I just got back from six months of travelling, studying and enjoying life abroad and find myself in the city that I call home, Berlin. What does it mean to be back? Am I back? Or am I just in transit before leaving to a new adventure?
Having been away for six months, which is compared to other peoples’ lives not a long time per se, I noticed a few things right away after stepping onto German ground: people are the same and nothing has changed. Sounds like a big adventure, right? I gave the whole ‘I am back’-thing a chance and ended up in the same cafés, under the same tree to write articles, walking around in the same area to shop in the same stores and meeting the same people that I have not seen for six months. This feeling of being back is something people and especially me cannot explain. I am still not sure whether it is good, bad or simple one of these normal feelings. What I know, however, is that I cannot put my life abroad into one answer responding to the question: “And, how was it?”. On the other side my friends and people I have not seen for six months can simply answer with: “Well, nothing has changed!” And then you end up in this awkward conversation of things that happened ‘at home’ and things that happened in your travel life abroad. Whereas your friends found a brand new Café, you found millions of amazing places in little cities or villages in the middle of nowhere between China and Nepal. Whereas your friends became babies, you got a new tattoo. And whereas your old High-School friends got married, you have 100 new Facebook friends, met people from all over the world and potentially fell in love with your surf instructor, the ranger on your trip or even the guy from the place you always got your coffee in the morning. And yet, when I try answering this four-word-question with a whole presentation of two hours I am asking myself whether it is offensive to share millions of stories with people that have not been to these areas or whether it’s a question of ‘sharing is caring’. Also, did I become this arrogant, selfish person that is simply bored by stories that, in my friends’ eyes, are entertaining but in my eyes simply ordinary. And then, why did ordinary become something boring for me? Do we, travellers, become a victim of our own lives as nomads? We cannot deny the fact that it is hard for both, people at home and the traveller, to include a person that has been away for a while back in the circle of friends and to adjust to these people and the life back home again. For myself I put on the challenge and believe that a coffee with a long, long friend can sometimes be better than 100 coffees with new friends.
Being back, at the same time, I am always asking myself, am I missing out? Or are my friends missing out?
However, isn’t it just two different lives that I am comparing here? I am not sure. Seriously.
There is this great thing about positive and negative sides of travelling and the nomadic life abroad. Yes, you meet a lot of new people. And yes, seeing the world broadens your horizon. But what about the people we ‘leave’ at home? Are we replacing them just because ‘new’ people are so much more fun?
I believe the phenomenon is a normal aspect of life. There are these people that are totally happy being at home. There is also these people that would like to travel but lack the money, time and even courage to do so. And then there is people like me, that just go, no matter what happens.
Dealing with the issue of losing people on the way is something I am still struggling with. Nonetheless, when talking to people who are exactly doing the same thing it is, apparently, a common issue. I still don’t like it though.
Still, it is not easy to stay in touch whilst you are away. It looks easy from the outside, since Internet does give us loads of opportunities, nonetheless being away, as like away away, Internet can become something far far away. And yet, giving it a try definitely puts some smiles on the faces of the people left at home.
Lastly, what cannot be changed is the fact of ‘changing’. I said before, travellers live different lives to people at home. They experience different things, meet different people and in the end do become slightly different. However, when being back home and finding yourself in the good old Café next door with your good old friend, don’t you feel like being the exact same person again that you have been before? Well, yes. Nonetheless, I will my pack my stuff and leave again.