“I just don’t get how you get completely stressed out with paperwork but being out there sleeping on a bench doesn’t bother you at all”
I don’t know what it is that makes me so nervous when I come back to my family and friends. I love it though. I really do. I’m actually really sad everytime I leave them behind, which is why I’ve decided to stay with them for a while.
But I just can’t cope with it. And I know a lot of travelers can’t deal with it either: the comments on your life, the fact that people think you are “coming back to normal”, the ridiculous amount of paperwork you have to fill over nothing, the supreme effort it takes to find a job.
Somehow, having a sedentary lifestyle is a lot more work, stress and money than being a nomad. To me, at least. And to many others.
As we were talking with my friends over this, I thought of a simple example of our daily lives:
TAKING THE BUS (for a traveler)
Getting up, going to the bus station, asking where the bus is. Waiting.
When the bus doesn’t show up, ask around, connect with people, find yourself a ride to that place, or find yourself going elsewhere with new friends.
TAKING THE BUS (for a sedentary)
Getting up two or three hours early, arriving early to the station, getting on the bus, texting friends and family that we are on the bus, double checking the departure and arrival time.
And if the bus doesn’t show up… it gets ugly. Then there’s the boring ride, listening to music and daydreaming.
Everyone chooses the lifestyle in which they feel more confident. But a traveler will never fit into the sedentary scheme, and vice versa.
However, here I am, having to stay for a while in a place I never chose to be my home. And I have to deal with it, and I have to convince myself that it is my decision and no one else’s. Because people around you have a job, maybe kids and all kinds of things you don’t. So unless we, travelers, don’t want to go mad, there are a few things we can do to make us feel better:
Find activities, join a class.
You have a lot of things you like doing. Choose some and join a class, meet new people, the same way you do when you are travelling. If money is a problem, trust your nomadic instincts to find the best and cheapest deal around. If someone knows about it, it has to be you, right?
Keep doing what you usually do
I mean keep writing if you are a travel blogger, keep taking photos if you are a photographer, etc. It’s easy to stop doing these things when you set down, because you don’t see the point in writing about something you don’t like or already know, or in going out and taking pictures of a landscape you’ve seen and photographed a thousand times. But keeping your main activity going while you are held down in a place will help you gain perspective, you’ll realize better why and what it is that you like in it.
Buy a guidebook
This was probably the best idea I’ve had! I found an old guidebook sitting on my mum’s shelf and I opened it. I read it as if it were a novel and I actually learnt a lot of things about the area. Things that were close from the house, some others that were a bit further. New challenges surfaced: what if, instead of borrowing X’s car I tried to take the bus? Or to go by foot?
Don’t let your instincts down!
Enjoy doing nothing
This is good advice, granted. But it’s also the most difficult to follow. We are used to doing something new everyday, to sleeping in unfamiliar places, meeting people all the time even when we don’t want to, in keeping track of a budget. Coming back to your parents or friends’ house is a huge step back. You’ll find yourself doing nothing until you find a job, and having to kill time when no one else is around.
Try to slow down. Enjoy spending a day on a couch by yourself like you would after a month of couchsurfing, enjoy the dishes you’re eating because you probably won’t have enough budget for the same kind of food when you go away again. Enjoy the fact that you can cross the country to see a friend on a weekday (and tickets are much cheaper) because you’re not working.
Enjoy the music in your room.
Enjoy your time there as if it were the last one, because you and I both know it won’t last forever.
And that’s what makes us smile 🙂
And you, what makes you smile? How do you cope with staying home?
Post your happy pictures on our Facebook page, or post your comments below!
Next for our fellow travelers: Changing critera, a guide for working travelers