or why I am upset. All I want to do is go back out again.

  32. says

    No, you were right to write this. I don’t like pissing on anyone’s parade but I so often feel like commenting to this effect when I’m reading a starry-eyed “isn’t travel awesome and transformative” post – yes it is but so is life. The people you leave behind change too, and move on. Leaving a place for any extended time is a life decision – there will be gains and there will be losses. You’ll be fine Ayngelina – you don’t shy away from these things so you will process it :)
    robin recently posted..Nada

    • Ayngelina says

      I did have some hesitation writing this post because I feel a sense of being the spoiled girl who got exactly what she wanted.

      But at the same time I wanted people to know that it isn’t all fun and as much as it seems like I have a great life and easily left things, that isn’t true and I have to face the consequences of leaving.

    • Ayngelina says

      I think we all feel disconnected at times, mine was just heightened because I was craving a connection with people from home and when it was denied it hurt even more.

  33. says

    I know things probably seem kind of sucky right now, but I don’t think you gambled and lost. You took a risk. You did something too many people are afraid of ever doing. You got to experience Latin America. You connected with people across the globe. And maybe in the process you found some new places to call home. Chin up :)
    Audrey recently posted..The Old German Mill Ruins

  34. says

    This is exactly why I carved a path in my life for both staying home AND traveling! I want the best of both worlds. I love my family and friends, as well as my job, too much to just take off, however I also love traveling too much to never hit the road again. So, I figured out a way to balance both and it’s working great! Maybe that’s something you should think about as well? Hope your trip to NS is healing!
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..My Second Wedding (Part 2)

    • Ayngelina says

      I do envy your sense of balance although I know it is a priority for you. Going home has always been good for me, it’s a time I reground myself in who I am – even though it is constantly changing.

  35. AK says

    You know, the same thing happens even when you don’t leave.

    Friends drift as life stages change.. babies, marriage, career changes, and moving can all make it happen too. And it sometimes happens slowly and politely. And sometimes, like my last weekend, it happens with crying at each other in the streets of Toronto.

    I’m so glad you’re so brutally honest here.

    • Ayngelina says

      Maybe it just felt more dramatic because I experienced it all in a matter of a few days but I really never thought that would happen, with acquaintances yes but not a select group of friends.

  36. Jill says

    And this too shall pass…you have made decisions to follow your heart and it has taken you to some amazing places. I truly believe that everything in our lives happens for a reason. The lessons we learn help us to determine what happens next.

    I have said this before, but I so admire the adventure you have been on. You are living life to the fullest. You will feel better with time.

    Nova Scotia is lucky to have you back…Toronto doesn’t deserve you.

    Hugs!

  37. says

    Aww Ayngelina, I’m sorry things are a struggle right now. To a certain extent I can relate – I have friends here in Chile, so I’m not alone like a solo traveler, but I’ve felt those feelings of friends from home fading away or not seeming to care about keeping in touch and life going on without me. But I’ve also learned who the people are with whom I can pick up like we never left off – not always the people I expected – and I value that more than I would have if our friendships had never been tested. I hope you find those relationships soon and that they bring you out of the darkness.
    Emily in Chile recently posted..The downside of traveling in Chile

    • Ayngelina says

      Oddly enough I do find people I grew up with to be the most supportive, maybe it’s because our lives started to differ so early on that we found ways to find common ground even if our lives weren’t so similar.

      I may just need time with my friends in Toronto.

  38. says

    I’ve felt that sense of loneliness and disconnectedness upon returning from long journeys. Heck, sometimes I’ve felt it during those journeys. Now I even feel it during internal journeys, when I don’t physically go anywhere – yet somehow find that my life has moved on, or other people’s lives have moved on, stranding me in a new place, or an old place where I no longer belong. But ultimately those moments offer me the opportunity to shed an old skin, find a new tribe, and ultimately connect more deeply than before with those who share the journey and understand… or those who yearn to.

    • Ayngelina says

      So true, I have started wondering if we would have all drifted even if I had stayed. I wonder if we were really friends in the first place.

