12 months of freedom.
It’s going to make it hard for anyone to adjust back to ‘normal’ life. Not to mention, adjust back to working & having conversations with people that don’t revolve around “Where are you going next”, “What’s your favourite restaurant in Tokyo” and “What’s the craziest chicken bus you’ve taken”? Instead we’re asked how our ‘holiday’ was (is that what a year of travel is – a holiday?) and what was our Top 5 (how do we pick just 5?!). Of course everyone is being kind and we appreciated immensly their interest in our lives. But really how much can we bore people with our travel experiences without them thinking we’re bragging (which in a way we are).
Easing back into a life you left is a funny thing. In many ways it’s like you never left. Which is a bit like you never had the amazing adventures you just did. That’s sad. Then again, it’s happy because there are wonderful people you haven’t seen for a year and favourite places at home to visit. Our immediate enjoyment was coffee at our favourite café, catching up with friends and enjoying a good bed. That’s balanced with the trials of finding a place to live in Manly with one of the lowest vacancy rates in the world, going back to work with new challenges & training your brain to think about a million things at once.
Brad perhaps had the biggest adjustment, since he started work 4 days after getting back. The first few days he seemed interested in the challenge but then I noticed his left eye had developed his tell-tale ‘stress’ twitch. I’ve only seen it a few times before. Once on our wedding day (Seriously - his eye was twitching as we’re saying our vows!). Anyway, he seemed really edgy that first week at work. Like a poor little baby lion cub trapped in a tiny cage. Claustrophobia he said. Unable to concentrate. Being back in an office after a year of wide open spaces would do it to anyone. During a medical check-up Brad’s blood pressure seemed a bit high so his doctor prescribed surfing. Yep — surfing. You gotta love Australia. Maybe he should have prescribed another year off?
Gradually Brad has adjusted and now he’s happily back in the land of blue suited professionals.
Luckily I’m taking a bit of time before looking for a new job and have readjusted to normal life by going for walks, swimming and taking a few yoga classes. Ok, AND catching up on a year’s worth of paperwork, realizing not managing things for a year has it’s disadvantages (e.g. there was a global financial crisis wasn’t there?!) and eventually starting to look into job options. In the meantime I’m hoping to spend some time reflecting on what you learn from a year off, making that Top 5 list and maybe, just maybe blog about it within the next 6 months.
But hey – why rush things. After all, a year of travel should have taught me at least one thing….
Time IS more valuable than money.