After living in China for two years, coming back to the UK was daunting. Everything seemed different. What if we couldn’t find happiess in our new location? The same anxious, strange feeling had happened before – we had spent 3 months travelling back in 2013 and, on our return, we couldn’t seem to quite fit in.
Reverse culture shock is a real thing and can make you feel uncomfortable, anxious and worried. So here is how you can overcome reverse culture shock on your return to home.
Accept you have changed
One of the worst feelings about returning home is that feeling that everything has changed. The Yorkshire tea feels strange in your mouth and the old lady at Tesco just seems so different. It is time for you to realise that things may have changed but nothing has changed as much as you have. They say travel broadens your mind and that is bound to change who you are. Accept that and spend time with the people who love the new you.
It’s not all about you
We have all stood there listening to that backpacker listing off their countries and experiences and we have all wanted to eye roll or make a sarcastic comment. BUT you are that person too! Yes, your travel experiences were amazing but no-one cares. The likelihood is that none of your friends or family back home can relate to the experiences you have had back home.
I remember coming home from Cambodia and telling my mum about the amazing temples we explored and the wonderful locals that taught us how to make traditional Khmer dishes. I distinctly remember her reply; “When we went to Benidorm, your dad and I tried a new Chinese place”.
Remember your travels
Just because you are back home, it doesn’t mean you have to forget your past life. Share your memories with family and friends, get those beautiful pictures printed on pictures or even mugs with Printful UK and never forget the wonderful time you had in a different place in the world.
You will likely find that, during your time away, you and your friends have drifted apart. One thing that will help you ease your time back at home is by keeping connected. Firstly, whilst you are travelling, stay connected with your friends. It can be hard but with better WiFi around the world, take some time to connect. Equally, when you return home, stay connected with the friends you made during your travels. When you are missing your travels, catch up with your travel companions, hear about their experiences and stay connected to that side of your life.
Travel can feel like your whole world and you can feel lost when it’s over. Once you’re home, plan your future, plan what’s next. Decide what it is you want to do next and make a plan on how you are going to do it. It can include travel but it also needs to look forward to your future.
We travelled across Asia and on our return, I decided to go into teaching. We stayed in the UK for a few years (apart from a summer holiday bopping around America) but realised we wanted to travel more. Now, we work at International Schools (first China, next Bangkok) and travel whilst we can.
Keep yourself busy
The worst thing you can do on returning to your home is to sit inside a house and do nothing. Stick to a schedule (whether it is study or work), catch up with friends, try new experiences and have fun.
Write about it
We loved our travel so much and wanted to tell everyone about it. Instead of royally annoying everyone with my endless stories, I decided to write it down – and so Creative Travel Guide was born!
Explore your own country
Now that you have seen the world, it’s time to explore your own country. Explore the places on your doorstep and if you have started a blog, write about them! I love hearing that my readers are now interested in visiting places like Eastbourne and Brighton!