I have officially started the grieving process. To really lean into the depth of what it has meant for me to leave Asia after 4 yrs to come back and live in the west again. Leaving the children. Leaving my relationship. Leaving an epic community and life I had intentionally carved out for myself behind. Packing up all my belongings to go and start all over again somewhere new.
It was an abrupt and premature move and I now find myself not only feeling completely uprooted but also out of place. Out of sorts. Out of energy and enthusiasm. Depleted. Defeated.
In so many ways it feels like I’ve gone back to where I started. Like I failed somehow, coming back.
I’ve heard it said that the hardest part of extended immersive travel is going home. I couldn’t agree more. But it’s not just because the trip is over.
After a long period of rediscovering life and self, going back to the place where you were raised, being around people with whom you used to heavily identify becomes something of a reckoning. Going back home means facing yourself. It means coming to terms with who you used to be, who you’re expected to be, and who you’ve actually become.
You’re not the same person who left however long ago, as much as people may look at you and want to fit you back into the box you left behind. It’s almost easier, sometimes, to play that role. To “get back into the swing of things” so that those around you are comfortable and at ease. Because you realise that though so much has changed for you, most people are comfortable with what they’re used to. With things being the same as always. Going back home means facing the hard truth—that you did leave everything behind. And that it’s only for you that nothing is the same at all. You can’t have the same conversations you used to. Or the ones you really want to have. No one around understands the perspective you have. Though they may be curious.
I see now why people keep moving. Or why they stay away for good.
Coming back is hard.
And I don’t know what else to do but write so I can begin to move some of this weight.
Because I am struggling.