Post Travel Blues
As we began to near the end of our program in Morocco, it struck me that once the study abroad was over I would be left with a vacancy that would be hard to fill. After spending nearly four weeks travelling, amassing new experiences and learning exciting things, I was expected to return to “normal” life.
It is true that travelling changes you. Your soul expands to accommodate all the change. You are a different person when you travel, temporarily afloat of everything that ties you down on a day-to-day basis. Going back to that old life once again can be difficult and confusing. There are hundreds of unanswered questions in your head. You see your own culture from a different perspective than you did before (in something quite aptly called reverse culture shock), and you don’t quite know how to share your experiences with those who did not undergo what you did but you can’t stop talking about it and after a few days, your friends and family are tired of hearing about your travels.
As I travelled onward from Morocco to India for the rest of the summer, jetlag conflated my disorientation over my cultural identity and I found myself confused by simple chores and conversations. It has taken me a while to embrace this as the normal result of my travels. My mind and soul are still trying to absorb everything I saw, heard, smelt, tasted, and felt. A humongous task that will take some time.
And so, the best solution is to let myself slowly become one with my experiences, to accept and reflect on what I learnt, to be aware of how my perspectives evolved and be ready for the future. To my fellow study abroad travelers, I would give the same advice! When you are planning for your travels, you may not think to prepare for the least glamorous part of the trip: returning home. But you should remember that that might be the hardest part, and your soul will need time to soak it all in. Be kind to yourself once you return and keep time to ease yourself back into your “normal” routine!