I realised the other day it has been over five years since I left Australia, which aside from making me feel SUPER OLD, makes me realise how far I have come since then. Coming back to the UK after nearly two years of epic adventures down under was a HUGE adjustment and I pretty much went through all of the emotions. It is all fun and excitement before you go off on a massive trip like that but what no one tells you is that coming back is a total bitch. Adjusting back to normal life is hard. Really bloody hard. I went through an whole grieving process after coming back from Australia which sounds ridiculous but anyone who has experienced this will probably know exactly what I am talking about.
Post Travel Blues is a real thing!
It is not exaggeration to say that when I returned from Australia in 2012 I was devastated. My last month in Sydney was filled with an impending doom about returning back to life in the UK. This beautiful city had been my home on and off for a year and a half. I had made friends there, I had a life that I really didn’t want to leave behind. I saw other backpacking friends get visas that allowed them to stay in the country but this was not an avenue I could pursue at that point in my life due to personal reasons. So that was it. My working holiday visa had come to an end and I had to leave and after a stint around South East Asia I returned to the UK. We moved into Carl’s mum’s house in Doncaster to begin the process of settling back into our UK lives.
At first it was all fine, moving to Yorkshire was an entirely new experience for me and for a while I was distracted by things like finding a new job and catching up with friends and family I hadn’t seen in nearly two years. Everything was shiny and new. Then it became apparent that life in Yorkshire would never be as exciting as life in sunny Sydney. Everything felt boring and monotonous, and I longed to get my backpack on and head off travelling again.
Now here is the thing, I know that my life in Sydney was not real. What I mean by that is, even though I was settled in one place for months at a time and had a job, I was always just saving up for the next adventure. There were no real responsibilities. I wasn’t paying a mortgage, I had no bills and the only real outgoings was the rent for my hostel. Life was a blast, I would go out drinking with friends I had made in my hostel most nights and rock up to work with a hangover because hey, if I got fired there would always be another temp job (I never did get fired in case you were wondering!). When I wasn’t based in Sydney I was on some epic adventure in the middle of the outback. I squeezed a lot of once in a life time experiences into a relatively short space of time. What made matters worse is I am one of those people who likes to reminiscence and I always looks back at EVERYTHING with rose tinted glasses, that is just how I roll. However, despite knowing this, I still struggled to accept my life back in England. I would get upset whenever I thought about all the adventures we had. How easy it was to make friends. How there was always someone who wanted to do something exciting. Life in Doncaster felt very limiting in comparison!
At it’s worst it got to the point where I couldn’t watch anything to do with Australia (not even Neighbours and Home and Away!!), I couldn’t even read blog posts about people travelling/moving there because it made me so sad. If people I knew were travelling there I would get jealous and a upset. Obviously I never showed anyone how I was feeling because at 27 I was a little too old to be throwing jealousy tantrums! In a way it was almost like going through a break up and only time would make it better.
Focusing on the positive of life back home
Five years on I can say I no longer feel quite a strongly as I used to. It has to be said that deep down I am a bit of a nomad so I do find myself getting itchy feet and wanting to up sticks and leave everything again and I am quite sure that is exactly what I will do at some point in the future. One thing that actually helped me was going back to Sydney for a holiday back in 2014, it sort of made me see that I could never go back to the way things were. Everything had change, so many of my friends didn’t live there anymore and it felt like a different place. Don’t get me wrong, if someone could magic me back there to live I would go without a hesitation. I have however realised life is what you make it and actually there are lots of positives of living back in the UK. The biggest one being that I can travel relatively cheaply to lots of places in Europe, something that I wouldn’t be able to do from down under. I focus on what I have hear and now and how I can make the most of it which has allowed me to move on.
Like I said earlier, I would still love to move back to Sydney permanently but now my life doesn’t depend on it. I have realised I am lucky enough to be able to say I spent a bit of my life living there and exploring Australia, something which not everyone can say they have done.
Have you been on a life changing trip before? How did you adjust to life back in the real world?
Why not read more about my adventures in Australia?