Coming Home

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Toronto, Canada

So what does it feel like to be home? I’ve been back in Toronto less than a week and that’s the first question everyone ask.

It is also the most difficult to answer.

It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and it has been difficult at times. Β I didn’t expect it to be so hard to be home. I love being here but perhaps that’s the issue.

I didn’t think I’d love it so much. I didn’t realize I would miss my friends, my city, my country.

But I do.

Not all has been great. It feels like I have only left home for a month but life continued on for everyone else.

The home I helped my best friend move into the night before I left, newborns are now toddlers, my ex had a serious relationship.

Life moved on without me.

And of course I knew it would. I’m not that self-centered or naive. But it made me start to wonder if the thing I was chasing was at home the entire time.

So what does this mean?

I don’t know. I wish I did. I do know that I can’t go back to my old life.

While I never thought I’d want to be an entrepreneur I can’t go back to the office grind. But maybe it’s not all or nothing.

I’ve decided to stop numbering the days of travel at the beginning of my posts because this isn’t a trip anymore but a new lifestyle. I still don’t know how exactly how I am going to live it or fund it but that’s okay.

After the next while in Ontario I’ll be spending a month at home in Nova Scotia with my family and maybe that will shed some light. Maybe it won’t.

But I’ve only been home in Toronto a few days and I have learned one thing.

There’s no going back. Only forward.

Join the Conversation

  1. Marcello Arrambide says:

    You know, I think you feel this way because:
    1. TORONTO IS AWESOME. lol. I remember when I lived there it was amazing easily one of my top 5 fav cities.
    2. You probably really over aspects of your previous life.

    I know most of my life has been travel, I was born in one country, lived in two simultaneously and ended up living in a 3rd country before I was 19. You have roots there you should be feeling those things.

    Just would like to note again that Toronto is awesome. that is all. lol

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Toronto is awesome and I do miss it. When I left I always thought I was coming back after a year so maybe I did not deal with things that I should have.

  2. flipnomad says:

    coming home after a long trip is really difficult for some reasons i couldnt explain… i remember when i felt it after my first backpacking trip… anyway, take care ayngelina… enjoy your stay back home with your family:-)

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It is difficult to articulate especially to friends and family, I feel torn between two lives and I am not quite sure which road I should go down.

      1. I am so glad I stumbled across this blog today. I have just returned to Ontario (just outside of Toronto) after two years living in London, England. I feel like an alien from another planet at the moment and am struggling to find anyone who can identify with what I am experiencing. Pretty sure I just found that person so thank you!

        1. Ayngelina Author says:

          Two years would be especially difficult, what do you find to be the hardest

          1. Good question!! At this point, I cannot even formulate an answer to that question into words, because I am not even sure the hardest part has happened yet. I feel out of place, disconnected, and like you said “torn between two lives.” I really LOVED my life in London, and everything just seemed to “fit.” I don’t know how to answer the question “glad to be home?” because in many ways I am not (and suppose I feel guilty about that). So much has changed in my absence but sooooo much has stayed the same. But mostly, I have changed and am struggling to “fit” in again. It’s like I am getting to know everything here for the first time (including people) and they are trying to get to know me. I am pretty sure I am rambling at this point, but all I can is that I identify with everything you wrote in your post. I look forward to reading more and thanks so much for the reply πŸ™‚

          2. Ayngelina Author says:

            I understand everything you are saying here and feel all of it as well. Here’s to both of us figuring it out.

  3. I totally sympathize. Going/ coming home can be incredibly tough.

    But there’s still places like Sneaky Dee’s and Trinity Bellwoods Park. And you can always count on those places to not grow into toddlers, right!?

    1. Seattle Dredge says:

      hehe, I like this πŸ˜€

  4. Ayngelina, I know you will find your way to fulfilling your passion and dreams and live life to its fullest. It must be strange to return home where life has moved on, but in time, I’m sure you will adjust and I’m sure your family is thrilled to have you back. Enjoy Nova Scotia!

