Making the decision to move away from home is a tough one. You never know what to expect, there’s the possibility of homesickness and until you make that leap, you don’t know how you’ll cope. You have to weigh up all the pros and cons and decide what is best for you. You may hate it, you may love but until you try, you’ll never know. The hard parts about leaving and travelling are always highlighted but from personal experience, I have found returning home is harder.
I’m not a person who has anxiety. I feel anxious once in a blue moon when I have to do something nerve wracking and I’m incredibly socially awkward but for the most part, I am not affected by anxiety. Before I started this job three years ago, it affected me a little but this was more nerves of the unknown. Now I am fully aware of what I am getting myself into and leaving again is simple. Leaving home has now become the norm for me and whilst I am always a bit upset to leave family behind, I’m ok with it. However, returning home is another story.
This will be the third time I have left destination to return home for Winter. All season I look forward to going home, chilling with family, playing with the dogs, shopping in Primark and eating mum-cooked food. However, a week or two before I am set to return, that longing to return is replaced by anxiety.
Part of me still looks forward to going home and another part doesn’t want to return. It comes in waves, it won’t affect me constantly but at random moments I will suddenly become really overwhelmed. I will feel teary for no reason, I feel like my breathing is restricted, my palms become sweaty and my mind goes into overdrive. I can’t explain why I feel this way, it just happens.
I think the main reason for it is the idea of going backwards. Whilst I am away, my life moves forward at full speed but when I return home, nothing has changed. Life at home doesn’t seem to progress and everything is the same. It almost feels like that time you had away never happened and you’re back to where you were before you ever left. It’s an endless cycle of shooting forward with so much changing then returning home coming full circle back to the beginning. It feels like you dreamt all the adventures and imagined all of your personal growth. It’s hard to accept that it was all real and you’re a totally different person when you’re back at square one.
It’s difficult to talk to people when you return home. It’s all fun and games to start with in a flurry of catch ups but people get bored of hearing about your adventures. Those who have never left struggle to relate to you and the longer you talk about your time away, the more you watch people’s eyes glaze over. You start to miss the people you bonded with whilst you were away because they understand you.
The thing that has made this even worse is being in a relationship. It’s incredible and exciting and amazing which just makes leaving absolute torture. The heartbreak that one of you is leaving the other behind and even when you both return home, you don’t necessarily live close. Watching Ash’s plane take off at the end of last Summer shattered me and even when we are both at home, we live in different countries. It’s nauseating even thinking about separation.
And so for me, it’s harder to go back than it is to return in the first place. Of course I love returning and reuniting with loved ones but the closer it gets to the time, the more anxious I get and I feel claustrophobic within myself. I’m incredibly lucky to be in a position where I can live and work abroad then return to my family in the Winter but regardless of how appreciative I am of this, I can’t shake the anxious feeling inside of me. That’s why people who have travelled always want to leave again. They call it the travel bug but it’s really a longing to be in a place where people speak the same language. And not a verbal language but the language of people who know what it’s like to leave, change, grow and return home again. The people who can relate, understanding you and your journey. The people who also feel more lost in their hometown than a foreign country.
So, I’m feeling pretty anxious right now. Life is a rollercoaster and this is part of my ride.
All opinions are my own and just that: opinions. This blog post is not sponsored or endorsed in any way.