Anyone stuck in the cycle of saving big and traveling big knows the pangs of coming home after a long trip. The highs and lows’ll make your head spin.
How To Deal With Reverse Culture Shock
Avoid Value Judgments: Not better, not worse, just different
Reassess the Meaning of Beauty: We tend to seek beauty high and low while we’re nomading, and slack in this department while sedentary. Remember the mind state you had while traveling that heightened your awareness of the things you like. Try to find that head space while you’re visiting home.
Explore Your Hometown: This one goes with the last point of taking your brain home with you.
Learn What You Took For Granted: Running water, reliable electricity, easy (same language) conversations, and relatively less governmental corruption are great things.
Create a New Routine! Routines may break our core creativity and excitement, but they’re particularly important if you have to settle in and start making money again (it’s only temporary anyways, right?) Don’t fall back on old patterns, break out and make new friends. Keep your friends who embrace the changes you’ve made for yourself, and seek out new friends, especially other travelers in your area. You’ll probably have a lot in common with them.
Share Travel Stories Sparingly: What you’ve been through is a big deal in your world, but to most people, it isn’t. If your stories meet glossy eyes, change the subject. You’ll know when someone’s interested, and that’s the right time to share.
Remember Why You’re Home: There is a reason for it, isn’t there?
The main reason for coming home is also the richest: reconnecting with the fam.
But the first few days of being a foreigner in your own country are hectic:
Hold up, everyone’s speaking English?
How can cars be so enormous and traffic so orderly?
These crazy prices are real. Stop converting to dollars!
Especially when landing in da Souf: Why is everyone so FAT!!
Some (moronic) people expatriate purely for escape, as if running from who they really are. Coming off the highs of intentional travel and coming home is an asskicker, but it’s essential for maintaining balance and staying grounded. What’s a tree without roots? We got to get back and freshen up on our own cultures from time to time.
Some people say America has no culture. First off, functioning societies don’t exist without culture. It’s impossible. Second, the diversity and history of the experiment of the USA are amazing. And finally, I agree that greed and glamor are on the upswing here, but there’s a lot to love in the spirit of self-aggrandizement. So long as you got a trace a brain in your head and try to offset your negative impacts on the world, then go ahead and stock up on boats, SUV’s, electronics, get rich quick schemes, and infomercial junk. BUT, the more you take, the more you should probably give back.
Coming from the West, homecoming’s a time to count my blessings. After meeting so many people in east Asia with American Dreams, I’ve had to take a second look at the things I’ve taken for granted in the heartland. Running water, hot showers, sit-down toilets and toilet paper have suddenly taken on a new meaning. American civil society is fun as hell, and there’s no doubt that it’s well-ripened, if not past its prime…
To my friends with American Dreams, wherever you may be: every place has its problems. My country experiences a mindless devotion to total work, something like a money cult that’s probably only rivaled in Japan and South Korea. This IS something that I like to escape because there’s a lot more to life than helping rich people get richer by selling my precious time.
You can earn American bucks here, but you gotta spend ‘em too, and they’re declining against the rest of the world’s major currencies! Quite a paradox. Especially for us.
That’s why it’s high time to embrace the New American Dream.
It’s a pleasure to be back home, but my feet are the new masters of the universe.
All I need to do now is realize where I wanna be before I’m enchanted out the door yet again with caution thrown to the wind. The best adventures are left to chance aren’t they? I can already feel another walk-about coming on.
How do you deal with homecoming and reverse culture shock?
By economic necessity I’m back to total work (for now!)