  5. dtravelsround says:

    Oh goodness. It is so hard to come back. I’ve been home 10 months and I still am figuring everything out. Yes, while you are gone, life continues. You’re also a very different person when you come back, and know things about yourself you weren’t aware of previously. You’re at the starting point of the rest of your life, and it is a beautiful thing. I know I am still trying to put my finger on exactly what it is I want, and every single day I have a mini realization that takes me one step closer to determining what that thing is … it’s a process. You will get there. πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I remember reading your challenges as well and finally your decision to move to Las Vegas.

      I just need to realize I don’t have to make a decision in the first 4 days home. I have time.

  6. Seattle Dredge says:

    Welcome back!

    I hope that you can get back into the swing of things here, or at least in the best way that you can. Perhaps you’ll just have to build a new swing :]

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Seattle, it is a bit unsettling as I’m just home for the summer but yes I hope to build a brand new swing πŸ™‚

  7. Bel And The City says:

    ItΒ΄s heartbreaking…
    I had a year abroad in New York and going back home was just hearbreaking.
    IΒ΄m from Buenos Aires, Argentina and moved to New York to do an internship. When it was time to come back, I felt I was loosing not only a part of me, but just myself.
    I have a post in my blog at that time that describes the feeling on my first morning back.
    I hope you know what you are feeling is absolutely normal.
    ThereΒ΄s something called reverse culture shock. So this normals of feeling inadequate at home are totally normal.
    It took me more than a year to feel better, but IΒ΄m sure you are feeling better soon!
    Best of luck on this new adventure of Returning Home!!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks for sharing. It will be interesting to see how I feel after a week or two.

  8. Welcome back! It’s never easy to come home after an extended period away. It will never be the same again, but neither will the open road. Glad to see that the compass is pointed forward!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      So true. I look at traveling much differently now, much more attainable.

  9. I feel you Ayngelina. I am going through the same feelings myself. I think Coming Home are the 2 saddest words you can hear from someone who is passionate about travel. But I know this is just a pause for us. You’re right, we keep moving forward!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I was really excited about it. I’m still happy to be home, it’s just all overwhelming.

  10. After having left for 11 years, before coming to China I spent a whole year back home in Italy. It was really great, I caught up with family and friends, had plenty of time to do the research I wanted to do and visit places I had never been to.
    And then I left again. I really love going home but I don’t fit anymore, or maybe “it” doesn’t me, not sure which is the best one. Certainly I’ve been away for too long, and I don’t think I’ll be able to live there again. Maybe that’s why I’ve enjoyed it so much, I knew I was going to leave soon.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Maybe that’s what I am a bit worried about, no longer fitting.

      1. “Fitting.” Interesting. I picture you, Ayngelina, being one specific (and surely perfect) shape and your “home” being a somewhat different shape. To come home you must change your shape to accomodate. As we all do where we live, but this sense of changing shape is surely more acute for you right now, at this time.

        You’ve shown to yourself an inner courage to go out and be yourself on the planet. And now there is another courage being summoned at your place of origin. Bravo.

  11. I like how you said this isn’t a trip anymore, but a new lifestyle.

    Coming home after being away for a while is always tough. There’s always that little bit of reverse culture shock and the shock of the realization that life has gone on without you.

    But you’ll figure it out. You are inspiring a lot of people, no matter what you decide to do next!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I didn’t expect life to just stop for me, I just had no idea so much would change!

  12. Pete Heck says:

    Firstly, welcome back home, happy it is going well.

    Good on you for putting a stop to the counting of days. You’re right that this is a lifestyle. The going home is now a vacation.

    Each time I go back, the RCS gets a little easier.

    Keep moving forward, you’ll figure it out πŸ˜‰

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Going home IS a vacation. It’s good to hear it gets easier every time.

  13. Jack - eyeflare travel says:

    Had the same thing coming back to Sweden after being away for over 5 years. Like Angela, I “didn’t fit”, though I’m not quite sure I ever did.

