As an intrepid traveler and avid adventure seeker I have experienced many goodbyes and hellos. What I didn’t expect about my latest journey of working abroad in Sydney, Australia, was that the toughest part would be, coming back. How the heck could anything be scarier than moving to a foreign country with zero friends? Life is full of surprises. Anyways, don’t be a Debbie Downer – fit the below tips into your days for some happier times ahead:
Find excitement in the little things – you can always discover something new; even if it’s in the things you have been doing all of your life. Talk to someone different at the store or coffee shop – you might discover more people are in your shoes than you think. While abroad you are constantly over stimulated with new and exciting stimuli – find these things close to home. Whether that is a day trip, weekend getaway, a new hike, a farmers market, a new recipe, etc. There are also tons of great event happening sites (lifecrowd.com, meetup.com, etc.).
Challenge yourself – Take up a new hobby or sign up for an athletic challenge. Before I left for Australia I signed up for a full triathlon 2 months after I would return. This kept my focus and my endorphins flowing in the right direction. Whether your challenge is a physical or mental one, don’t be afraid to give it a go!
Write it out – Because most people won’t understand what you did or what you experienced, write about how you’re feeling, it can be therapeutic to word vomit in your journal. I also created a scrapbook to visually show people my Aussie life and more importantly for my personal reminiscing!
Keep in touch – keep in touch by writing letters or emails to your friends/colleagues back in your old home. This will help remind you that you won’t lose these people forever and you can still keep up on each other’s lives…just not as frequently. You won’t lose this part of your being, ever, and these relationships are a constant reminder.
Don’t ‘settle’ – remember that just because you are moving home, doesn’t mean you are ‘settling’. What a horrible word! I ran into an old friend a couple of days after returning and she happily exclaimed…‘back to reality!” I refrained from physical out lash and thought to myself – what the hell does that even mean! There is always room for adventure and exploration in your life – never settle for a life you aren’t proud of. Get a job, a volunteer position or your own personal endeavor to utilize all of your skills and experiences that you have acquired abroad.
Never stop culturing – explore ways to incorporate global culture into your life – whether you go to work for a global company, help with a non-profit that works in a different part of the world, eat food from other places, book a trip somewhere new. Whatever that might be – it will help you maintain a sense of cultural wholeness.