What’s it Like Coming Home After a Long Trip?


Kinda curious what’s it like coming home after a long trip? Well let me tell you, everything is the same, shockingly so but you’re slightly different, not so shockingly so. Seriously feels like you haven’t missed a minute, as a friend said it’s like you were gone in a weird time machine into some alternate universe and you reappear as though nothing has changed except everything has from your point of view…

Coming home is a time to unwind from a long trade which took you throughout the world. It’s also a time to realize that there is a whole world out there. When you’re out in the wilderness, you forget the comforts of camp. You also quickly realize why you left the camp because creature comforts mean very little to you. Give me a 5 star hotel or a tarp tied with 5 pieces of home made rope and I’m good to go. It’s where you spend your day that matters most, not where you spend your night.

Everything I used to put a lot of value on, seems to mean little if not nothing. It doesn’t matter if you sweep the streets or game wall street. If you’re living the 9-5 deloca you’re on the same treadmill and in the same traffic jams. You’re also going to the same very predictable outcome only with leather seats and slightly more leg room. Think of it as 1st class to economy on a flight. You’re all going to the same place, one way is just considerably more expensive and marginally more comfortable.

Your friends if they were your friends, stayed the same. Catching up with everyone is difficult because there is a time of unwinding where personally, I’ve become like an acne ridden 17 year old living at home. Sleeping all day and staying up all night doing stuff that really doesn’t need to be done, ever. Some people are married, some are divorced but most are the same only two years older… Also shocking how fast you go back into your “Hometown Self” whatever the $@#$ that means.

Looking at my hometown I see a finely tuned machine running on all cylinders. Remember being a tiny bolt in such said machine but as part of the machine, was hard to see the entire machine. Now I’m not even a small bolt, not even a drop of diesel in the engine. I’m simply a random gent sipping on a strong coffee looking at the machine run while moon walking with a mask on. It’s nice but different, very different.

My experience is slightly different than most because at anytime I could just book a flight and be gone again and will do so eventually. Some friends who recently came home say it’s depressing as they now know of all the craziness, excitement and uncertainty that’s going on RIGHT NOW elsewhere in the world but are caught in this very predictable routine. It’s like a dog who was let off the leash and had the time of his / her life attending meat parties then to be put back in a cage with an owner who is only home an hour after work and too lazy to take you for that walk but always gets after you if you have an accident, yeah that’s it.

Seeing friends and family is why I’m home. It took me 5 years to get the guts to finally ditch it all and still no regrets. Ottawa isn’t my home anymore, it’s my hometown. It’s the place you come to visit your friends and stay at your parents. Coming home has let me see that the decision I made was the right one. Despite the highs and the lows of an unstable lifestyle, it’s something that has to be done for some.

Heading to Boston next week then back here then not sure. Time will tell and have grandiose plans of seeing some other cool stuff in the region. It’s just odd how on the other side of the world you’re over zealous even to see random stuff you never heard of until yesterday yet at home, a 30 minute drive to something cool is like a snooze fest.

Stay well,


  1. Joanna Butler

    August 26, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Yep, can definitely relate to that on a smaller scale since my trips have been far shorter. I’ve long since ditched the commutes, but not the work funnily enough. Just work 99.5% remotely now. I couldn’t tell you where ‘home’ is for me, but I love the way you described Ottowa as your ‘hometown’ – Nottingham is like that for me and I’ll always enjoy coming back here for the same reasons.

    I have no idea where I’ll settle (if ever), but I’ll be making sure that I don’t lose that sense of perspective that you have now because that’s what life’s about. Lose that and I might as well be a hamster on wheel again.

    That said, I do enjoy the familiar. AKA knowing everything about a place. You can see many places but it’s much harder to really KNOW a place. Same with people/friends. IMO that’s actually a great part of life too.

    • Rob

      August 27, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      That is a great part of life as well. Love it here for the familiarity, family and friends. Settling is over rated anyways!

  2. Peggy McPartland

    August 26, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Like a dog who’s been left off his leash to eat meat patties! Perfect description! You’ve really captured what it feels like to come back into the routine.

    The description of hometown versus home really nails it. I’m heading out next spring for I don’t know where and I don’t know how long. I’ve wondered if I’d come back here. Maybe I will if I look at it as my hometown rather than home because I know it’ll no longer feel like home.

    • Rob

      August 27, 2011 at 3:40 pm

      Still feels like home as it is your home just it’s not your home if that makes sense!? Safe travels!

  3. Chris

    August 26, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    I found that I didn’t really have a ‘home’ to come back to when I first went on a long trip. My folks had relocated to a different house (sans room for me) while I was at college and I had basically drifted from share-house to share-house after that.

    It got to be that being ‘home’ in Australia felt like I was on a vacation from my home in South Korea.

    It’s only now, after having built a life for myself in one place and then left it – that I can really relate to what you’re saying here. Nothing much here had changed, but even after six months I felt like I wasn’t the same guy who’d left. It’s a surreal feeling.

    • Rob

      August 27, 2011 at 3:41 pm

      Definitely a bit of a transition. Still feel the same just different like the lens has been adjusted in focus or out of focus for that matter.

  4. Taffy

    August 27, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Well written.

  5. PHIL

    August 29, 2011 at 6:56 am

    good post rob !! you belong “out there” I dont ever think one can come back to “normal” life after the experience you just had.. Let alone wasting your life away spending nights at negative buddys house while knowing all adventures that could be had in numerous different locations.. And by the way you are right in saying that you dont even feel like a bolt in this fine machine… But what you have done is extracted yourself from this machine and are now part of an even bigger organism that we “bolts” cant even start to comprehend… Cheers bud keep on truckin!!!!

    • Rob

      August 29, 2011 at 8:15 am

      Even better comment. Not sure what I can say to that except well written. Tips hat, good sir.

  6. Scott

    September 1, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    having just recently discovered your blog, wanna say that I have enjoyed your posts and welcome back to North America albeit briefly!

    • Rob

      September 1, 2011 at 9:12 pm

      Thanks, NA has been treating me very well.

      welcome to SHABL

  7. Jerry Hingle

    September 2, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I haven’t traveled to the extent that you have, but I completely agree with your post. The analogy about your hometown being like a finely tuned machine is brilliant. Great post.

  8. Nomadic Samuel

    September 9, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    I can relate – had similar feelings upon coming home this summer. I’m now back in Korea teaching and finding it hard to adapt to rigid routines once again.

  9. Traveling Ted

    September 11, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I just came back from a small trip, and I feel this way a little bit. The longer you are away the more pronounced the feeling.

  10. Jamaica My Way

    October 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. Actually I have said this exact same stuff in a chapter in the book I’m writing….haven’t actually decided if I’m going to publish the book or turn it all into blog posts LOL.

    anyways, I felt the same way coming back. Only difference is that I’m not in that ratrace anymore so I can watch it from the outside. Thank GOD!

  11. Jacqueline

    October 16, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    After traveling the world for 12 yrs, I decided to try “settling” in Hawaii, a place I thought would satisfy my wanderlust cravings and detachment from mainland US. I stayed for 5 straight yrs only leaving twice to visit my hometown Baltimore. After much deliberation I decided to leave Oahu for 9wks, a time I thought would be long enough to spend quality time with family back east plus get a taste of South America for a month. I loved Oahu so much that even the thought of ever leaving even just for a week sounded so hard. I recently returned and am having such a hard time adjusting. Suddenly the place, the just as beautiful as ever before, seems so small and way too familiar. It is a hard transition. I so appreciate your post and the following comments. Glad I’m not alone.

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