Is it Harder to Come Home than Go Away?

Travelers always say “it’s harder to come home than go away” and I can’t help but think to myself, after they’ve gone through this amazing experience do they remember what it was like to leave everything behind?  Were they just really trying to escape their lives?  Or do they actually know what they are talking about and I just can’t see it now?

I know deep down that “nothing at home will change”, “most of the people in your life will be doing the same things”, and the place you came from won’t feel any different than where you left it.  Post-travel depression is real but I’m making the case that so is pre-travel depression.

I still think about my decision everyday to change my life and travel, especially now that we are entering our less than final two weeks in Chicago.  I don’t question or doubt it anymore as I have in the past, but I definitely realize that I experience some absolute highs and some pretty strong lows. My few posts up to this point have been really positive and hopeful which are true feelings and beliefs but I have also been going through some periods of feeling very sad and overwhelmed.  I think it is important for me to showcase these feelings because although completely changing your life and leaving your old world behind is thrilling and freeing, it isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. Even though my blog is about painting my spirit gold and finding things that make me happy, I want to be completely real.

Now, by writing this post, I am most definitely not asking for pity – oh poor girl who gets to travel the world!  I just want to relate to anyone else who may have been in the same situation and maybe help prep others for the future.  Also if anyone has advice on how to deal with this so far let me know because I haven’t quite figured it out yet!

One thing that is really difficult for me is to hear people making plans for a time in the future when I won’t be there. I care about what my friends and family are doing, even if it is all the same,normal things that we did while I was here!  Whether it is my friends wondering about plans for New Year’s Eve, my coworkers talking about their company trip in February, or my parents and in-laws talking about what they are doing for the holidays is all difficult for me to stomach.  I have FOMO (fear of missing out) to the extreme.  I know I choose to not be here for these events in the future but it still doesn’t make it any easier for me to know that I will be missing out on fun times and memories with the people that I love.  Leaving them is easily the most challenging part of this whole journey.

Right now I am also struggling with focusing on the trip but also enjoying my time here.  I feel like I should be enjoying my time left in my apartment by relaxing and drinking wine on the balcony, going out for more drinks during the week, forcing myself to walk around the city, asking my friends to hang out more than I do.  Then I feel torn because I don’t want to spend a lot of money to save for the trip and I should be checking items off that to-do list that I previously posted about.  I just always feel that I should be doing more or that there is something I’m missing and will realize or regret later.

Lastly, overall I am sad about closing this chapter.  I am comfortable in Chicago. My best friends (this includes my cats) are here.  My job is here.  My life is here. I know where the grocery store is, how to ride the public transportation, and just how things function in general (it took me a long time to get there).  Not only am I comfortable but I like so many things about my life now that it will be difficult to leave.  I was laying in bed the other night, cuddling with one of my cats and I just started to cry.  She was just laying there purring and I couldn’t help but miss her already.  Those mundane, every day great things that I take for granted, I’m paying more attention to now because I know how much I will miss and appreciate them while I’m gone.

I am a very sentimental and nostalgic person almost to a fault.  Letting go of the past is very difficult for me (seeing as it took me approximately 3 years to be okay with the fact that college is over).  The silver lining to this pre-travel depression is the hope that by painting my spirit gold in the next year or so will help me to continue to not only appreciate my past, (and I realize that this is VERY positive thinking) but to more fully enjoy my future.  I hope to not feel that post-travel depression so strongly when the the next chapter is over.  I’ll let you all know how this pans out next year!

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