  39. says

    Coming home is definitely hard. I had been warned about it as well, but you never really expect it to be so hard. I’m *finally* feeling back to my old self after 4 months home. It’s a gradually re-entry for sure. I really know how you’re feeling… and it’s difficult to convey this to others, if they haven’t experience it themselves – something that just adds to the difficulty of dealing with it. Power to you girl! You’ll make it, and be stronger for it. It’s all part of the experience I guess.

    • Ayngelina says

      It’s hard to explain to others and hard to digest myself. It feels really irrational at times to feel such sadness when I have been so lucky.

  40. says

    I remember having a smaller version of that moment when I returned from a five month stint living in New Zealand… So many friends and classmates at university had carried on without missing a blink, meanwhile my whole world had been rocked. Family tired of hearing me bring up stories from the road…but I knew I’d never be the same. Thankfully, the real gems in my life are the people who have wanted to know me, travel stories, dreams, and all. Some of them are online, others are at home… Cherish the people who truly love you, and cherish the places you love. Thanks for being an honest voice, Ayngelina. Best to you xx
    twoOregonians recently posted..Inspirations Keep Us in the Game

  41. says

    Hey lady, I neglect your blog and return to this!

    I feel so strange saying this, I wish I could relate to you… I feel the opposite of down and I should feel like shit…

    When I started this journey I always knew I didn’t belong in Vancouver, maybe even Canada, so coming back here has cemented it rather than left me feeling hopeless.

    You’re totally going through a realization that maybe you might feel the same? And the process is grieving it out and as everyone has said here, you will find your way.

    I believe it! People do move on, but the important ones won’t ever forget you.

    That’s my take.
    Nomadic Chick recently posted..Plunging at Valley Verzasca Dam

    • Ayngelina says

      I really do hope I feel that way over time, I guess I was just trying to have the best of both worlds but in the end I think you have to give up one of them.

    • Ayngelina says

      One of the things I did learn in Latin America was not to be afraid of my feelings, and not to be ashamed of the sad ones. It’s much much better to deal with them and move on.

  42. says

    I totally understand what you are feeling! Having moved a lot and changed schools frequently in addition to being an introvert, I always felt like once I left, I left all those friends behind because I never really clicked with them. I’m not a phone person and so if you don’t email me, things crumble fast. The concept of not really having a hometown or a concrete vision or where I’ll live next makes me feel like a drifting balloon. But you have made friends all over the world through your travels and writing. Now your bubble is much wider so it feels like you’re not quite part of it because there’s so much more room to breathe. Give it time.
    ehalvey recently posted..The Best and the Worst about the Culture of the US

    • Ayngelina says

      Thanks Claire, I am really looking forward to seeing my family. Although they did come visit me it’s been ten months since I have seen them.

  43. says

    I totally understand your feeling. I never had a place called home. I grew up in Spain for 14 years and after that I moved every 2-3 years. It’s hard to make friends and you never know if the friends you are making are going to last for a long time. Therefore I try to enjoy every minute more deeply with the people around me. Of course it is not always possible.

    I often also have these feelings of loneliness sometimes and they suck but I also know that they go as fast as they came!
    Sebastian recently posted..Norway Photo of the Day: Hardangerfjord

  44. says

    It’s a strange burden the compulsive traveler must carry. We are a breed unto ourselves, very few people will understand. Judging by all of these comments, you know that there are hundreds of us wanderers out here embracing you during this time. I just hope that provides some comfort. Family will help, too.
    Erik recently posted..Embrace Everything

  45. says

    i think only time will get you back in your groove again with your friends. you’ve been on totally different wavelengths. just need to find the same rhythm again. we are back 3 months now and finally feeling somewhat “normal” again. as normal as we can get! :)
    Wendy recently posted..Dusty Day: Downtown Cincinnati

    • Ayngelina says

      It is a bit different because there is no same groove for us as I am back on the road again very soon. Although I do hope each time I come home it gets easier, it sounds like it would…

  46. says

    I went through everything you’ve written about. I quickly realized that people really didn’t care to hear about my time in New Zealand, and began to take the glazed-over, distracted look that would come into their eyes when I would talk about my experiences as a warning sign to switch subjects (or better yet, let them talk and not say anything for a while).

    I thought it was just me though, I didn’t realize that this feeling of disappointment and let down was a part of the reverse culture shock, but it is.

