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It’s weird being home

Melbourne - Yarra

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.

Dave in the sea at Phi Phi

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.

Apparently not.

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.



  1. Reply


    May 7, 2012

    I am currently in this state right now. How do you get around it when you don't have a trip planned 2 weeks down the line?

    • Reply


      May 7, 2012

      It's tough ... I tried for years to work out a way to do it successfully when I returned home after several months away, and never really did. :(

  2. Reply


    May 7, 2012

    Could be a weather/latitude thing. When I lived in Seattle I had a friend up from San Francisco. She came in Autumn and remarked on the noticeably different quality and level of sunlight. Within a day she felt sleepy and lethargic. No wonder Seattle's such a big coffee town!

    • Reply


      May 7, 2012

      I think you're right ... lack of sunlight and warmth is probably the biggest issue. I'm just surprised how much of an effect it's having!

  3. Reply


    May 7, 2012

    I feel you bud......I could write a post like this whenever I come "home" from a trip. Chin up, I am sure Europe will be fabulous.

  4. Reply

    Marc d'Entremont

    May 7, 2012

    An honest post that speaks to all that love travel and make a living at it. Like Dave, I'm fortunate to always have trips in the near future and lots of writing in between. But, Clint, when I get that "stuck at home" feeling, I start exploring my own home region - Philadelphia metro area - as if I'm a visitor. Turns out, I end up being a visitor since it's amazing to discover what you never knew was in your own backyard - then write about it. I'll be following your Europe stories, Dave, since I'll be there on assignments for a month this summer.

    • Reply


      May 8, 2012

      I think that's a good point, Marc - you can get at least some of the travel buzz back by exploring your local area, even if it's not *quite* the same!

  5. Reply

    Antonio Matos

    May 7, 2012

    Hi Dave! Im Antonio from Portugal (Europe), I ve been reading your fantastic blog from some days ago. I just luv your entries and places\experiences you live!

    And you "live" in Melbourne. I think its a great city to stay :-)

    Now its a good time to visit Europe (time of the year)... warm temperatures - better if you re going to the south and with some nice beaches too).
    2 things you ll probably dont like are the maggots of tourists in some cities\famous places and the prices of almost everything (even with the crisis).... The cheaper country you ll probably find out is... Portugal :-)

    If you ll stop in Portugal let me now and i ll send you some good spots to go :-)


    • Reply


      May 8, 2012

      Totally agree about Portugal - I've wanted to get there for years! I'll be close (northwest Spain) later this month - I might try to get over the border for at least a day. One day, though, I'll be back for a whole lot longer...

  6. Reply


    May 9, 2012

    I've been there for sure. But it's a good feeling in a way because you aren't torn between home and travel, you know where you should be.

  7. Reply

    Well, at least you now know for sure that you should be traveling the world instead of being stationed in Oz!

  8. Reply


    June 7, 2012

    I love your blog.....long time reader, first time writer. I know exactly what you mean. Luckily, I choose to live & work overseas, and my travel extends from that. I only head back to NZ for Christmas for all the wonderful reasons you listed above - food, friends, family & climate(briefly). But now I know I'm meant to be away, and my life and plans are set on how to keep living abroad as long as possible. It's changed my view on everything.
    Thanks for sharing :)

    • Reply


      June 7, 2012

      Hey Jem - thanks for being a first time writer ;-)

      Yeah it's good to be home for a couple of weeks - but for me (and it sounds like, for you) the world is calling loudly. It's pretty hard to ignore...

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