Trip Recovery and Adjustment


At the moment, I’m living in a traveler’s worst-case scenario. After living in Belgium for seven months, I made the decision to return home because I couldn’t find a job overseas. Bills are looming and the lack of dollars in my bank account has become a burden. On the other hand, moving away from my Belgian partner and embarking into a long-distance relationship feels like a dangerous risk.

The ambitious traveler in me is mourning because I didn’t accomplish my ultimate goal while in Europe, which was launching my career in Belgium. Additionally, I have umpteen unanswered “What if?” questions for the future. However, I’ve quickly realized that dwelling on these questions is unhealthy and stressful.

In retrospect of my seven months abroad, I find that I’ve gained knowledge and experience that no price tag could do justice to. I’m a happier and healthier me armed with confidence and knowledge to make the next step from young and free traveler to one whom is mature and mindful.

The challenge for the traveler in ‘limbo’ is keeping the positive changes in herself and transmitting them into her everyday life at home, where it is easy to fall into old habits.

It will take time and focus but the growth that one experiences while traveling cannot be lost after arrival. This is why we all go traveling, to learn about the world and ourselves, for better or for worse.

I’m making numerous efforts to retain the person I am at the moment and forge forward, despite being back in my parent’s basement. For those in a similar situation, I have a few suggestions on how to keep mentally healthy and not fall into a pity party.

Surround yourself with friends and family who will encourage and support the ‘updated’ you.

Re-evaluate your previous goals but don’t give up! Make small adjustments and continue on, especially if you’ve been learning a language.

Acknowledge and accept your hesitation and sad feelings; then set them aside.

Let go of the past, re-adjust your previous notions of home, and move your focus to the present and future.

Be grateful. For the trip you had, whom you’ve shared it with, and what you learned.

Exercise! It’s a good chance for healthy reflection and the release of endorphins will improve your mood.

Take pleasure in the little things of home such as favorite foods and time with loved ones.

Keep in touch with friends abroad.

Write a journal to release your feelings and stress. Don’t only write on bad days though, the good days are the most satisfying to reflect upon.

Create a new goal for the future to start working it on immediately.

How do you adjust to life at home after a big trip overseas?


About Author

Meredith was bit by travel bug in 2009 and has been on the move since then. Her adventures started in Finland where she visited a Sami reindeer farm in Lapland, dogsled and ran in the forests of Finland, and then backpacked around western Europe. Later, she moved to Kenya for a Communications internship. She took advantage of her good fortune and went on safari in the Maasai Mara as well as explored beach paradise on a motorcycle. No matter where she goes, she never forgets about her home in Canada and greatly enjoys road trips across the Rocky Mountains and along coast of British Columbia. She is currently living in Canada working as a freelance writer and a communications specialist. You can follow her adventures and discoveries on curiousmeredith or get your tweet on with her @MeredithBratlan


  1. Meredith!

    Well written my friend. All of what you said to focus on in this time of transition for a traveler in a similar situation is so true! It is so easy to fall into a pit of despair when things do not go right, however…what is “right”? Good call and best of luck in what amazing things come at you 🙂

  2. Thanks Traci!

    I once read, ‘Don’t keep banging on a wall hoping that it will turn into a door’. Sometimes things don’t work out and it’s best just to roll with it. Something just as good or better might fall into place later. Plus, failure builds character! 😉

  3. Thanks for writing this! I’m going through exactly this, at this very moment. I landed back in the US after 17 months traveling abroad. It is a hard transition to make, especially in applying the lessons I’ve learned. I found it helps to write down the things I’ve learned and how I envision my life with these lessons applied. I know it will take time and a lot of slip ups to get it right, but I will never regret doing this trip!

  4. Thanks for reading Sherry 🙂 I can imagine you are going through a tough transition after 17 months, I was gone for 7 and I still find it to be a struggle some days. From my experience so far, I’ve found that keeping busy is the way to keep my sanity! I love your idea to write what you’ve learned and how you envision applying those lessons in your life. It’s so forward-thinking!

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