    Like you, shortly after coming home to TO I left again, for me it was to BC for 3 weeks. Eventually though, things got better. I got over the heartbreak of old friendships dying, with new unexpected ones — ones that better suit the me I am now anyway.

    This will pass, it just sucks while you’re going through it.
    Kelly recently posted..Machu Picchu closed?

    • Ayngelina says

      I like that you describe it as a heartbreak because that is exactly how it feels, a loss that I haven’t been dealing with rationally.

  47. says

    I’m right there with you… am at home in Florida now wondering how I ever lived here and what I should do next. Planning the next trip is tough while crashing at my parents’ house. Suddenly I’m needed for this project or it’s time to go to that relative’s house. I haven’t had time for my own projects or even just to breathe. Not sure what the best advice is… so I’ll just say I feel your pain.
    Angie recently posted..Where To Stay | Mykonos, Greece | Part 2

    • Ayngelina says

      I have to say I also find working at home much more difficult than on the road. At home people question why I need to spend so much time online, no one seems to understand what it takes to keep the blog going and that I am working to eventually fund my travels solely through working online. I am really lucky there is such a strong travel community that I can reach out to.

    • Ayngelina says

      You know it was the first time I had considered that I may have done the wrong thing. In the 15 months I was gone I knew it was for the better, but the doubt caved in all too quickly when I came home.

    • Ayngelina says

      Thanks Lauren, I knew I was jeopardizing a lot and while I was doing it I knew I was doing the right thing. I need to cling to the thought that what I am doing is worth it and I will be much happier for it.

  48. says

    Aahhhhh reading your post made me cry too and I had to leave a comment. I felt it too when we were back in the states after being in Thailand for 9 months. I still have friends that really don’t understand what we are doing and why we are doing it. They don’t read our blog, and they don’t stay in touch. I have some that eventhough I contacted them they didn’t bother to contact me back. The people that do care, like one or two, seriously, really took be by surprise. And those friends, I will hold on to forever. The rest, well, life must go on, yeah? And I lived in Houston for 30 years. It’s sad, but true. Seems many can relate to your story and you seem to have an on-line community here that will readily supports you. And that’s definitely something. Hang in there.
    GotPassport Family recently posted..Chiang Mai is Where We Call Home; And Home Sweet Home, It Is!

    • Ayngelina says

      It is sad that people can slip out of your lives so quickly. I thought about them all the time but feel like I didn’t mean much in theirs. But like you there are one or two, and I am truly touched that they make an effort to stay in contact.

  49. says

    I also identify with where you’re at and have been there many times. On my current pseudo move to Spain I’ve already seen the drop-off in numbers of my friends keeping up with my blog after the first initial excitement wore off. Everyone continues on with their busy lives and I know I’m an occasional passing thought at best. I’m left with just a few faithfuls and family of course–Which maybe isn’t so bad after all. Thanks for your candor! (BTW My mom is from Kitchener, Ontario. I love Canada!)
    Rachel recently posted..Behind the Scenes at the Local Bakery, Olvera

  50. says

    Oh, yes. :( I wrote about this for months when I got back. I also struggled with it while I was away. If I stayed away for too long, will I kick myself for being the single, unemployed chick while all of my best friends had moved on to great husbands, etc? D’s right — it doesn’t get any easier once you have the bug. I came back a year yesterday (!), for a REASON. So I can’t quit my job and break up with the boy, right? Right??!
    Abby recently posted..Surreal Sin City Skyline

    • Ayngelina says

      Perhaps it’s our age, I wonder when I will actually yearn to settle down, maybe for some people it never happens.

  51. Elena says

    Oh lady…. I have felt this feeling many a time… I always called it a travel hangover, when you feel fuzzy headed, a bit fragile the day after a great evening but it’s more than that actually – that’s actually a bit of a trite way of expressing what I wanted to say. I wish you the best of luck and send you some goodness to get through this time… if these comments here are any sign of what comes next, you will adjust, you will get your land legs (have been working on what the opposite to sea legs could be) and you’ll move forward, be out there in the world again, or whatever will come next for you. Thank you for sharing so eloquently.

