The Downsides of Returning Home After a Long Journey

Jasper Johns Map USA

As much as a long trip away from home can be beneficial and serve as a catalyst for growth and change—there are a few things that you should be prepared for on your return.

I don’t say these things with a means to discourage anyone from traveling, the benefits of a long trip away from your routines, friends, and family to explore the world and yourself is something every man should experience when the need arises.

And the benefits have been discussed many times over in numerous different ways. What I have not seen mentioned much are the difficulties that you must encounter once home base is reached.

Back in a Routine

Two days after I pulled back into town, it was back to the working life. After two months of complete freedom and no schedule, it is not easy to wake up with an alarm, prepare to make presentations, lead meetings where people expect you to have a vision for the next quarter, and have many responsibilities. On top of that, I accepted another position in a field where I have not worked before and had to spend my evenings preparing for what that entails.

If you prefer to make your own schedule, life on the road is easy, but don’t expect the transition back to routine to be smooth. It is healthy in the long run but it certainly feels unnatural.

The Detox

While visiting new places, its not uncommon to spend many nights out meeting new people, smoking more cigarettes than usual, and partaking in the local libations. Most of my nights while on the road were booze-soaked, filled with exciting women, and stimulation. You might feel stir-crazy upon the return—I even got the shakes after my second night back without drinking. It’s a wake up call, but a much needed one. The good news is that you can get back to the gym, eat much healthier, and bring your body and mind back up to par with some healthy living.

Its not just the drugs that you’ll need a detoxing from. Every single day of a major trip is filled with new stimuli, adventures, and new relationships. That can get addicting and your mind may crave more input. Calming down and learning to appreciate being in your own bed again is something that takes work. I thank the gods that I live in New York and can ride my bike or get on the train and arrive in a neighborhood that seems like it is from a 1000 miles away. Find a way to wean yourself off of the endless excitement that a huge trip can bring. I’m still working on it.

The Girls

A lot of guys, including myself, run their best game while in a new place. The energy, excitement and eagerness to explore a new environment all add up to some serious motivation and good vibes. The girls respond to this, conversation is easy, and the liberating feeling of travel makes anything possible. The girls back in your hometown don’t see you as a novelty, they don’t want to hear about your escapades, and they just don’t seem as hooked as the females you meet while moving around.

Your game has to change again, and switching it up is sometimes taxing on the mind. Don’t get frustrated with your hometown girls though, its up to you to adapt to the environment.

You’ve Changed, Everything Else is Pretty Much the Same

After a significant amount of time in new places, you can’t help but adopt new ways of thinking, different patterns of behavior, and learn more about yourself and the world. You can return home with a sense of excitement, feel that you are a new person, be bursting with energy and ready to live a renewed life.

And then you notice that the people around you have stayed exactly the same. They don’t even notice the changes you have gone through and its impossible to convey your new sense of vigor. DON’T resent others for this, especially if you are young and still around your family.

The first time I took off to Europe for 3 months when I was 20, I came back and had to stay with relatives until I found a place of my own. They still saw me as the young rebel teen nephew I had grown up as but inside, I knew that my mindset had completely changed. This drove me crazy and I couldn’t stand being around them. Its not everyone else’s fault that you are growing, don’t get angry at them for it.

Now that I am older and understand how growth works, I come home from long trips and give minimal feedback about how they went in order to avoid the confusion, jealousy, and misunderstandings that would arise if I opened up. There are only a select few friends who I can really share my personal growth with.

The Fading Memories Rekindled

This is the light at the end of the tunnel of return. On long trips your mind is active, takes in everything with a thirst, and stores the important parts. There is no better way to get the most out of your adventures than by recalling them and writing them down. I have countless notebooks filled with travels from the past and they are a joy to read every now and then.

On this last trip around the U.S. I have total recall for most of it. Putting it down, filtering out the important parts and analyzing how they fit in the narrative is extremely rewarding. I would encourage everyone to keep travel journals, reflect on what lessons are learned (sometimes they are hidden until recollected), and document these most important journeys.


Proper travel is work and should not be easy, the best way to do is to give your all and make the most of it while you can. You can learn more about what you want out of life while on the road faster than anywhere else. It gives you a chance to be free from obligations, open up your mind, and think about goals with a clear head.

But don’t expect to come back home and witness the rest of the world has changed as much as you have.

About Goldmund

Goldmund grew up a wild-child and was constantly being disciplined. Using ancient rituals and game, he broke free from the shackles of his mind and the norms of this backwards society. He frequents bars in Brooklyn, mountains in Mexico, and retreats to the desert. His passions are nature and women.

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