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.