    The culture shock will ease, and what will help are family & friends. And not having to figure out where to go get groceries today, in a new place…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The first few days in Toronto certainly have been overwhelming, just realizing all that has changed while I was gone.

  14. I can imagine how hard it is coming home after so long, but you are doing the right thing. Keep looking forward and making your dream of permanente traveling a reality!!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Jaime, it’s all in just figuring out what is the right way for me.

  15. This made me cry. Maybe you should just become a writer…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Don’t cry Dana, it could be a lot worse!

    2. You mean she’s not?

  16. i’m already starting to think about what it will be like when i return home to toronto in (at the very least, 6 months (max 8)….one thing i already know is that i definitely want to explore my city and home country just as much as i’m exploring my temporary home city (delhi, india). toronto and canada have SO much to offer πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      After seeing so many cities I really do appreciate Toronto, in fact I realized one of the reasons I liked Buenos Aires so much is because it reminded me of my life in Toronto.

  17. Michael Hodson says:

    Home sucks – get back on the road with the rest of us that have given up on “home” πŸ˜‰

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh I’ll end up there eventually.

  18. Rob Bloggeries says:

    Toronto is a cesspool of crap. Seriously blows, get out while you can and go see the rest of the world. You’ve been a year in S. & C. America, coool. Get to SE Asia and never look back.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Ha I wouldn’t go as far as to say Toronto is a cesspool. It has both good and bad sides but overall I still love the city.

  19. Mikeachim says:

    Even if you’d stay in Toronto, you’d still be the different You that you are now.

    Travel changes us. But not that much. Change is internal. Travel amplifies it, but there has to be something to amplify in the first place.

    So, you don’t know what’s next?

    Compare it to knowing exactly what you were doing next, and for the next month, and the next year.

    Which one of those situations sucks more?

    You know the answer, I bet you do. πŸ˜‰

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      So funny on the road no one really asks what you are doing next and here that’s what everyone wants to know.

      1. And yet who of us can ever really answer that question?

  20. The Travel Chica says:

    I am not looking to forward to struggling with the same questions. But I am sure you will figure it out, and if you don’t, just do what feels right at the moment and the rest will work itself out.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think things become clearer with time, 4 days is not enough.

  21. Big hug to you, Ayngelina. I moved back to my hometown a few years ago and it was both wonderful and traumatic. It’s hard to make a place for yourself again, to find where you fit, what you love now that your experiences have altered you. Hoping for courage and strength for you as you take your next steps.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think going back to visit my family in the town I grew up may help things or at least give me some perspective on how I feel about Toronto.

  22. Ayngelina,

    As a child, home is your safe haven where memories are built and cherished. Everything seems so big and so full of promise when we are children. Fast forward into adulthood and that house that seemed to overshadow everything looks remarkably small and different.

    That’s because you are seeing it from a new perspective. You can still recall fond memories, but at the same time, you know that that time has passed and a new chapter has begun. So think of this as a peek back into the past and cherish it for the moment that it now brings.

    I think that you have realized that you are on a new path with so much promise ahead…as soon as you get your bearings, you will know what comes next.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You know the funny thing is that Toronto is not my childhood home. I’ve only lived there ten years but I do call it home now because my friends and career are there. I am headed back to Nova Scotia to my childhood home in a couple of weeks, something that I realized I grew out of long ago. I wonder if it will be any easier.

  23. These are the blogs that are the hardest to read as I “hear” your voice within the words. But you will always “fit” for me no matter where you are.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Home (Nova Scotia) will be good, it’s the one place I know I can always come back to.

  24. Georgia Pellegrini says:

    As someone who travels constantly, I can totally relate to these feelings… it’s so hard to go in and out of a place you call “home.”

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It is, have you found it gets easier with time?

  25. Although it feels as if everyone’s lives have moved on, so has yours! Believe it or not you can have the best of both worlds. You can find the right job at home surrounded by family and friends and travel often. I do, and it works great for me!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Please do share what you do!

    2. What do you do for work? Would love to learn more.

  26. Coming home is always difficult. I think it’s great that you still love Toronto – if it compares well with the rest of the world then you know it’s a great city. Maybe you could spend part of the year there in the future?