  52. says

    I agree with what a lot of people are saying — I can understand the feelings as I’ve been wrestling with the same/similar for several months now and I’m not sure it will ever go away. Things were starting to feel better during month three (good not great) and then I went London to visit friends for 10 days. In the 10 days I’ve been home, everything feels out of sorts again. We know to expect it, but man, doesn’t make it any easier to bear. *hug*
    Heather recently posted..Macaron vs Macaroon: What’s the Difference?

  53. says

    Its hard and I cant say I can even relate on this level never gone through it myself. Personally it sounds like you decided that you wanted something different in your life and went after it. Which was great but now that you have done it you come back and much like you moved on and left everyone else behind so too did everyone else move on. Now it just time to find new friend and people to connect with. Its as though you are starting a new school and need to find new friends.

  54. says

    I fell into a similar dark pool when I returned home back in 2009. I went home for almost a year after living abroad for two; I had to pay off school loans and save up whatever I could. The first three months were very difficult, but a three week trip to Central America brightened things up again. It was when I came back from that three week trip that, for some reason, I felt more emotionally drained than ever. I just felt…lost. As much as I loved home, I felt that I needed to go abroad again.
    Unexpectedly, everything worked out in the end, but I can’t even begin to count the times I cried myself to sleep during that long and tedious year.
    Have faith love, it’ll work itself out, even if you can’t see it yet.
    Besides, you have that European adventure to look forward to. ;)
    Michi recently posted..Regular Programming Has Been Interrupted by D-Man’s Tortilla Española.

    • Ayngelina says

      The one thing driving me forward is new plans, I’ve been trying to put my energy into planning for the next trip as moping around does no good.

  55. says

    I can definitely relate to this. It’s been over two years on the road and I returned home over a month ago. Not a single friend has taken the time or effort to want to hang out for at least a cup of coffee. I had a few groups of friends, too. Many of them I use to see a few times a week and were very close to me but that was before I left. I don’t fit in anymore. In fact, my parents even moved away from my home state right before I left so coming home doesn’t even feel like I’m coming home anymore.

    It’s difficult. Really difficult. But we get use to it and adapt. I can’t relate to my old friends anymore. Unlike my first year of traveling, I’m now staying in destinations longer and making an effort to make new friends. But the cycle continues as I leave a new place after making new friends and leaving to have to create friends all over again.

    If it wasn’t for the internet, I’d be very lonely. I’m a sociable guy and can’t stand not having anyone to talk to. Part of travel I suppose.
    Michael recently posted..SEO 101 for Travel Bloggers Webinar Video Available

    • Ayngelina says

      I know but it seems like such a tragedy to have, what felt like strong friendships, just fade away. But maybe that is just a part of long-term travel, saying goodbye to your old life.

  56. says

    Oh, I remember this feeling. It hit me twice the first time I lived abroad. The first time was while I was still away: none of the group I considered to be my closest friends at college had so much as sent me an email – and I was emailing them several times a month. I was devastated. Fortunately, my family and my friends from high school never let me down. The second time was the day I got back to my college town after a year away. I was headed to a friend’s apartment for dinner to stave off jet-lag and the general feeling of displacement and ran into a casual acquaintance from the year before I left. I was so excited to see someone I knew that my enthusiasm was completely out of proportion to the situation, especially since the acquaintance didn’t even know I’d been gone. In hindsight, it was funny, but at the time I just felt out of step with the world. I was able to adjust in three or four months, but I had school and work to keep me busy and focused. And I’ll add that I spent a lot of time in those months with friends – some of whom had been just acquaintances before – who had experienced the same thing and understood the disorientation I was feeling.

    No matter how adjusting back to “normal” goes for you, you’re never quite the same person you were when you left – and that’s a good thing, despite being hard sometimes. Like David, your first commenter said, “find a peace in being who you are,” wherever you are. Once you do, being just that little bit out of sync won’t matter most of the time.
    Jessalyn recently posted..How Southeast Asia Broke My Internal Thermostat

    • Ayngelina says

      You know I would have never thought my friends from home, the people I have the least in common with other than growing up, would be the most supportive. I have been amazed at how most of them are more familiar with my site and my trip than most people I had considered really close friends.

      I guess there is no place like home.

  57. says

    You do belong. You belong with us, the travel addicts that connect through blog posts and social media. :) Hang in there!

