Keeping your spirits high between vagabonding journeys

One of the most counterintuitive challenges of vagabonding is the inevitable return home. Indeed, as nice as it can be to trade in your passport and backpack for a familiar bed, hot showers and a fast internet connection, the transition to a settled life can be, well, unsettling. I dedicate an entire chapter of Vagabonding to the “re-entry” process, and recently veteran vagabonder Newley Purnell chimed in with some “coming home” strategies in Transitions Abroad.

In his article, entitled Beat the At-Home Blues, Purnell talks about the vague depression he felt after returning from a two-year stint teaching English in Ecuador and Taiwan. “It wasn’t simply that I missed living abroad,” he writes. “On a deeper level, I felt that my time outside the country had changed me in a fundamental way, and that I was now caught between my travel-centric lifestyle and my old life rooted in America.”

Newley suggests following tips for “beating the at-home blues”:

1. Start planning your next trip.

2. Surround yourself with international influences.

3. Seek out adventures close to home.

4. Draw on the skills that helped you adjust when you were abroad.

5. Be positive and don’t romanticize.

“In the end,” he writes, “it may help to think of the at-home blues as the price one pays for enjoying a lifestyle rich in travel. When you focus on the moment when you will finally embark on your next trip, when freedom and the unknown are once again made palpable, a simple downturn in spirits will seem all the more conquerable.”

Purnell’s full article can be found online here.

Posted by | Comments (1)  | November 18, 2005
Category: Travel News

One Response to “Keeping your spirits high between vagabonding journeys”

  1. Andrea Anko Says:

    I loved Purnell’s excellent artice. It is very timely, because I am experiencing some of the at-home blues right now.

    One of my problems is that now that I am back home, I have fallen back into my shy and somewhat withdrawn ways. I intend to combat that by taking Purnell’s advice. One of his suggestions, to draw on skills that helped you adjust when you were abroad, is a good start. While I was away, I decided to take the attitude, that every new place I went, whether a pub or a hostel or even a ride in a cab would be a place filled with people who were all my new friends–I just hadn’t met them yet. Not only did that attitude help me break through what would have been crippling shyness, but it made my experience so rich–because it really worked! I made myself open up and talk to people I otherwise would not have, and lo and behold–they became new friends!

    Another suggestion of Purnell’s was to surround yourself with international influences and other travellers. Luckily I work with a young and adventurous group of people, many of whom have and intend to travel. Also, here in Philadelphia it is very easy to surround myself and participate in the culture and music of Ireland. I am going to continue to push past my shyness and go out to the pubs more than I have been for listening and playing the music. If I could play in a pub session in Ennis or Doolin with no fear, I surely should be able to do it here at home!

    All of this and Purnell’s other suggestions will help get me excited and thinking positively about my next adventure to Ireland and beyond!

    Andee (Andrea)