    We are back in our ‘home’ town of Manchester for a month and it has only confirmed to us that there’s no way we want to live here anymore. It’s nice to have our decision to travel permanently reinforced and I think we’ll set off again with new enthusiasm.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Toronto isn’t the greatest city to visit but I love living here. The multicultural aspect means you can learn so much about other countries right in your backyard. It also makes for amazing food.

  27. wow! you’re home. I guess it’s a new adventure starting now:) hope it all pans out for ya, chica!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Home…for a bit…I’ll spend the summer here and figure out where to go from here.

  28. Meg | One Love Meg says:

    Well I have never been to Canada so you can live it up for me. πŸ™‚ And if you get the itch and need to travel you can come down to San Diego and stay with me. Keep moving forward…. I know you will figure it all out.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well I have never been to California…

  29. I’m back ‘home’ too. After six years of living in Argentina, I’m back.

    The strange thing is that it really isn’t hard at all. Everyone is asking me if it isn’t hard to adapt myself again. It really isn’t.

    Perhaps that is because I’m not looking for my old life but building a new life, the same way I would do if I moved to another country… perhaps that’s because after six years your old life is really really gone…

    I found a job already, made new friends and I’m happy to enjoy the food, the bussiness mentality and I really really enjoy the views. I’m apreciating my homecountry in a way I never did before.

    But I’m looking forward to travel to Argentina already (I hope that it still will be in 2011)

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I may need to take your lead and not look to pick up where I left off as that is what seems to be the issue.

  30. Ayngelina, I’m totally with Michael. Take a look, see your family, pack up and get moving again.I’m waiting to read your post when you tell us that you are doing just that.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Inka, I just bought my ticket to London so I guess that’s what I am doing.

  31. Bluegreen Kirk says:

    Thats was the one thing that I questioned but never really understood. I guess its great when you are on the road and don’t see what you are missing just the things no one else is seeing you have had a chance to view. On the other hand when you return some people move others had children and well like you said life continued on.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Now I’m stuck between two worlds wondering which one is the right one for me but I am starting to think it could be a bit of both.

  32. Katrina Mauro says:

    This is a very touching post…makes me wonder what life will be like when I return from a 6mo trip. My boyfriend of 7 years will be staying behind because he has a son so this type of trip is unrealistic for him, but has told me he didn’t think it should hold me back. He’ll meet me here and there, but I do hope it does not put too much of a strain on us…I’ve kind of been figuring that 6 mo is like no time after 7 years. I guess we will see though.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      That is really kind of your boyfriend. 6 months will fly by to you but be eons to him, I think that’s where the struggle is but good to hear he will visit you.

  33. Oneika the Traveller says:

    I’ve been in Toronto for 5 days as well- I’ve just come back for an extended visit after 1 year working in Hong Kong. I’ve been an expat for 5 of the last 8 years and every time I come back home to Toronto for visits it almost feels like I’ve never left. But I never completely feel like I fit in here. I love the city, and think it is a very liveable one, but just not for me anymore. I’m always excited to see friends and family again, and have blogged about what fun it is to go to all my fav places in Toronto and stuff my face with foods at establishments only found in Toronto (like cheeseburgers at Harvey’s… Mmmm!). But it’s no longer really my home.

    p.s.: I’m supposed to be visiting for five weeks before jetting off to Guatemala, Chile, and moving to London, UK. I think I’m a nomad/expat at heart.

    p.s.s.: okay, you’ve been gone for a year just like me. Do you feel like prices have skyrocketed since you left? I really feel the difference in food and transport costs: I thought that London and Hong Kong were expensive, but Toronto is really getting up there!!!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh wow Guatemala and Chile, so wonderful. I don’t know if Toronto felt expensive or I am now just cheap but I did notice that lunch is really expensive now, when did that happen? I went out with two friends and spent 30 bucks that is my daily budget for EVERYTHING in Latin America.

