Coming back to the "Real World" after long trips

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by guyfawkes, May 31, 2016.

  1. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z I'm serious.

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    I've taken several trips of a few months or so, and I generally don't find it hard to readjust back to my normal life when I get back.

    What I find hard is that most of your friends and family won't really care what you did or saw. They might ask to see a few pictures, or ask what you're favorite places was, but mostly they just go about their own business like always.

    It's probably like having a new baby. To you it's life changing and an incredible experience, but to others, it's just a slobbering kid.

    The questions or comments other people make when you get back can be frustrating. Things like, "you must have a rich uncle to be able to afford that," or "must be nice to have extra money laying around to travel like that," or suggesting that I'm less responsible than they are by leaving my job. Or after the first big trip, people expect each subsequent trip to be even bigger and more amazing.

    Jamie
    #21
  2. theshnizzle

    theshnizzle Long timer

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    What Jamie said....a thousand times. I almost feel pressure from people to make this year's trip "more" than the last trip. And they don't care, yes, but mostly, they don't understand. They can't comprehend doing a long distance or time camping motorcycle trip. I got a lot of"weren't you scared"? It never occurred to me to be scared and I didn't even think about it until the first time someone asked me.

    People can tolerate about one minute of pics ,at most, and then their feigned interest is done.

    But, I think, it's the pressure of people asking me.....so, where are you going this year!!!!"......sometimes I just want to fade into the backround.
    #22
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  3. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    It varies for each person. When you are on the road you have a well honed set of skills, where you are, when you stop, what you look for....all of that that just falls into a routine. Somedays are longer and some are shorter. You have no place you HAVE to be. You have no deadlines that you have to meet. It becomes fluid and you learn to adept and change as needed.

    Now when you get back to your 'real life' everything changes. Not all bad but there is a change. All of a sudden you NEED to be at your job by XXX, all of a sudden you have to be at your job 4, 5, 6 days a week. All of a sudden you need to drive a CAR???? Everything becomes VERY structured.

    It is different for everyone of course. For me that is what I experienced. That and it was exactly 4 days before I started planning my next trip.
    #23
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  4. Seadragon16

    Seadragon16 Adventurer

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    I've been back from a long trip for exactly a week now and I'm already ready to leave again. The agency I work for called me today to say they have a job for me starting on Monday which has elicited mixed feelings - on one hand it'll be nice to know I can start to save again, but I can't say I'm enthusiastic at all about returning to the world of work and all the stressed and trapped people who live in it. I have resisted buying a car for commuting and have picked up a cheap bike instead. I started planning my next trip before I even got back from this one. We'll leave again in the fall, which is all the motivation I need to get through the next few months of work.
    #24
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  5. nicholastanguma

    nicholastanguma nicholastanguma

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    This, so much this. I am astounded at how much a lot of people don't care about anything except the tiny little bubble of their daily routines. They cling to that endless daily grind like it's a religion.

    Truly, there are two kinds of people: those who travel/want to travel...and everybody else.

    Not self congratulatory, just the facts. Many people like their chains.
    #25
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  6. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    So much of the world we live in here today is all about Me.
    What can you do for ME
    What can I get from YOU for ME.
    They have no idea what it is like in the rest of the world and the worst part is.
    They do NOT want to know.
    I dont know if they afraid of the world or afraid to find out how small they are.


    #26
  7. Bugzy

    Bugzy 2014 VStrom DL1000a

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    I'm one of those ball and chain guys now.

    When I was 28 I sold my house, car, everything I owned and moved to Europe to own/run a couple of bars. I was there 4 years and it was fun for 2, but eventually I missed home, peanut butter, and trees, and came back. I started a business here, got married and had a few kids, bought a house and a dog and now we have a great life. Getting ready to retire in less than a decade, with house prices going nuts here I think we will be OK.

