Mixed Feelings on Going Home?

I’m going home really soon. Incredibly freaking soon. Actually, as you’re reading this I am most likely suspended in mid-air somewhere over the Pacific Ocean between Beijing and Vancouver.

Hooray! Right? Sort of? I don’t know.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been vacillating wildly from super excitement to abject fear. I’ll see a picture of a hamburger online, you know a real thick juicy one, and I can’t wait to get home and order one myself. Then I’ll think about all of the responsibilities that come with being home, the idea of having to explain to a hundred and one people what I’m doing with my life, and I want nothing more than to run away forever. Then, in the middle of the night I’ll wake up and, just for a moment, think I’m in my childhood bedroom, and then the home sickness comes flooding in.

I think it’s safe to say I’m confused. And my confusion has onion-like layers to it:

On the surface I’m pretty psyched to head back to the states! I’ve been in East Asia for the better half of 9 months, and well, I’m pretty Asia-ed out. Don’t get me wrong- Asia is still cool, and there is a lot I still haven’t see and long to return to, but for now, I’m ready to retire my chopsticks. If you follow me on twitter or facebook you’ll keep hearing me say how I miss cheese, and while that’s mainly me just complaining, it’s also symbolic of a lot of things I miss about home that can’t be found in China. Cupcakes! Fresh air! Babies wearing pants!


Yes I'm talking to you creepy baby.

Part of me is afraid though. For the past 9 months I’ve been living a life that is truly and authentically me. I have been free of all of those historical restraints, of the person I once was. Will that all fade away when I get home? What if I forget who I am and all the things I’ve been working for? What if I fall back into “normal” life?

I think anyone who has been abroad, or even just away from home for a long period of time can understand this. I remember having the same tugging misgivings when I came home from college for the first time. The very fact that I have that fear makes me think I will probably do anything necessary to make sure that doesn’t happen, but the feat is still there.

Deep down below that is another primal truth: I miss home. I miss my family; a part of me feels terrible for missing out on all of their joys and sorrows over the past 9 months. I miss my cat, and my bed, and the other night I felt a deep and desperate longing for my old teddy bear. I realize that’s probably not the most evolved emotion, but there it is.

Ultimately though, I’m confident in my decision to head home. Going through my trip photos the other morning, I started to feel really amazed. You kind of forget when you’re living your life day to day, but I’ve done a LOT since September that I’m really proud of. I really do think that a rest is what is needed right now. The fact that it’s only temporary, a break before I start other projects (some of which you guys don’t even know about yet!), is comforting as well. I’m going home, but I’m still moving forward.

How did you know it was the right time to go home?

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34 thoughts on “Mixed Feelings on Going Home?”

  1. I felt the same way when I had to leave the States to go back to Thailand for summer break. I think these feelings are normal after you are living abroad for a long period of time. It was a really weird experience when I went back home the first time after spent a year in America. I mean, everything back home was pretty much the same, but my felling was changed. Sometimes I felt that I was no longer belonged there anymore!

  2. I’m curious as to how you’ve settled back in to your old life. I recently returned home after being away for almost 2 years. I’ve been home for a month now and still feel unsure of my decision to come back. Now I’m upsetting my family by expressing my feelings about wishing I was still in the UK and by planning my next trip so soon after coming home. But it’s tough trying to keep everyone happy and remaining true to ones self.

  3. Is really nice to read about other people experiences and know that I’m not alone feeling like this too. I’ve returned to the UK after 2 1/2 years away. It was amazing for a couple of weeks, seeing everyone and catching up. Now I realise that nothing has really changed, everyone is just a little bit older and more settled than before. It’s made even harder by the face that my boyfriend whom I traveled with and I decided to break after our trip. It was a decision made by both of us but I miss having him as my partner in crime and having someone who you can still talk about all the great times you had away. Coming back, working 9-5 and doing the mundane seems so difficult now, the question is what to do next?

  4. The thing I always miss most dearly about home is food. However my trips have tended toward the 2-3 month range rather than a year! Now I’m on what I hope will be a 1-2 year jaunt and I’m definitely worried about battling the more serious signs of homesickness.

    I think you did a great job, and good thing you already have your next adventure lined up!

    1. I don’t know what it is about the food but it’s definitely the most easily identifiable change to pinpoint.

      I missed home less on this trip than I really expected to though- when you are out in the world having fun home just seems like a distant memory.

  5. I haven’t even left for my trip yet, and I’m already freaking out about what I’m going to do when I get back. I think it’s because I know I don’t want to move back to LA….le sigh.

    I can’t wait to read about all of your other endeavors! Rock on chica!

  6. I love travelling, I really do. But there is no better feeling in the world than coming home and all of a sudden everything is right, even if just for a moment.

    I think in many ways, it will be easier for you than most. Your homecoming is temporary, merely a pitstop on the way to your next big adventure. For cubicle farmers like me, it can lead to deep depression,, knowing it is time to head back to the mundane.

    Enjoy being at home, and having the creature comforts of being able to spill out everywhere. Good showers, food that doesn’t cause your gastrointestinal tract to take a holiday of its own, and friends that know you better than you know yourself.

    I can’t wait to see what the next few months bring for you!

  7. Nostradamus bella

    I’m so happy for you, having to make big changes and challeging your fears is part of living life. Just think of how you might have been if you didn’t do the first step, where would you be? Just remember that part of you “is home” , part of who you are and who you became all started from home. So never never never be afraid to come back home,even if it’s to re-energize to again go back out there and conquer your (good) fears. I absolutely love your post, you explain true and honest emotions and feelings about your experiences in your never-ending journeys.

  8. Welcome home! If you are in DC-it probably won’t feel much different than parts of Asia where you have just been. It’s been hot as Hades!

  9. I’m still not going home for another three months, but I’m afraid that when I go back everyone around me will be like, “Really? That’s all?”

    I left for London planning to be gone a year…and now I’ll be coming home after just a little more than 8 months. So I think my big fear when I go home in September is that everyone will just be ready to shake their heads and go, “Oh that Mercedes. You really can’t stick to a plan, can you?”

    I mean I know the decisions I’m making and the changes I’ve made are absolutely right now me right now, but the need to have to justify myself….that makes me nervous.

    1. Yeah I’m coming home a bit earlier than expected as well due to changing plans. I think the key is to just remember that we know better what we’re doing with out lives than randos at home, and in the end we only have to answer to ourselves.

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