  34. We are always under so much pressure to have everything figured out, but the truth is that no one ever does because we never stop evolving,wanting, and hoping. There will always be something new that will throw us off balance, but isn’t that where all the fun is? When we stop striving we become stagnat. So don’t worry if you feel like you are always chasing for something, we all are and thank goodness we are :). I hope you find what you are looking for and after that I hope you find something else worth chasing for. Best of luck with everything πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Wow thanks Paola that really makes me rethink things. I still wonder ‘when will I know what I want” but maybe I never do because it’s always changing.

  35. I didn’t expect to miss my home, my country either. But I did… a lot. I found it very difficult to be home for the first month or so (and it still is from time to time), but you’ll find your way. If you hit the road again, cool… if not, that’s also cool πŸ™‚ I discovered that not everyone is meant for the perpetual nomad life.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well I’ve booked a flight August 18th to London so looks like I need to figure things out by then!

  36. Jeremy Branham says:

    What a transition for you! I think what you are going through is normal. Jodi Ettenberg may be going through some of the same things but it sounds like you want to be a bit more settled and miss a sense of permanence and stability in your life.

    Traveling is great – I love doing it. But I just couldn’t do it long term. There is too much I love about having a sense of home and belonging. I like routine so I think part of it is comfort and security. I really enjoy that. However, travel is good to shock us out of that routine. Some of both is good because I don’t think we can truly understand all aspects of who we are without these different circumstances in our lives.

  37. Scott - Quirky Travel Guy says:

    I can see how it would be a bit of a letdown to come home. After my longest trip, I actually went home and then moved to a new city a couple weeks later. This was almost like cheating… I didn’t have to adjust to my old life again since I was creating a new home base.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Maybe that is the way to do it. I would love to think that I can come back to Toronto but I wonder if I will always focus on what has changed?

  38. Micamyx|Senyorita says:

    I remember when I went back here in Manila after staying in England for three months. My perception about my life really changed. A lot of people advised me to just look for a job asap, but till now, i can’t find that driving force to look for one. I dunno what’s going to happen, but i know i’ll do good still. I am happy to be home, but i left my heart in England since my immediate family is there now. Overwhelming, i guess? Yay. Hope you’re all good now. Cheers! πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I am really happy to be home, I had no idea how much I missed it. I think you are right to take a bit of time to figure out what you want. It’s something I need to do too.

  39. After spending the last six months traveling myself, you’ve expressed exactly how I’ve been feeling. I want to move forward but I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to fund my life from here on out. Glad to know others are dealing with the same things…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah I keep telling myself that it’s normal to feel torn between two lives. It helps take the pressure off to figure out what I want.

  40. Once the β€œReverse Cultural Shock” fades away, you realize you have learned, and grown as a person. You have become stronger, and know yourself better. In a way, you are more…… you. (Well, at least that is how it was for me…)

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I certainly hope it’s the same way for me too…

  41. Caz Makepeace says:

    Glad to see you are enjoying being at home and using it as a time to discover where your new lifestyle is taking you.
    Just make sure you are aware of reverse culture shock. I say this not to burst your bubble but just in preparation, because i had no idea about it and my world came crashing down as a result. I felt the same way as you did for the first month coming home and then boom- the shock set in.
    This time around I was more prepared for it but it has been really hard. Although this time I came home due to circumstances I couldn’t control- meaning I did not want to come home.
    you may never experience this though. You might be feeling what really is real. Enjoy it either way!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      This is literally Day 4, I am trying to prepare myself for the next month.

      The good? news is that I am heading back out on the road in 6 weeks but I just worry that I will be torn about leaving again.

  42. Michael Figueiredo says:

    “There’s no going back. Only forward.” – What a perfect sentiment. It’s going to be a tough adjustment for a bit, but you’ll have many more trips ahead of you!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Michael instead of focusing on the confusion I am trying to put my energy into my next trip to Europe.

