This is one of the most important step in a trip and we don’t talk about it enough: the return and the depression post travel that comes with it. Everybody knows and can feel it but we don’t see people talk about it that often on travel website. I am going to talk about it because I have been experiencing it since I am back in my home town. It has been three months and it is still there.
While we prepare a travel, either a long or a short one, we are exited by the new adventures that are coming. We imagine what we are going to do, what we are going to see, who we are going to meet. And then, we go back to the place we started from. And it is exactly the same as we left it. The friendships we have, the relationship with the family, the city we live in… Everybody is the same and it looks like nobody changed. It is like you never left. But we changed, we left and we are not the same. « Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving. » – Terry Pratchett. We might be happy to be back for some reasons but something is also missing: the life we had there. We enter in a kind of depression post travel that force us to remember what we did and the people that we miss, now we can’t see them every day. We look at the pictures and wish we were there again, at least for a while.
I am glad to be back because I couldn’t live so far away from the one I love. I met him in Montréal but he had to go back to France six months after we met. It was really hard for me because when you live with someone every day, their absence are more present. Though I am happy to be back, I miss my life there and the friends I made. My home town is very different from Montréal or Toronto (where I lived three months). You don’t have all the facilities you can find in those cities like coffee shops, Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Metro or Provigo opened even on Sundays. I am a freelancer, I design and create websites and I do it from home. In Canada, I used to go to the office or I worked in coffee shops. Now that I am back, I don’t have any other office than home. I don’t have any coffee shops around where I can work in. I have to stay at home, alone all day long. I can’t see my friends because I didn’t study after high school in my home town and everybody I know lives either in Paris, in Montréal or in Toronto. I have few left here but I miss being with my friends all the time. It is a strange feeling to not know where you belong. I can’t leave my love but I really miss my friends and the life I had there. You can ask why I didn’t go back to Paris then. That would be legitimate. The reason is that I don’t like living in Paris. It is suffocating. YES. There IS someone that doesn’t like Paris and says it. I lived there for seven years and I never felt safe. If you see someone smile in the street, it is probably a foreigner, a tourist or someone that lives on the countryside. Everybody runs everywhere. The streets are dirty. It takes at least half an hour to go where you want to go. Of course when you visit Paris, it is a beautiful city when you look at the architecture and you don’t really pay attention to little details but when you live there, it is a totally different story.
As I saw the end of my stay coming, I had to find a project for when I will be home. I knew that I would feel like that so I tried to anticipate. I decided to change my life in France, I didn’t wanted to “only be a engineer that made websites and webdesign”. I wanted more contact with people. I wanted to work in a coffee shop. That’s why I did a training while I still was in Canada to learn more about the Barista job. It got me exited about my return. Knowing that I was going to open a coffee shop was what made me wake up happy to leave Canada (well.. that and the fact that my boyfriend was there if I want to be honest, but anyhow). Knowing that helps me now that I am back. I am missing so many things from Montréal and Toronto but I know it will be bearable because soon enough, I will open it. I am working hard at it. Putting your mind in a new project is what makes the sadness easier. And trust me, you HAVE to find a new project. Except if you already have a job when you go back, you will have a LOT OF TIME to think again and again about your trip while you are waiting for one of the fifty CV you sent to give you an interview. If you don’t have anything else, it will make you go crazy. I am not saying you should open a coffee shop. I am saying you should do something you love. It can be painting memories, writing a book about what you experienced, open a blog, go to the movie theater twice a week (because in Canada it was too expensive), read books you never had time to read, learn how to speak italian or spanish… Or prepare another trip.
Once you started travelling, it is hard to stop. I want to go back on the roads, and that is what I will do before starting a new life. I have thought about it a lot and if I don’t go back on the roads now, I won’t be able to do it once I have my coffee shop or a house or kids or even a dog. More over, working holiday visa are for people under 30 and I have to face it, it will happen soon enough. It’s now or never.