The Wanderlusters Hangover

Just made the huge decision to return home after an amazing adventure living around
the world? You’re preparing to return home and very aware of the experience wanderlusters
and travelers go through when trying to integrate back into ‘the real world.’ Maybe you have
been there before, experienced it first hand? Maybe you’re trying to preempt the come
down by seemingly loading up your world with the next exciting project. I was certain
this would work, I’m an optimist.

Perhaps you’re already living it, you know the feeling… you’ve crashed back down to earth
after returning home from an epic adventure of a lifetime? ‘The wanderluster’s
hangover,’ that’s what I’m calling it.

There I was, lying empty, motionless, what felt like soul-less in the musty-smelling bedroom
at my parent’s house. The room wasn’t lived in anymore (kind of what my body felt like
right now), I left there when I was 22. What seemed like a shoe box held all of my
(physical) life, bags of clothes that I hadn’t opened for three and a half years, boxes wall
to wall full of who know what. I couldn’t believe all these things belonged to me and I didn’t
know where to start in trying to sort it all out. My insides truly felt empty as I reached for my
phone to numb my mind. Only to find my Facebook news feed flooded with photos of
the latest 17cm snowfall, a place that seemed so close but in an instant had now become
my old life on the other side of the world.

If anything this ‘returning to the real world’ is strangely similar to setting off on a
wanderluster’s adventure. Both heading into unknown territory. Yet the feelings we conjurer
up are almost at complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Why do we feel this way? Firstly
believe it or not, we choose our thoughts (in most cases they are on auto pilot if we’re not
conscious about what we’re choosing). This leads to the creation of our feelings. So what are
we thinking?

  • What would I be doing if I was back in my old life?
  • I wonder what my friends are doing?
  • I’d do anything to be back there right now.
  • Why did I think coming home would be a good idea.
  • Are things ever going to be as good as that adventure?

Its no wonder, we’re choosing those thoughts. After venturing away for so long, our mind
has been blown wide open. There are so many things in our world that have expanded our
souls. We’ve pushed ourselves to do things we would never have thought possible, been in
situations we would never have dreamed up if we tried (good and bad). We’ve gone well and
truly beyond the comfort zone. Made new friends from every corner of this diverse
world. Seen how opposing this crazy planet is and how simply people live, yet how happy
people are. Some who have so little, yet give so much and we wonder about our
abundant ‘lucky’ lives in the first world.

Are we even truly living? Or are majority suck in the rat race, as time ticks away to the
weekend or their next holiday. When they can finally experience life, but only for an instant,
and then their leave is up, and it’s time to go back to the race. That world that you forgot
long ago. You want nothing to do with it anymore. Part of you is most definitely scared
you will get sucked back into that crazy vortex.

One skill I sharpened was learning how to meet people, and if anything this helped me the
most when returning home. Since nothing is ever the same when we come back, not
even the relationships we have/had, no matter how we left them. They will always be
different after time and space has passed. Moving into my new home was exciting, signing
up for that new course, a fresh start, a new town, new friends to be made. There seemed to
be a glimmer of hope upon the horizon.

If I can give you one message, I promise it gets easier. Maybe it takes a year, even 2,
but we do adjust into a new life, just like we did when we left for the road . Each small
step in the right direction is character building and a foundation for your new life back home.
Just over two years have passed since I returned. If I look at the journey honestly, it taught
me just as much as the adventure did, and I can smile now I know I’m coming out the
other end. But part of me knows Ill probably be here again someday. Change, the only
thing that stays the same. You have to grow with it.

How to get over a wanderlusters hangover.

  • Get present: as much as you want to remain in your old wanderlusting life,
    you made a decision to return home, it’s time to own that decision. Start
    creating rituals and habits that bring you into the present moment, inspire you
    and lift you up. Meditation, exercise, gratitude and journaling are a good start.
    Creating a morning routine to set up the foundations for your day.
  • Take action on a new project: Sink your teeth in something you’re extremely
    passionate about. Maybe it seems outrageous and far fetched, whatever it is,
    make it happen. Find something that’s so exciting that it will keep you up late at
    night and make you want to get up early every single day.
  • Reconnect with old friends: This will not always be easy, some friends won’t
    know how to reconnect, they won’t understand you anymore. That’s okay.
    You’re probably already used to this now but be okay with a relationship that
    completely changes. Others will be so glad to see you and sometimes your
    friendships from the past will become deeper with new found common
    interests.
  • Tell your stories: This won’t happen all at once but share with your loved
    ones stories from your adventures when the time is right. You have so much to
    share, don’t keep it locked up.
  • Build your tribe: It’s likely you have changed a lot, and the best thing to do is
    surround yourself with people who you want to be like, ones that create an
    environment where you will thrive. People who will lift you up. Choose
    carefully, this is so important.
  • Don’t go back to your old life, start your new life in your old home: You
    have changed so much. Don’t be lazy and let old habits creep back in. If there
    are things that annoyed you before you left, make sure you eliminate them
    from your life. Bring everything you have learned into your life ahead.
  • Explore places closer to home: Adventure is not lost, you will be amazed at
    the things you have never known so close to home. So much will have
    changed, explore the new cafes, tourist sites you may never have visited, you
    will have a new appreciation for your old home.
  • Stay connected with your close friends : By now I’m guessing your closest
    friend lives in the UK or Canada or maybe they’re still traveling in South
    America. Do everything in you can to stay connected, it may only be once
    every 2 months make an effort to schedule the Skype date. Your close friends
    will want to stay in contact, they are always thinking about you.
  • Plan to visit: Maybe it won’t be for a while but work out a way you can return
    to some places you visited or met up with some friends, maybe their traveling
    to you. Make the effort to stay connected.
  • Plan your next adventure: Let’s be honest, once a wanderluster, forever a
    wanderluster, you never going to be able to shake your love for adventure so
    plan the next one. Maybe it’s five years from now. Who cares, make it happen.

Maybe you’re still in the daily slump, struggling because everything you love or dream about
is a million miles away. You just want to feel grounded and know you’re in the right place.
Trust me, you’re always in the right place. Don’t doubt your decision to return home, even
though it may seem like you’re faced with the mundane life you originally left. Have courage
and let the light shine in. The post-travelling blues is real but it’s not forever.

Author: Abby Lewtas

Abby Lewtas is an adventurer, life coach and blogger. Adventure and travel were ingrained in her from an early age. Thanks to my parents she experienced my first overseas adventure at the tender age of 18 months.