When you’re embarking into the unknown the excitement is overwhelming but so too is the fear… for the most part our days, weeks, months are pretty much dictated by our jobs, relationships, time zones ect so when all that goes out the window the emancipation can bring discomfort and then so too can the inevitable return to it all.
In this post I want to talk with you guys about the reality of leaving your ‘normal’ life for 2 years… and the hardship of returning!
Before I actually make a concrete booking the thought of travelling was nothing but exciting. I guess a part of you still thinks it mightn’t happen so, when that first flight is booked & your notice to work is handed in those mixed feeling start to appear!
I was lucky in that those feelings never equated to more than 10% of my forward thinking but the sudden ‘what if I end up in dangerous situations’, ‘what if I can’t get a job when I get to Australia’ & all the in between creep up on you when you have a date to look forward to.
Fundamentally, the hardest part about leaving for me was simply the fear that something tragic would happen at home while I was away without a phone for immediate contact.
That I would miss major social occasions with my friends at home; when we set off our group of friends were still partying 3 or 4 nights a week so FOMO was a major thing for me despite the fact that I knew rationally I was heading for more exciting experiences than just another night out!
I worried that I wouldn’t get nursing work when I arrived in Australia despite doing my utmost to secure my registration before I left. I worried that elderly family members or pets would pass away while I was gone leaving me feeling guilty that I wasn’t there.
I was concerned that I mightn’t enjoy myself but would feel too proud to come home or, with a leave of absence from work & some of my closest friends gone I’d feel that I had ‘nothing to come home to’.
I had thoughts that we wouldn’t get along as a group in such an intense situation… I had traveled for long periods with all 3 of the group I went with but we hadn’t all done a trip just the 4 of us; what if our dynamic was off??
One of the hardest parts about leaving was packing; trivial in the grand scheme of things but trying to decide what you’re going to need every day for the next 2 years of your life is tough when I still forget to put basic things in my handbag for a day out!
It was hard to quit my job, sell my car & get rid of almost all of my clothes… it was hugely liberating but, in a society where you’re valued by your possessions it felt very strange to have pretty much none.
The ‘fear of the unknown’ in general. People often recoiled when I told them I was walking away from my life, booking a one-way flight and planning a €20 a day budget to do it all on. I knew nobody to use as a point of reference & the fear of how we’d just bloody get it done without dying or running out of money in the first week was a concern!
I feared that the logistics of ‘settling’ home such as getting a car/job/place to live would be difficult when in fact they were simple. Coming from setting up a new life on a different continent with no idea how to start looking for letting, inquiring about jobs ect made the return home seem easy by comparison.
You take for granted so many things like simply knowing where suburbs are when looking for a place to rent or even knowing the name of sites that advertise rentals! We had none of that in Oz so this all seemed like a breeze when we came back to the emerald isle.
One thing I hadn’t anticipated was the fact that some friends had completely changed in the 2 years I was gone. It was that 24-26 age where people do settle down but, while I had anticipated a change in myself from travelling I actually saw a bigger change in friends who had done very little different in their lives in the time we were gone.
In hindsight it was naive to think that we’d be the only ones who were different after 2 years but this just genuinely wasn’t something I’d anticipated.
Another really hard part about coming home was the sense of ‘what now?’ I knew I’d go to college after school, I knew I’d travel after college but now that my life plans up to the 26th year had been realised what was I supposed to do? What was the next step? (Thankfully I started this platform which has gone further than I ever could’ve imagined!)
If you read the last post you’ll know that my dog of 17 years died a few hours before I landed home which was obviously a very hard start to my home life.
I missed the day-to-day unfamiliarity I’d gotten used to while travelling. In some ways it was amazing to return to the ease of knowing the way around your surroundings and not having to open every conversation with where you’re going/where you’ve been but once the novelty of comfort wore off there were feelings of disenchantment (which thankfully didn’t last as I ensure to make my life in Dublin as adventurous as possible!)
My sister had moved to Australia & my parents had moved to the Aran Islands… it was strange to return to my home city where I no longer had any immediate family.
Well there you have it guys. To keep this post as authentic as possible I sat down to write it on a whim instead of any pre-planning…. that way I figured it would only be the most prominent parts that would come to mind!
I really hope you guys have enjoyed the travel series, it was amazing to reminisce and share this time of my life with you lovely people xx