After nearly 9 months of living and traveling in Europe, I’ll return home on Tuesday. I’m happy and quite fortunate to call the state of Oregon my home. I’m currently in The Netherlands and have been enjoying the change of the seasons with the turning leaves.
The cooler temperatures are a reminder of transitions and the next real adventure that’s right around the corner: retuning home.
I’ve been thinking more about the concept of home and what it really means. For me, I know deep down that home means being close to family and friends. I can see myself making home in another place other than Oregon someday, but for now I know that my real home base is in the Pacific Northwest.
Another One Bites the Dust.
The last time I returned home after being traveling for an extended amount of time, I fell flat on my face. You know that Queen song “Another One Bites the Dust”? Well that’s how I felt. I came home after walking across Spain and traveling to a total of 11 countries in 9 months without any plans or any idea as to what to do next.
Not this time.
I’ve been gone since the end of January and I’m happy to say that I’m seriously looking forward to being home. I refuse to have the same “Another One Bites the Dust” experience as I did last year. I’ve been thinking more about returning home and how to make it a positive transition. Here are my strategies I’m going to use as I’ll be returning home after living a abroad.
It’s time to process the good and the bad. Travel isn’t always perfect, so don’t romanticize all of it. But then again, think of the good. Think of the beautiful. Think of the not so beautiful too. Be grateful. Smile. That’s the nice thing about the long journey home, it gives you time to think and reflect before landing.
Do what feels good.
For me I know that keeping a level head and being happy means staying active. Whether it’s going for a long walk, running, yoga, hiking, or biking I know it’s essential to move everyday. I also know that eating Mexican food makes me feel pretty great too. Whatever it is, just make time for what makes you happy.
Be patient and be kind.
Don’t be a jerk to yourself, it’s a serious waste of time. I know there will be days I’ll want to get the next Portland to Amsterdam flight, but I’ll remind myself to be happy with where I am. Not only do I need to be patient and kind to myself, I also need to do the same with family, friends, ahem and fellow Americans too. It’s easy to change a lot when you’ve been globetrotting for an extended amount of time. It might be difficult to talk about things or even make sense of them. That being said, don’t be a jerk.
Whether it’s meeting up with a friend for a coffee, a weekend trip or taking a class. Just make plans. I’ve been called “a joiner” before, apparently that’s someone who joins groups a lot. Well I like groups! I like doing fun and interesting things. I’ve started making short-term plans for the days after my arrival in addition to long-term plans a few weeks in advance too. I like having things to look forward to.
Treat my home like a foreign country:
This is one of my goals. Wherever you are, it’s likely that you haven’t seen and done everything you can do. I know for a fact there are countless hiking trails I want to explore, cities I haven’t been to in Oregon, and neighborhoods undiscovered. Be a tourist in your city, go to the tourist office, take a walking tour. Isn’t that so much easier than taking a Transatlantic flight? Yes. Enjoying the local area is something that I’m looking forward to doing and sharing my stories here too. Here’s a few tips on how to treat your home like a foreign country.
Writing this down is one thing and putting them into action is another. I look forward to sharing my experience as I travel home in the coming weeks. Check back here for my upcoming Oregon adventures.
Written in: The Hague, The Netherlands
Updated: September 14, 2016