    Are you guys that are traveling for years at a time thinking about your future? If you are young then you have lots of time to start over, but you will need to make that settling commitment at some point. Remember as you get older things get harder, harder to find jobs, harder to learn things, you may start having health issues etc.
    #27
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  8. guyfawkes

    guyfawkes Move along, nothing to see here

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    why ?
    #28
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  9. Bugzy

    Bugzy 2014 VStrom DL1000a

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    I suppose if someone has enough money and they are healthy then there is no reason as long as you are OK with the idea of getting old in a foreign country away from family etc.

    I have a hard time imagining someone that is 80+ traveling the world with no plans to return home ever.
    #29
  10. Seadragon16

    Seadragon16 Adventurer

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    You'd be surprised just how many people I've met backpacking who are in their 70's and 80's and have no intention of settling down anywhere. I see no reason for settling down somewhere to be inevitable so long as you're healthy. I had a mortgage, car, good job, etc and I gave it all up. I can't see myself ever going back to that.

    The reality is that life is much cheaper in many other countries and I think there's a growing number of people of all ages who are realising that there's no need to do as society expects and teaches. I've met countless retirees living a very comfortable but simple life in a place other than where they're from. I understand that doesn't suit everyone though and that's fine.
    #30
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  11. guyfawkes

    guyfawkes Move along, nothing to see here

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    this pretty much. not just the "life a simple life" thing but in general leaving things behind.
    if you're not fully able to just let stuff go these kind of trips just arent for you(hope this doesnt sound cocky).
    #31
  12. Phaedrus68

    Phaedrus68 Been here awhile

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    This is significant. The smaller the gap between your contentment in your "normal", "real-world" life and your enjoyment of traveling, the less of an issue returning home will be.

    +1, but I'd use the term "misrepresented" rather than "over-rated". The Machine has cleverly convinced The People that their servitude to The Machine is "normal, real-world".

    In the real world where most people spend most of their time - either in conscious begrudging acceptance or in willful ignorant obsequiousness, or somewhere in between - I think this is the optimal perspective. Without wealth, we can only intersperse our normal real-world everyday lives with holidays. And traveling by bike is a wonderful holiday.

    Perhaps a tad unfair? One of my best friends gave me a pretty hard time when I started having kids - I'd ruined the dynamic between the mates, as I could no longer attend every event, etc. Within a few years he'd started his family and kind of apologised, saying he now realised that everyone pretty much follows the same path through life, but some are a little further along the path than others, so judgement without personal experience is arguably inappropriate. No doubt about it - having kids scuppered pretty much every major aspiration I had for myself in life. Were I more hungry to achieve those aspirations, perhaps I wouldn't have let having kids affect them. But I have my flaws, and I have traveled to many places, both before and after having kids, and both with and without the kids.

    I reckon most people don't "fit in". That's why there's so much depression and anxiety in the world. The Machine rewards The People (albeit modestly) for fitting in. So even if you feel you don't fit in and are aware that you're just plodding through a frustrated life, for many (most?) people, the fear and hugeness of opting out is more overwhelming than plodding through the frustrated life. Plus, if you opt out you'll miss out on all those great TV shows, all those ads on facebook, that new pair of Flux...

    I like this. Travel certainly does change you. Travel broadens your perception of the world. Returning home diminishes it. But we can apply that broadening of perspective to the returning-home anti-climax.

    This is what I meant above - the greater the gap between your contentment in your "normal", "real-world" life and your enjoyment of traveling, the more of an issue returning home will be.

    Yep, no-one's genuinely interested. Not even your closest friends. They're envious, they won't want to hear too much about it because they haven't changed and their lives haven't changed. They didn't experience what you did. They'll either feel bad and inadequate in themselves, or they'll come to resent you and your stories and pictures...

    The Machine has The People this way. We can only exist in The Machine unless we shit on each other - the only way to thrive in The Machine is to shit on our fellow man.

    Not cocky, but perhaps judgemental? Many folk want to to all the exciting stuff they see others doing, but they may not be able - maybe they lack the wealth, health, freedom, motivation, gumption, etc to achieve it.

