Friday, 28 July 2017

Adjusting to life after travelling

For the past few weeks, I’ve opened up a draft post to start writing about a restaurant in Soho, a cafe in Covent Garden...and then stopped. I’ve repeated the same action over and over again and I’ve simply put it down to being a little too tired or a little too, ahem, lazy. ‘You’ve just gotten a bout of writer’s block, Charlotte, it’s nothing new’ I’ve told myself, whilst reaching over for a bar of Dairy Milk and switching the Kardashians on..but over the past couple of days, I don’t think it is a block.

I think it’s not wanting to let go.

After arriving back in the UK after a year away, the first couple of weeks were a blur of hugs and tears, family and friends, trips and tales. People who have been in the same position in the past warn of preparing for the adjustment period, for the low to hit you, for the sense of ‘real life’ to kick back in.

Looking back now though, I don’t agree. It’s not the first couple of weeks you need to prepare for. Night upon night in your own bed is blissful, face to face chats with family are special, revelling in the home comforts you have dreamt about is just, lovely. It’s not those first couple of weeks when everything is novelty including yourself, it’s now.

It’s two months in.

I’m now in London. I live with my best friend, I have a job, I no longer have the niggling panic that my dog has forgotten who I am - in many senses of the word, I’m settled. I’m back on my feet. I’m in a very privileged position to have gotten to this point so quickly and I am very thankful but sometimes, sometimes I sit back and wonder if that year ever actually happened.

And I panic.

Where has the travelling me gone? I liked her. She gained confidence, she began to realise her worth, she, of course, drank far too much and made embarrassing errors but she was so carefree. She was free.

What if I forget things that happened? Really amazing times or special experiences? Did I really call Cape Town my home? It was all so blase, it was all so...obvious but now, now I want to grab those days and weeks and months and hold on to them so tight that the air is squeezed out of them.

Of course, once the taunting part of my brain settles down for a welcome slumber (can you just like, never come back?), I know that of course, those times are never gone, they did actually happen in actual real life. But once you’ve gotten back from a trip like that, you are quite literally re-building your life from pretty much scratch.

People have gotten used to a life where you catch up through a phone or a computer, and you’ve gotten used to that too. It’s about making space in your life again for more than just you and your travelling companion and people making room for you too. It’s not easy, adjusting to normal life again.

(I don’t call it entering the ‘real world’ again or adjusting to ‘real life’ because I don’t agree. You don’t think being stranded at the top of Signal Hill in Cape Town at night is real? Oh boy, it’s real all right.)

I suppose me now, writing this post, is adjusting. Acknowledging that I’m back but that it’s okay to give yourself time on some days to sit, to reminisce, to, well, be sad it’s over. And actually know that the travelling me hasn’t been lost along the way, I’ve just gotten used to this me now.

Sometimes I want to scream ‘this doesn’t maaaattteerrrrrrrr’ or ‘why do you CARE about this’, but I know it’s unfair. Sometimes I want to book a flight to Johannesburg for the weekend just to make sure everything is still there, that I didn’t just make this up in my mind, but I know that I didn’t. Sometimes, I just want to sit with my damn best friend and look at photos of ourselves and our friends we made and the food we ate and the places we visited and be damn self obsessed, okay.

I will always be so thankful for having had that time for myself. I know I’m a much, much better person for it and I’ve taken so many things from the good times and the bad. And now? Well now it’s time to take those experiences from the past and use them moving forward, in the present and the future.

Oh yes, and of course I have to plan my next trip, right?

Add me on Snapchat - charlottehall95


  1. thanks for shaing such an awesome article adjusting to the realms of life after being engaged in lots of travelling is always a problem thanks for sharing this informative article good job

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