  43. For me, it was culture shock in reverse…and life back home was never again the same. I moved away, crossed an ocean to find a new home…but that’s not really IT either. Travel changed changed me profoundly…or did travel make me come home to myself? You see, the questions never end πŸ˜‰
    Enjoy NS and your family. Welcome home πŸ™‚

    1. “did travel make me come home to myself?”

      This is what I’m counting on for when the stars align so I can do this. But, alas, I know we never ‘arrive’ anywhere as the journey seems to be pretty darned infinite.

  44. That’s how I’ve been feeling too! When I first got home and everything was good, I wanted to have a comfortable life like my friends with a steady paycheck, girl roommates (been living with a boy for too long!) and the freedom to explore the city I live in and learn new things.

    Then I started seeing the other side of things, the struggles that my friends were having because they didn’t know what they wanted.

    I think I generally just want the best of both worlds and that’s not possible so at the time I have to choose the one that’s better for me. Right now that’s travel, one day maybe it won’t be.

    I always do a lot of reflecting when I’m home and totally surprise myself.

    Enjoy your time at home and do what you need to do!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I am on Day 4 so I think I will be heading into phase 2 in the next week or so. It’s good that you figured out the right path and fingers crossed that I do too.

  45. Eileen Ludwig says:

    You are different so nothing will be the same, you are not the same. It is ok. Going to your childhood home will be similar. Who you were is gone. Enjoy who you have become and plan for her.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I left my childhood home a decade ago so I hope I’m better prepared for knowing that things are always different there.

  46. Cheryl Howard says:

    Awww, I’ve heard it’s weird to come home. I hope you still enjoyed your time there! πŸ™‚

    Toronto is not my childhood home either but I consider it my home anyway after living there for 15 years. I also wonder what it will feel like to return home for a visit after living in Berlin. I’m a little nervous!

    And you’re coming to Europe!? Come to Berlin. πŸ™‚

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I am coming to Europe and Berlin could be in the picture, right now I am thinking Spain and Italy but a Eurail pass may convince me to pop over!

      1. Cheryl Howard says:

        Yay! So glad you’ll be visiting these parts. πŸ™‚

        Def give me a shout if you come to Berlin … it’s an amazing city!

        Italy and Spain are both fab. Can’t wait for your food related posts.

        1. Ayngelina Author says:

          Oh I know, I’m already starting to hit the gym hard in preparation for the inevitable gluttony!

  47. Cathy Sweeney says:

    I can only imagine how you feel after being gone so long. I know that I have a lot of mixed emotions even when I’ve only been away a short time. I get really anxious to be traveling again, really fast. I guess you’ve got some decisions to make — but only when you’re ready. Keep moving forward!

  48. This spoke to me. We’ll be “home” for a month in December, and I’m very curious about how it will feel… Onwards and upwards, chica. Onwards and upwards.

  49. I remember the first few days when I came home from eight months on the road.

    The most peculiar feeling ever. I can only liken it to heartache I guess.

    I remember lying on my bed with not a single clue what to do.

    Not an easy time so good luck!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      That is a really good comparison, it does feel a lot like heartache.

  50. Julie from says:

    I think re-entry is one of the most difficult aspects of long-term travel and a facet that’s not talked about much. There’s so much focus on preparing for, and being on, the journey–and never much follow-up reflection.

    Go easy on yourself during this time of transition. My husband just got back from a year on the road (work-related) and I noticed it took him about a month to properly settle.

    One of his comments really stuck: “I had to go away so far, for so long, to really be able to see my home clearly. I’ve had my ruby-shoes moment.” (And in case that’s a dated reference–I am OLD! πŸ˜‰ –it refers to when Dorothy from Wizard of Oz clicks her shoes together and murmurs, ‘There’s no place like home.'”

    It takes a lot of feistiness to pack up and travel for a long time–I wish you all the best as you apply that same spirit to the next chapter of your life…cheers, .Julie

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I do feel like your husband right now, but it is only my fourth day home so things feel shiny and new.

      I just wonder what it will feel like when the shine wears off and if I would still want to be here.

      At the moment I don’t have to make that decision as I am leaving in six weeks for Europe – but I wonder if I will really want to go.

