I used to dream that I would one day meet my soulmate sitting next to me on a plane, and last weekend that sort of happened! Well, not in a romantic sense, but I’m pretty sure we were destined to be friends, because the girl sitting next to me on my flight back to Oslo was just returning from backpacking through my all-time favorite place: Central Asia.
And after we got through gushing over how much we both adore Kyrgyz samsy, we started talking about what it’s going to be like for her to return home after several months of backpacking.
Now, it’s been a little while since I’ve gone backpacking – I returned from my last big trip over a year ago! – but talking with Kristin totally brought back all those post-backpacking feels and we couldn’t stop giggling (and annoying the guy sitting next to us) over the totally awkward things that happen when you come home from traveling. It turned out we had both had really similar experiences, so now I’m curious – do these things also happen to you when you come home from a big trip?
No? Yes? Anyone?
1. You’re a bit scared of sleeping in a room alone now – where are your 11 dorm-mates?
2. You still really want to wear your elephant pants everywhere.
3. You don’t recognize any of the music playing on the radio.
4. You’re like, so over television. Until you aren’t and you binge watch all the episodes of your favorite series that you missed while away over one pathetic weekend.
5. You begin way too many sentences with “that totally reminds me of that time in Tajikistan when…” and everyone rolls their eyes.
6. You accidentally eat 12 avocados (or bagels, or tacos, or whatever it was you craved abroad) because ohmygoodness you missed them so much on your travels and suddenly your jeans are mysteriously way too small.
7. You go to a party and forget that, oh wait, everyone here is not from a billion different countries, they’re all from the same tiny hometown and yes, everyone will remember the embarrassing things you did last night.
8. Sometimes you’ll listen to your old backpacking playlist on your iPod and have a little cry, just because.
9. Your friends think you’ve returned a bit weird and now you’re exchanging an awkward number of Facebook messages with that Danish guy from your hostel who you totally thought was creepy but now seems to be the only person who really gets what you’re going through.
10. You suddenly have zero career goals but are somehow already saving for your next big trip.
11. You realize you’ve become sort of freakishly strong from lifting your 60 lb backpack.
12. You’ll zone out of conversations and then awkwardly explain that, sorry, you were just thinking about that time in Bali when… ugh, never mind.
13. You keep mentally converting prices into Thai baht, which means you never want to buy anything ever again.
14. You find yourself scrolling lovingly through your Instagram feed a little too often.
15. It’s just above freezing outside, yet you still insist on wearing your flip flops everywhere.
16. You can’t remember how to do small talk that doesn’t start with “so how long have you been on the road?”
17. You realize your backpacking tan has almost disappeared and have a little sob in the shower.
18. You spend way too much time in Facebook groups for travelers giving people tips on places you’ve been, and secretly pretending that you’re still a backpacker yourself.
19. Late one night you book a flight to Colombia. Whoops?
Do you agree? Or have anything to add?