    At the end of the day, no matter how “unrooted” I feel, I know my family is always there to welcome me back and make me feel “at home” again, wherever it is in the world I am and just need that sense of belonging – I think of my family back home and that comforts me :)

    • Ayngelina says

      Shirlene I must say that my family is really a source for comfort as well. It’s been ten years since I lived in my home province and somehow I am always most comfortable in the home I grew up in.

  58. says

    So much great advice here from so many wise travellers – young and old!

    The more you travel and the more friends you make around the world, the easier it all becomes.

    Terence and I really do feel at home in the world, that the world is our home, and all the friends we have scattered around the planet make it seem that way. So it’s got to the point where we don’t feel homesick anywhere.

    As others have said above, there’s something about the friends you leave behind that will never be the same. I have friends who have travelled and lived overseas as I have, and we’re as close as can be, despite only seeing each other every couple of years. But I have other friends I haven’t seen in a decade that I’ve drifted away from. And then I have friends in the UAE, the closest thing I’ve had to a home since 1998 – locals, not expats; mainly Emirati women – who are some of my closest friends on the planet.

    My advice would be to take advantage of these strong emotions you’re feeling right now and draw on them to write – not just on your blog, but the beginnings of a short story or, who knows, a novel.
    laradunston recently posted..Exploring the Isaan: Road Tripping Thailand

    • Ayngelina says

      Lara

      I know you have been all over so I appreciate all your thoughts. I must say although I love traveling solo I am envious of couples at times like these as they have someone they can still relate to. That said, I am so grateful for this blog and the travel blogging community as they have been so supportive. Sometimes it’s nice just to have someone understand how you feel and know that you aren’t crazy.

  59. says

    I find your title quite intruiging…”when the honemoon is over.” Most of us would have felt this way about many things in our lives: marriages, relationships, friendships, career, travel, etc. It’s a very normal part of life to feel disconnected in some ways. It’s juat another phase in your life, and then, one day you’ll wake up, and everything feels like how it should. Human beings are adaptable beings. We can take what is given to us and make good of it…of course, until the honeymoon is over again…thus, the cycle continues :)
    Jen Laceda recently posted..My Picks: Fresh and Skyn Iceland

    • says

      Precisely.

      Any time you finish with a “life experience”, you’re going to experience both a feeling of loss and also a difficulty connecting with those who didn’t share your experience. This is why it’s so important to maintain connections with those who shared your experience, as well as those who didn’t, but have shared experiences with you in the past.

      I know that was overly convoluted, but there you go.

    • Ayngelina says

      I like that way of looking at things Jen, instead of mourning the end I should be looking forward to what is ahead.

  60. says

    It does get easier. Just remember while you were living your life elsewhere, life has happened at home too. It will be hard to relate to the things that have happened while you’ve been away, just like your friends will find it hard to relate to the adventures you’ve had overseas. It takes time to reconnect. Be patient. And it helps to rediscover the things you love about your home country.
    Holly recently posted..La Paz: An Uphill Battle In More Ways Than One

    • Ayngelina says

      Thanks Holly, I knew things had changed, I didn’t realize it would squeeze me out but you are right I do need to be a bit patient.

  61. Cat says

    Hi Angelina,

    Just got back from Thailand, was there for almost 4 months. They were the worst and the best 4 months of my life. Now that im back home i feel miserable, I would take the worst moments of my trip over what i am feeling now. Its just an emptiness, nothing..At least even during the worst of my trip i felt alive. Nothing seems real here now. It doesnt help that i now am looking for a job in a horrible economy but what is helping is that once i find that job i will be saving and back in Bangkok hopefully by January. Please hang in there and know your not alone!!!

  62. says

    I think I already told you this in your last post but this is almost exactly how I felt. It was so strange to go home to Seattle and even though my friends were happy to see me it was obvious that they were quite content with their lives and that came in the form of them ‘forgetting’ to invite me to a couple of things after a few days. They didn’t do it on purpose, it’s just that I wasn’t a part of their everyday routine anymore.

    I know this isn’t what you are talking about but I also felt strange in the travel blogging aspect of Seattle. I wanted to get my knowledge out there and it was as if I wasn’t being taken seriously by people that actually lived there. I felt completely as if my life there was gone and I was almost not welcome back.