  51. Nomadic Samuel says:

    I can relate to how you’re feeling. I think that’s part of the reason I’ve been abroad for 6 consecutive years. You can never really really go home IMO.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh I hope that isn’t true…

  52. It’s natural to need time to adjust when coming back home from extended travel. We experienced that in 2009 after coming back to NY from a year-long RTW trip. It’s kind of cool being home but seeing your town through new eyes; you appreciate certain things more. I honestly think it took us a full year to readjust to the US and get rid of our culture shock!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I really do miss Toronto, it’s such a wonderful city to live in.

  53. Lots of wise things have already been said in the comments.

    I’d just say that it certainly doesn’t have to be either/or. It seems that most travel blogs, for example, are written by those on long-term (if not permanent) travel but there are a few of us around (me, Keith @ Velvet Escape, Nellie @ Wild Junket) to name just a few, who have a home base and yet who travel a lot. This may or may not be what you’re after – but I’ll just put it out there as a suggestion πŸ˜‰

    1. Ayngelina Author says:


      Thanks for weighing in on this. One of my biggest questions is my stamina to do this long-term but it is inspiring to see you guys successfully balance the stability with travel. I think it may be the way for me as well.

  54. I am struck by how, if such transitions are so challenging after time away doing what one wishes to do, just how astronomically more challenging it must be for people returning from war, having done thing they most likely did not want to do.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh wow yeah I could not compare what I am doing to that.

  55. Hogga aka @_thetraveller_ says:

    Yeah… I felt that way for a while when I first came home. Now all I want to do is get the F back on the road.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Lol well give me a few weeks and we will see how I feel!

  56. Coming home was such a mixed bag of emotions for me: nervous to see friends and family; struggles to re-adjust (aka the whole reverse culture shock thing which took me by complete surprise and took me months to work through); loosing the feeling that im doing something special and amazing. I think it’s the last bit that was the hardest, coming to terms with the fact that a really incredible part of my life was over. Of course, there will be other incredible parts of my life, but I was really in love with that one, and for a year and a half it defined who and what I was.

    For the most part, I feel like my life right now is just a holding pattern till I can jet off again.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I am really enjoying the routine and mundane, but I am not sure how long that will last.

  57. Oh my god I can’t tell you how much I relate to this…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I had heard it was bad, I heard from others, but still felt completely blindsided by it.

  58. You’ve hit on what was my biggest take-away from living and working in Korea for a year: traveling doesn’t have to just be a vacation/trip/rtw thing. Really, it can be a lifestyle if you center your life around it.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yes now I just need to figure out how to make that happen.

  59. Zablon Mukuba says:

    were you comfortable when you were back at home or did you miss the road

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Right now I am comfortable but I suspect the road will start calling soon.

  60. Great post, you said a lot in very few words. I know exactly how you feel and constantly think, “What next? Where to? What if? How? Where to??”

    You’ll find your niche. πŸ˜‰

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I hope so, I just need to give myself time.

  61. Roy Marvelous | cruisesurfingz says:

    It is a weird feeling when you feel nothings changed with you but everything seems to have changed with people you love.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      So weird. I am just hoping it settles soon.

  62. Toronto for me is the new exotic home I’m living in. I realised this when I came back from a couple of weeks exploring Eastern Canada, which I loved, but it was nice to come home to Toronto. I’m getting to know the city and finally feeling like I live here, rather than just visiting.

    But I still miss home-home (Sydney Australia) a lot. And as much as I remind myself why I left, it still holds a very special place for me.

    I’m going to Sydney for Christmas, and I’m sure I’m going to go through a lot of the same stuff as you have then. Babies have been born, friends have changed.

  63. Hey Ayngelina,

    I have stumbled upon your blog today, have been reading various posts and this one has really struck a chord with me.

    8 months ago, i was fortunate enough to secure a job in Dubai, so with the support of my girlfriend i made the move to the UAE. In the 8 months i have been gone, i the strain became to much with the relationship we parted ways, and in two weeks time i am moving back to my home town Manchester.

