Brussels, March 25th 2015
And then my plane touches down in Brussels.
A whirlwind of emotions are rushing through my body.
Happy to see my friends and family back,
Sad because my adventure is over
Scared of what’s next,
Relieved because I have a plan in mind (more news about this coming soon),
Hopeful to find a job in Belgium soon,
Realistic enough to know returning to the place you came from is not an easy process.
Everyone I know who went abroad can relate with the typical withdrawal process.
You come home from an adventure that changed you for life. Although you left your life behind in a foreign country you are thrilled to see your family and friends back in your home country.
The Fantastic First Week(s)
The first week(s) are awesome ! You see all your loved ones back and you are overwhelmed with people who are thrilled to have you back. Everyone is curious about your travels and your days are filled with the one meet up after the other. Your mom is making your favourite meal, you enjoy the food you’ve missed abroad. All these good times prevent you from thinking too much about how much you miss your other friends on the other side of the world. Another beer ? Yes Please !
The Black Hole
After an overload of intense hugs, smiles and alcohol things suddenly start to change. People stop smiling, hugs feel casual and the alcohol just gives you a nasty hangover…
I am not talking about the black hole the alcohol left you last night. Always awkward to run into people you think you never saw in your life but they claim that you two had the deepest conversation last Saturday night at the bar. Or when you are tagged in a photo with complete strangers that look like your long time best friends. No, not that kind of black hole.
The black hole you are facing once your homecoming prom is over. The clock struck twelve and everything turns back to the daily routine life. And then you realise NOTHING has changed except you. And soon enough the warm glow changes into a cold shiver.
People don’t want to hear another story about your mountain adventures or that time you encountered a shark while diving. You feel left out for a bit. You feel alone. You want to just leave again.
The Refusal of Unpacking
And it gets worse. That suitcase you brought home two weeks ago is still in the corner of your room. The souvenirs and some clothes you have been wearing have been taken out of your bag but what is left in the bag is the worst, your momentos. Polaroid photos from a crazy beach party, cards, letters,…You reminisce about that time you went surfing in Australia or that summer fling you had. Damn, she was cute.
You refuse to unpack, you refuse to move on.
The Turning Point
You will start to realise that all this pouting and mourning is getting you nowhere and all of a sudden you will have this small moment that strikes you. It could be having a drink with a friend, a good talk with your sibling, even reading a blog on the internet. You are no longer feeling lost and alone and accept the changes. Slowly the new you starts to blend into society again. The bags are unpacked, the job interviews are lining up, you start to feel good and you are ready to conquer the world again. Your derailed life gets back on track again and soon enough the adventure abroad is an awesome memory you will cherish for the rest of your life.
The Unusual Spin
Then every now and then… there are those few that don’t find their way into society anymore after being abroad. They keep wandering. Their hunger for more adventures doesn’t stop. It is a blessing as well as a curse. A blessing because you keep pushing yourself to grow, to explore the world, to keep discovering new horizons and new cultures. But at the same time you keep searching for this wholeness. You want to belong at some point, you want to settle but you can’t just yet. You feel like there is more in life than this.
If this is you, I would say, keep searching for what you want in life. Stay hungry. Put your teeth in every adventure you can grab. Life tastes good ! Embrace every opportunity. Start living and keep going.
After being home for nearly two weeks I have decided to sign myself up for another adventure. I am stoked already !
You can read all about it in my upcoming blogs. I will also post blogs of my past travel adventures filled with travel tips.