    Now I know that’s a bit extreme and I could settle back in if I ever did move back there but it was strange all the same. I could definitely relate to you in this post!
    Annie recently posted..Coffee Spots of San Francisco: The Three Contenders

  63. says

    Oh, hunni, *hugs*

    I know that you’ve already heard this from a thousand other people but I think it’s completely normal to be feeling that way. The adjustment to coming back to a life you left really does take time and a lot of people often feel really down and depressed because there’s just emptiness.

    I’m just so glad you’re heading out to see your family – I hope this helps you put the pieces together a bit easier. Your family’s always a place you belong and will always be the ones who missed you being there, no matter where you’ve been.
    Ceri recently posted..The So-Called ‘Gap Year’

  64. says

    Ayngelina, this is a difficult situation to deal with – especially the first time you’ve come back from an extended trip overseas. I can assure you though that it gets better over time and – at least in my experience – the expectations you’ll have of how others ought to be behaving towards you will drop considerably and you’ll likely be able to appreciate the brief time you have with old family and friends before heading off somewhere new once again.
    Nomadic Samuel recently posted..Teaching English in China | Interview with Michael Tieso (Art of Backpacking)

  65. Gretchen says

    I have to admit that it’s comforting that someone else has felt something similar. I’ve traveled on and off for 15+ years, and when I travel I long for stability and when I have stability I long for freedom of the road. It’s a bit of a conundrum! However, you are where you are and that is how I find comfort. Knowing that I can change my life at a drop of a hat provides me with some contentment in the every day dull drums. You are doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing and you are becoming a more amazing person every moment you choose to feel. You are bright, shining and unique to the earth – keep the light going strong Ayngelina! All the best…(:

  66. Rob Philip says

    Ayngelina:

    It’s been months and 170 comments since you posted this, but I thought I’d toss in my 2 cents.

    I lost patience with living in Ottawa amongst all my friends who were following a path that wasn’t for me and moved to Sweden in my late 20s. Four years later I returned to Ottawa and a bunch of friends with whom I had memories but not much else in common. I traveled a lot with work over the next couple of years and ended up on a 2 week business trip to Boulder, CO and never returned to Ottawa. I’ve been here, mostly, since then. Except for the few years I was in California. I’ve finally found a place in Boulder that is “home” after years of sort-of searching, but I’d leave in a heartbeat if someplace more interesting came along. I seriously considered NZ in January when I was there. I thought a lot about this on a trip I took to Croatia a few weeks ago. In the first week I experienced, for some reason, all of the “traveler” emotions. All the good ones, plus “why am I here” and “I want to go home”. I decided that I just need to travel more. And that the world will always be a place where I *mostly* fit in.

    I believe people like me (and perchance, you) who have wider horizons than most will never really set down “roots” as our more normal friends do, but will experience more interesting lives in exchange.

    I feel like I have achieved a degree of travel/life success now, as people I’ve not seen for a month almost always begin their conversation with “where have you been recently?”.

    Rob

  67. Baz says

    Has anyone found a perfect city to live, but one too far from their family?

    I recently returned from London (after 10 years) to Melbourne to be close to family, but it has been tough. I now feel like I’m trapped in a snow globe!!

    My friends here are awesome, but they all own homes now….and I feel like a wandering ghost…

  68. says

    I identify with this so much :(
    I just got back a couple of days ago from visiting New York, my favourite place in the world, and it’s hit me hard.
    Transitioning from bright, sunny and warm Summer to Melbourne’s dark, cold and gloomy Winter has made it even harder.
    All I can think about is being back there and it’s made me realise how much I prefer life there than my ‘normal’ one here.

  69. says

    I got this after coming home from an epic 6 week trip to New Zealand… I landed in Norway and was fine for a couple of days, before I “landed” mentally… in the basement… It was not nice, to say the least, and hard to get out of… Sometimes it still hits me, but if nothing else I’ve realized my plan for an RTW trip have to be set in motion :-)
    BakoymaTravels recently posted..Barcelona :: Casa Batlló – “The Wave of Creation… or a woman’s breast.”

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