    I am faced with the fears/worries/anxieties you have mentioned above, as i know life has moved on without me and that i too have moved on. But to read others face the same emotions and to read the comments from others certainly helps me!

    Maybe it will be the drive i need to save and go travelling, maybe ill fit back in with my old life. At the moment i just dont know…..i guess i am at that cross roads!

    On another note, i will be reading therough the rest of your posts with great interest! Fantastic site and i hope you do love your European adventure as much as your Latin America one!

  64. Natalie T. says:

    What a philosophical post. I had that feeling when I was in Europe and came back home to TO. Toronto is home to me. It will always be home to me, but at this point, I feel there’s more; the sucky part is I can’t leave yet. That said, as a Torontonian I’m lucky to live here. I never try to take home for granted.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I had no idea I would be attached to a place that I didn’t grow up in until I started visiting other big cities and realized how lucky we are.

      1. Natalie T. says:

        We are lucky but I’m in a place where I want to leave!

  65. I recently co-authoed a post about reverse culture shock. not sure how long you’ve been away, but going home always seems tougher than leaving. It’s mpt all or nothing in my experience – and incorporating the “changed you” into the “old place” is an interesting and worthwhile process. I look forward to following your post (found on I heart mondegreens).

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Monique, it’s been 14 months and while so many people talk about the fear of leaving so one talks about the struggle of returning so it’s goo to hear you wrote something, where can I find the post

      1. I also left the (PR) agency world – I see you were/are in advertising. I now consult part time which has been a good balance. I couldnt imagine myself back in agency life after living abroad for 3 yrs and big life changes (having kids being one of them).

        1. Ayngelina Author says:

          I still love my old job and I should really look into consulting because I don’t think I could ever go back to agency life either.

  66. this was a really great, honest post. thank you for it

  67. From what I’ve gathered, most people who’ve spent a long time travelling go home and end up feeling this way.

    I think bring back at home is part of your journey of self-discovery and living with your family and familiar surroundings for a while will really help you understand more about what you need.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah well I have two months to do so and then I am off again, although this time to your end of the world.

  68. I head home to Sydney in two weeks after nine months of travelling in South America and then a year of living in London. I’m terrified! I suspect that nothing and everything will have changed. I can’t wait to take off again and I haven’t even landed! I wonder if I will ever feel settled. Good luck with home life. Onwards to the next adventure!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Wow, let me know how it goes and if it’s bad know that you are not alone.

  69. melomakarona says:

    I used to feel sad to go home after I’d been on the road for awhile. I hated to leave adventure and go back to boring ‘normal’ life.

    But now I look forward to go home after some months of travel, because I know – sooner or later (rather sooner than later ;)) – I’ll be back on the road again!

    Enjoy home πŸ™‚

  70. Graham Carter says:

    Hi all

    I just found this website and is good to see. I returned back to Oxford, England last Saturday after 20 months of travel starting in Brazil, finishing in Canada all across land via the Antarctic. This is the second time I have been travelling, i did a prevous trip for 2.5 years. Once I had finished the first trip I was in the feeling i want to go away again so I worked in london for 2 years to save for this trip.
    Coming home is terrible, i know of no worse feeling to be honest and I am an expert. I thought this time would be a lot easier as done it before but no. You come home and feel so lost, you have to chase the things again that you go away to forget about. People are a lot different, i have gone from going out every night meeting new people, seeing amazing things during the day to sitting at home with the parents and chasing friends constantly to do anything fun.
    I think ive done enough travel now to be able to say that im starting to wonder if its good to go away for so long as its so difficult to come home. Its like a break up with a girlfriend or i feel like im in cold turkey come off drugs (im guessing) Had such an amazing time, but im really not sure how long it is going to take to get over this trip. Im giving myself about 3 weeks before i start looking for work. Until then i am going to keep the panic attacks rolling and breaking into sweats because im not doing anything with my life now.
    Thanks all

  71. The best way to avoid all this, is to not go home at all! πŸ˜›

    Great post πŸ˜€

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