Reverse culture shock… counting down the days

This time of year for me is the wind down to my next trip. I don’t really exist in my own country for the month of August because I prefer to work during Christmas/New Years when most people take a long summer holiday with their families, and take my holiday at the end of July when I can’t stand another day of Winter in Wellington. It works well for me, but I notice each year for the last 5 years (since becoming a traveller), I start to feel incredibly run down and out of place from about June until it’s time to get off this island.

Some time ago I was chatting with my Dad about my travels. He made a comment that I must be so brave if I can travel alone to countries that rarely make it onto other peoples must do lists. It was in this moment that I explained that setting foot on foreign soil and forcing myself out of my comfort zone is not the difficult part. I have no real fear or feeling of bravado when I’m wandering alone in the Middle East or Manila. The struggle for me come when I return home.

When you challenge your mind well outside your comfort zone and force yourself into situations where you’re totally reliant on yourself, it teaches you to be very adaptable and humble. Your mind grows and embraces new cultures and religion, and I no longer have a concept of right and wrong… there is only perspective. But the more I travel, the greater the gap between myself and the people around me back home become. This feeling is a much greater challenge than fumbling your way through a language you don’t understand in a country you’d only dreamed of.

So, it’s that time of year again. I’m run down, my gypsy soul is desperate to get off the island and I’m struggling to relate to people as they struggle to relate to my wayfarer ways. But, there are just 24 more sleeps until I take my break. This time to Thailand, Russia, Oman, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur. This trip is a mixture of solo travel and adventuring with a friend.

While it feels at times that things no longer fit as easily into place, i wouldn’t change my lifestyle for the world. I am very lucky to have a life that enables me to travel the way that I do, while being a student and working full time in a good job.

Bring on the next adventure!

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