How do Travelers Cope with “Real Life”?

(photo from AviationAlberta)

The hardest part I find about traveling is returning home. At first it can be a great feeling seeing friends and family you haven’t seen in ages, sleeping on an actual bed, hot showers….but then that dreaded feeling of familiarity starts creeping up, followed by every travelers’ worst fear – the restlessness of boredom.

Suddenly, it seems lame that everyone around you grew up in the same place, with the same boring accent. You don’t understand why these people seem to favour their dreadful 9-5 job, and find all their daily excitement from materialistic pursuits, such as purchasing a new purse or laptop. After all, wasn’t it Thoreau who once said, “It is preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else, that prevents us from living freely and nobly”? 

If that’s not bad enough, all of a sudden, the long emails you send back and forth with the friends and lover(s) you’ve met abroad become nothing more than a post on each other’s Facebook wall every now and then. At night, sometimes it’s hard to fall asleep holding on to these memories, and you wake up in sweat, unsure of where you are. And finally, there’s that dreaded routine – whether it’s university or work, that welcomes you back to…reality.

Reality, what a horrible word. Every time I return home from my travels, I always get trapped in this strange “in-between” world, sometimes for months. It always makes me think of that line from Rules Of Attraction. You know, where Victor says “I no longer know who I am and I feel like the ghost of a total stranger.”  

What about you guys? How do you cope with “real life” after you return home from your travels?

For me, it usually begins with planning my next adventure. I love that feeling of the new and the unknown. After all, once a traveler, always a traveler, right? However, the great thing about trips coming to an end is knowing that the end of one trip means the start of another….



  1. January 24, 2011 / 5:00 pm

    What can I say Michelle. I have always loathed finishing trips that are over 10 days long. Once I feel I'm on the road for an extended period of time reality checks in and I have to get back. Heck, not even my 1 year trip was enough!

  2. January 24, 2011 / 6:29 pm

    for me, i never revert to real life i guess. I'm a traveler through and through – it's what makes me happy and makes me feel alive. I only dip into the 'real world' sporadically so i never need to fully adjust to it 🙂

  3. January 24, 2011 / 8:56 pm

    Federico – wow, ten 10 days?! that's when you start getting over your jet lag 🙂

    Johnny – you're so lucky! hopefully that'll be me as well when i buy a one way flight to Europe later this year…

  4. January 26, 2011 / 8:13 am

    I tend to think of 'reality' as the temporary bit between where I actually live my life – doing interesting things, whether that is travelling or otherwise.

    Must admit I like to update my possessions in the reality bit though. How else do you get that feeling of getting rid of it all to fund the next adventure in life otherwise?

  5. January 27, 2011 / 3:38 am

    Oh man, I just watched l'auberge espagnol last night; I am so afraid I'm going to go home and be totally bored!!

  6. February 3, 2011 / 3:42 pm

    Excellent post. I wrestled with this issue myself when I returned from living abroad.

  7. February 7, 2011 / 5:38 pm

    I cope very poorly with it. I find that reality is a farce. We create our own realities screw what other people think. This is why I will be escaping pretty soon. By the way I fully relate to this post. Especially the facebook stuff. The best bit is when you are getting invitations on facebook to go to parties in Australia/Finnland/Austria.

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