During the 27 months that I spent living and travelling around Asia I had a lot of time to speculate about returning home. It was a common topic amongst fellow travellers and migrants; many had been home at some point and grimly recounted the adjustment issues that they suffered. Their woe painted my image of home, and I began to agonise over reverse culture shock. The possibility of no longer fitting into the place that I left, and consequently feeling isolated loomed over me. I sought out blogs that narrated tales of bleak acclimatisation in a place that was once normal. When the time finally came for me to return to the UK I was torn between ecstasy and anxiety.
I really shouldn’t have distressed myself about returning home because it hasn’t been anywhere near as bad as I imagined. My family and friends are still here, and it feels like I’ve only been away for a week. We have so much to catch up on; many of them are starting families or settling into homes and it’s lovely to see their lives unfolding. Living at home is not as bad as people make it out to be; I get to be around the people that I love and have missed so much. Also, England has many special quirks and so much beauty that I was blind to when I lived here, but now my eyes are wide open.
Of course I miss lying on the beach and spending balmy nights drinking local beer. I yearn for the butterflies in my stomach as I sit on a long bus to a new, unexplored town. I’ve scattered my heart like Hansel and Gretel along the roads that I’ve wandered. I find myself feeling homesick about so many things, because I love a multitude of places, but really there’s no place like home.
If your homecoming is approaching and you’re starting to feel anxious, don’t believe all the negative stories you hear!