Every traveller will tell you – it’s hard to get back into the swing of things.
I was lucky. I planned to have ample buffer time for assimilation and it has worked out great. Although being too idle has some disadvantages. But of course, the idea here is not to be idle and instead gradually build up momentum to sort of… be as you were (*shudder).
Haha, I lied! You’ll never be able to be as you were! You’ve changed and that’s that. It’s going to be hard to grasp on that feeling of excitement, freedom and vastness when you’re home and trying too hard to hold on to it will only lead to misery (or suffering, in LB’s* books). I knew this and though I had several moments of flatness and self-pity, I would like to think I am emerging from it with grace and acceptance.
Living a simpler life
Being able to live a simpler life is probably one of the biggest lessons for me. Knowing that I didn’t need so many clothes and shoes was quite a revelation. And it actually made me happy. I liked having only three t-shirts to wear. I liked only having one pair of sandals to choose from. In my first week being home, I went on a major stuff-decluttering project. This started in my childhood bedroom back in KL where I threw every thing that used to be ‘sentimental’ away. I think my mum panicked a little but soon left me to it. When I got back to Adelaide, I packed every thing I hadn’t used in 12-18 months aside and gave to to goodwill, and I threw every thing that was broken-but-not-really-it-could-be-useful-someday out. The result? I had an extra room in the house and extra closet space.
Reconnecting with things I missed
I’m not going to lie. There were many things (and people) I missed when I was travelling. One thing I missed quite a bit was having a garden. I know, it sounds strange for someone to miss a garden. Why not go to a park? Or some botanical garden? I did. I went to many parks but nothing could compare to the feeling of digging through dirt and growing your own vegetables. Gardening in my back yard has helped me in more ways than one.
Another thing I missed was cooking for people I loved. Why not cook for people you meet on the road, you ask? I’m just… highly selective of who I cook for.
Just being with loved ones
You don’t always know you love someone until you’re actually away from them. This was a big realisation for me when I was away. I missed my partner’s kids. It can be hard being another woman in your partner’s kids’ lives especially when you don’t have kids of your own. Questioning if you’re crossing boundaries, doubting your actions, and constantly wondering if you’re actually making a difference to their lives are all the things that run through my mind and honestly, they hurt big time. You can tell yourself you don’t care but at the end of the day unless you have a heart of stone you actually do care. I used to be afraid to love them. Not as if they were my own – just to simply love them for who they are. Being away from them has taught me to embrace the love I have for them regardless of what anyone else thinks. Being back home has given me more to spend with them and cook some pretty good meals for all of us to enjoy. It’s a pretty awesome feeling.
+ This post was brought to you by GIFS from the one and only Cher (Alicia Silverstone).