This is a topic I’ve largely wrestled with the past three years — how to adjust being home after travel? It seems that most of the times, at my best effort, it feels like I’m worlds away from being integrated back home. Spending two to three weeks of time on the road where work soaks up much of my energy, it’s hard to walk in the door not feeling depleted. So with a little bit of research, trying this and that, I’ve nailed down what I know will work for me.
A few emails came in, and one stood out to me. In it said, “I spend two weeks traveling where life feels in complete contrast to my life at home. When I get home, it feels shocking.” I know the feeling. Culture shock, habit shock, and everything else between that can fill into the cracks of shock. So with this post, I want to dive into what I’ve found works even if it’s after a two day trip or being gone for a month. I want to emphasize that this works for me and may not work for everyone, and at the same time, there’s principles that can be applied in different ways.
How To Adjust Being Home After Travel
Embrace that it’s different.
There’s no need to downplay that being on the road is contrasting to life at home. Different responsibilities arise and disappear, schedules are different, and if you’re staying in a hotel, you don’t have to make your bed. Embrace it! It’s okay that it feels strange to be back home. I remember coming off a trip from Taiwan for two weeks, where culturally it couldn’t be more different. It felt so weird to be in the US. I fought it hard and I realized later, what if I embraced the fact that being away does have an impact?
Start the morning with intention.
If you’ve ever traveled, you know there’s something about the morning. Waking up somewhere new, different ways to start the day pending where you are, and so on. When I get home, I try to wake up a bit earlier, to add in intention. I usually focus on setting out tasks and goals for the week, like getting back into routine and what I want to conquer in terms of work or progress. Be intentional on how you adjust being home after extended travel.
Take care of your health.
This is a big one for me! I come back from Europe every time, feeling confident that a pastry and a coffee is sufficient for my breakfast and that I can continue eating that way. The truth is, my demands at home are far different than my demands while vacationing — I need more protein to get through my day. Working out, taking probiotics to adjust my ph balance after eating wildly different, and adding in fresh juices are my go-to.
Don’t be lazy about kicking jet lag.
Yes, I used the word lazy. Ever get home from an international trip and decide to fall asleep super early and then it seems to take an entire week to get back in order? Or you wake up in the middle of the night and decide to look at your phone and think, well tomorrow night will be better? Don’t do it! I have two golden rules (and these apply upon arrival as well). The first is, I never pick up my phone in the middle of the night and never get out of bed before 6 am. The other, I don’t go to bed before 9:30 pm. It’s a running joke when Travis picks me up at the airport — I try to do as much as possible to distract myself to stay awake until 9:30.
Reflect and integrate.
Something that I’ve recognized to be important for myself is taking in the lessons I’ve learned on the road and integrating it into my daily life. We’re constantly learning and growing as humans and something about travel has a way of bringing these into the light even more. I jot down notes, I reflect on the memories, and find that if I can integrate with intention, I haven’t lost the sweetness of the trip I enjoyed.
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