If you’ve been keeping an eye on our instagram stories you’ll be aware that we’re now back at home after exactly one year and one week spent travelling full time. *Sob*. We’ve moved into my brother’s old bedroom at my mum’s house (my sister has my old room) and have already unpacked, done the washing and even started to recover some of our possessions from storage.
It’s been so nice to see family and to be reunited with our animals – Archie the Pomeranian & Missy the Cat. This weekend has been full of catching up with people, eating some good homecooked food and plenty of dog walks, which has been pretty perfect. Even though we’ve only been back for a couple of days it’s definitely been a shock to the system in some ways though, so I thought I’d share a quick post on how we’re finding things being back in the UK, one year later…
Discovering Reverse Culture Shock Is Real
Firstly, and most surprisingly, we’ve discovered that reverse culture shock really is a thing. It’s basically the idea that readapting to your home culture can be the same or more of a shock as going away in the first place after you spent time re-evaluating your values and what you want from life etc. I was pretty sceptical – mainly because I figured that I’d spent 28 years in the UK, mainly in the same area, and was spending just a year away travelling so how hard could it be?
The main shock came when arriving in Europe after leaving India, which is why I’m glad we went through the worst of it before getting home. Clean streets, no litter, drinkable tap water, reliable hot water in showers, great food hygiene and not being deafened by the sound of car horns honking constantly were some of the most surprising things we needed to readjust to.
Since getting home it’s been a bit different though. We’re lucky that we’d mentally prepared ourselves to come back and we’re excited to get started on our next set of plans so as yet we haven’t felt particularly depressed to be back, but there have been some odd examples of things that have felt a bit strange. The main one is just the amount of stuff everyone has, including us.
We’re living in a five bed house and every surface, table top, drawer is full of stuff. It’s not rubbish or clutter – it’s ornaments, paperwork and all the accoutrements of modern living in a house full of people, and it’s seriously weird. We’re used to bare bones hostels, empty airbnbs and hotel rooms, so this is a big difference to get used to!
Getting a bunch of suitcases and boxes out of storage and seeing just how many clothes we have, after spending a year with just a backpack, honestly made me feel a bit nauseous and I’ve chucked 80% of our old stuff out because we just don’t need it.
We have accumulated so much crap. As I’ve spent the day sorting through bags of clothes that included 8 year old work shirts of Rob’s and goodness knows how many crappy old stained or damaged cheap clothes of mine, I’ve realised that I had a serious issue with not being able to get rid of things. I hope that we can stick to a more minimalist lifestyle from now.
Dealing With A LOT Of Admin
There’s a fair amount more admin than we’d really prepared ourselves for… from getting insured on family members’ cars to ordering new contact lenses, to getting the dog groomed to applying for new jobs and sorting our lives out, it’s pretty long winded. I don’t even want to write about this any more as it’s just like a never ending mountain of paperwork that is definitely not something we’re used to and I’m quite keen to make sure that this doesn’t grind us down too much too soon!
Finding a New Routine
This is another one we want to nail down as soon as we can. Mainly because I don’t have a job and I don’t want to get into too many bad habits while unemployed. We want to make sure we’re fitting in a couple of dog walks a day, some exercise, a couple of healthy meals and plenty of activities that don’t involve sitting in front of a screen. Alongside this we need to earn some money and I need to get very proactive at finding gainful employment.
Oh, and did I mention that there are currently between 5 and 8 of us living in the house at any one time, all of whom have very different lifestyles? This one is less fun so far, but I’m sure after a couple of weeks we’ll all have adjusted to living together.
Working Out How To Keep Travelling ASAP
A really big thing for us is working out how we can keep travelling now we’re back home. I know a lot of people manage to work 9-5 and still have great adventures, and we definitely had some awesome holidays before our year of full time travel, so we just need to figure out how it’s going to work.
We definitely want to keep blogging, and we have no shortage of material after the year we’ve had.
I actually have a grand total of 52 blog posts in various stages of readiness, from titles with bullet points to fully drafted and scheduled stories about the places we’ve been recently and what we’ve been upto. I’d quite like to write about more than travel alone and I’m thinking of bringing in more lifestyle and food pieces, so we’ll see how that goes.
The best news is that we’ve got some exciting travel plans already starting to come together. My birthday is in September and I’ve given Rob a list of 5 trips I’d like to go on, from the exotic to some that are a little closer to home, and he’s planning a surprise trip which is pretty awesome! The list I’ve given him includes a Northern Italy & Switzerland road trip, campervanning in Norway or Canada, or a random trip to either Russia or Finland so we will see where we end up.
We’ve also decided that we’d like to head to Europe for at least one city break in the winter – perhaps back to somewhere we love, like Florence, or perhaps to somewhere like Belgium for the Christmas markets. As soon as we have anything booked I’ll share our travel plans on here.
So yeah, it’s alright really being back home – a little strange of course, but we’re pretty excited for the next few months and what they hold.