I’ve been back in Melbourne for a few days after finally, reluctantly leaving Thailand. I’m only here for two weeks – just long enough to catch up with friends and family, deal with a bit of paperwork and head back to the airport, really. It’s only a short break.
Because my return is only temporary I don’t feel the same depression that I did last time I came back. This is a time of celebration, of drinking with mates, gossiping with my sister and cuddling my little nephew until he’s blue in the face. I’ve done all those things, repeatedly, and it has been wonderful … but I just can’t shake this weird feeling I’ve got.
I don’t even really know how to describe it. I guess I feel … lethargic. Like I’m in slow motion all the time. Every time I leave the house and go to do anything, my legs feel like lead and my brain seems foggy. It’s as if I’m permanently jetlagged – yet that wore off days ago.
The weather hasn’t helped – the temperature is half that of Thailand, less when it rains. It has done that a lot. Still, with cooler temperatures comes the chance to go for a run more often, and I was looking forward to hitting the pavement every day while I was here.
So far it’s happened once. For 20 minutes. The rest of the time I just can’t drag myself out of the house.
I’ve got a backlog of work piling up, and no motivation to do it. With so much travel planned for the six months, this is the last chance in ages that I’ll get to knuckle down and get things done… and I’m wasting it, day by drowsy day.
Even the thought of heading to Europe on Sunday isn’t doing much for me. I know it’ll be great when I get there, but right now I’m not feeling it. I just spent four hours trying to figure out the best transport options from place to place over the next month, and ended up with nothing except a headache.
It’s probably just a bit of what long-term travellers call reverse culture shock, and everyone else just calls the blues. After six months in Southeast Asia, being back home is taking some readjustment.
I miss the beaches. I miss my scooter. I miss the smiles, prices and street food. I was out for dinner a few days ago with a good friend, and I couldn’t help but notice that pad krapow gai was listed at $19. It was a buck ten at the night market last week, and the damn thing even came with an egg on top.
There’s no point griping about any of that – everywhere is different, and that’s the reason why I travel in the first place. Knowing that hasn’t made it any easier to come to terms with, sadly. I’ll probably finally get used to it about 10 minutes before Sunday’s boarding call. Or I won’t.
It’s not really a big deal, I suppose. I’d just hoped for something more. Not from Melbourne – this has little to do with a city that I still think is the best place to live in Australia. The issue is entirely mine. When I was planning what this year would look like, six months in Thailand seemed like plenty. More than enough. Surely I’d be ready to leave after that long in one country.
I fell in love with the place instead.
But hey, in a week I’ll arrive in Amsterdam, one of my favourite European cities. The next part of the adventure begins.
Maybe by then I’ll even be ready for it.