Exploring Wanderlust

Dealing with coming back to the ‘real world’

I’ve been travelling for months and seen loads of places, but for some people I’ve just popped out for a smoke

It’s that feeling of me having amazing experiences almost every day and you’ve just been sat at your desk for 3 months with nothing really happening! No diary this time! I will tell you what I have learned about myself and my friends – not through travelling, but coming home. This time no pictures, just my honest open opinion!

Some people may have openly criticised my blog or my writing in general as being far too detailed (“I got up at 9am” / I went on a two hour walk / next stop…… etc) or much too much like a diary, but actually I wanted to write these pieces as diary entries for myself and my family to look at now or in years to come and to be somehow part of the adventure. Some of these same people wrote a few pieces themselves after tossing together a quick free blog, but quickly threw in the towel – I’m not sure what is worse to be honest, but I supposed you the reader and only time can decide! It’s most definitely easier to criticise than to complement.

In a sort of brief move away from my supposed usual waffle, I thought it would be great to write a sort of opinion piece. I’ll try not to make it seem like Father Ted accepting the award for best priest and using it as a platform to list off a load of people who had wronged him over the years. (Maybe only Irish people will get that reference)

There may be blogs dealing with the topics of ‘how many t-shirts to pack?’ or ‘do I really need a dry bag?’, but only the very few deal with coping with reality of travelling for a longer period of time. Now I want to be fair to the people here so I’ll change some of the names around to protect everyone involved. I’d also like to firstly define what ‘travelling’ or ‘backpacking’ is and what I mean by ‘a long time’. (I’m no Angel here either folks – after 2 weeks in Perth I was crying myself to sleep at the thought of going to work again.)

★Backpacking can’t be simply used to describe going to your local outdoor shop and stuffing all your clothes in a rucksack instead of a wheely suitcase and getting your boyfriend Randy to carry both his and your bag.

★A long time is not just some of the 20 or 24 days holidays you get legally from your German employer.

★Travelling is not the thing you do when you have a Fench chauffeur drive you around Bali for 3 weeks of your honeymoon.

★When your shower bag weighs 7 Kilos and contains every type of mascara ever invented then you are definitely not going to be on the road long. (Ain’t nobody got time for that)

★You won’t have wifi everywhere you go, nor will you always have electricity so get used to the fact that you can post each and every check in on Facebook!

If you find that you fall into any of the above categories, then I’d like to invite you to probably stop reading at this point and go back to looking at “cheap” holidays on “urlaubspirat”. I’m sure you’ll be perfectly happy with the €600 half board trip to Greece for 6 days in September, flying 15 hours via a lovely stop over in Vienna.

If you don’t fall into those brackets, then listen up closely readers, as I’m going to tell you a little secret; the moment you land back to your hometown or country, there won’t be a fanfare. There won’t be a boyband playing all their greatest hits to welcome you on the runway. There might not even be someone to pick you up at the airport. Remembering some local currency should be a must!

For you; months have passed, seasons have come and gone, leaves have gone from green to brown to green and back to brown again! Timezones have changed so often your watch might have broken. But for the people left behind the days have blended into one and they can’t tell the difference between 2014 and 2015.

Their questions will revolve around what you think about their latest (in the line of many) girlfriend(s), or “hey have you heard about this ‘tinder’ thingy? – I’ve just been on 17 dates today”, or what beer you want to drink or what the legal age is in England to drink in a pub. Their news will involve some form of story about how they hate their job / coworker / or lack of proper remuneration for their hard work. Now you’ll have to be very careful here or else you’ll get dragged into the quagmire and it’s a slippery slope to despair. Soon you too could be wailing about your job etc and all those months spent travelling the world and seeing people happy to survive on a dollar a day will be put in a box in your mind and archived just like that Christmas tree in your cellar that you whip out once a year as a gimmick.

Be diligent and polite and remember to focus in the positives – you made the decision to go and only you had the experiences and the adventures. The people who are really interested will listen to you tell the story about you hanging upside down on a zipline across a waterfall in Laos with the same vigour and interest even after the second telling of the story – this time with more and more beer involved! The people who never got in touch whilst you were away will probably not be too shocked to see you return, they never noticed that you were gone because you left your jacket hanging on your chair the whole time – they may have just thought you were out having a smoke for a year.


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