    Good thread. Good to read the perspectives. I guess my own is that for most people multiple smaller trips are probably more viable and realistic than that one big 10-year RTW event.
    #32
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  13. guyfawkes

    guyfawkes Move along, nothing to see here

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    well, that was what i was trying to avoid. not judging or anything, just saying.
    just dont tell me i have to settle down at some point(im getting close to 40 btw so not exactly young) :D
    #33
  14. Phaedrus68

    Phaedrus68 Been here awhile

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    I'm 47 - a little further along the path of life. :beer

    I'd never tell anyone to settle down. I tell my kids to experience as much as they can before "settling" for anything, whether a home or a partner or a job - anything... :-)
    #34
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  15. nicholastanguma

    nicholastanguma nicholastanguma

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    I'm 35, but my wife is only 20. I told her if she'd settle for me I'd give her a garage full of motorcycles and as many international motorcycle treks as she could handle.

    Sneaky, I know, but it's worked well so far and she never talks about having children. :crash


    Um, anyone else's mileage may vary.
    #35
  16. judgebill

    judgebill Been here awhile

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    To me, a "long" journey can be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. But the return is always a challenge. I'm mostly retired, which means I work but sporadically and can pretty much control my own schedule. I've always found returning from a week (or more) trip calls for a definite re-adjustment. First I have the feeling there should be a band and reception of some sort waiting, someone should present me with a trophy and someone should stick a microphone in my face and ask for my thoughts about the trip. Hasn't happened yet but there's a part of me that wishes it would happen. Then there is the return to a different normalcy. Riding on a trip develops its own routine, always tied to the bike and its care and feeding. Getting home means a routine that doesn't even consider the bike and the change is definitely noticeable. Also home brings with it responsibilities, duties, routines that are all missing when on the road. It's as though I step into another dimension when I travel and the return experience is wrenching. My psyche is turned around and my focus is significantly altered. A "vacation" on a motorcycle calls for an entirely different skill set when compared to the routines management of a house/home. On the road the phone doesn't ring, there is no mail to pick up, bills are all paid immediately and the only obligations that need to be met are those you make immediately. Coming home means change. But everybody seems to deal with that change in a similar way...planning the next riding vacation. But then that's also part of life and what makes it so interesting.
    #36
  17. shoeb

    shoeb Long timer

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    I haven't been on any truly long trips, but having a woman to come home to softens the blow for me. By the time I get home I'm ready to be with her again and that counteracts the sadness of coming home and picking up my responsibilities again.

    One thing I'd say is it's incorrect to assume that people who don't have an adventurous (by your own definition) lifestyle are somehow failing to live life to the full. For some people, deep friendships and family bonds are more life-affirming and satisfying than travelling, and that's not a flaw on their part. Staying in one spot suits their goals and personalities. Besides, it's unfair to say that building a family isn't an adventure in itself. I mean, what is an adventure? Something that gives you new experiences, grows you as a person, demands commitment, courage, sacrifice, love... and that's exactly what leading a family does. So it's not right to look down on people whose adventures look different to your own.
    #37
  18. guyfawkes

    guyfawkes Move along, nothing to see here

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    might as well be the case but the point of this thread isnt what is considered an adventure ;-)
    i've been there 2 years ago. coming home after a month long trip to my GF. but in my experience its something different coming home to find your "groove" the way you left it vs. coming home to having no commitments or family to return to(this is not something i see as negative btw) is something quite different cause you dont "have to" settle back in. for me coming back from my last trip was vastly different to 2 years ago.
    and personally i think that on 1 year+ travels you most likely wont be having anyone waiting for you. if he or she puts up with the he/she will be coming with you and not wait at home.
    #38
  19. shoeb

    shoeb Long timer

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    No, but I see some peculiar attitudes being expressed here about the 'conventional' lifestyle. While I'm not trying to prescribe one lifestyle over another, I take exception to the idea that people who put down roots are wearing 'chains' and 'hijacking their lives' etc. It's ironically disrespectful from people who aspire to spend their lives exploring other ways of life.
    #39
  20. guyfawkes

    guyfawkes Move along, nothing to see here

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    i dont consider it disrespectful, just an opinion.
    just like your opinion that having a family can be considered an adventure.
    but, as i said, not the topic here.
    #40
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