Being “Normal” After An Adventure

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For the past year I’ve been living abroad in England. I was a Master’s student living in the city of York. A city that dates back to Roman times. Every time I ventured into York I always marveled at how beautiful I thought the city was. Or as you’ve read from one of my previous posts, how spooky it was at night! I’ve also had the chance to travel to several other parts of the world during my tenure as a Master’s student. Needless to say my life abroad was anything but normal.

Now my Master’s degree program is complete, the lease on my flat in York is up, and my visa is close to expiring. So inevitably I had to leave England. Now I’m back in Michigan in the town that I grew up in. And already I’m having a difficult time getting adjusted to being here.

Now this may seem harsh for me to say, but I wasn’t really all that excited to return to Michigan, or to the United States for that matter. Yes I’m happy to see my family, friends, and other loved ones. However, I really enjoyed being an expatriate, and I was happy living in York. I also liked having been so close to an airport with direct flights to so many places (Manchester). Being a world traveler and adventurer is now simply just a part of my identity. Because of this I knew I would have a difficult time returning to my hometown.

My hometown does not have very many world travelers. Most people here live an entirely different lifestyle than I do. Many of them have a house, are raising a family, and have never traveled outside of the country before. Now I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that, because there certainly isn’t. It’s just a much different path than what I choose for myself. And with that comes many different life experiences. For instance, just last week I was hiking through the Scottish highlands, and the week before that I was laying on a beach in Dubai. At times I have difficulty sharing these stories with others here. It’s not that they don’t care or are uninterested, but they may be unable to relate to my experiences.

Many of the conversations I’ve heard other people here have included topics such as; selling a house, buying a new truck, or getting ready to watch the Detroit Lions play. In the midst of all of it I find it difficult to chime in with something like “This one time in Israel…” or anything like that. So I have all of these stories that I’m eager to tell people, but often unable to do so. This certainly makes me feel slightly out-of-place here. And I feel that this way of being “normal” is not the right fit for me.

This is not the first time that I’ve felt this way. I went through this once before when I returned to Michigan after my Peace Corps service in The Gambia. And many of my friends who were also in The Gambia felt the same way once they’ve also returned to their homes. The times when I’ve been abroad have included much personal growth and fulfillment. But now that I’m back in my hometown and no longer abroad, it feels like something is missing.

This is perhaps the only downside I’ve noticed with being a world traveler. Once I’ve experienced a different part of the world it left me with a burning desire to see more. And trying to live a “normal” life may make it difficult to quell these yearnings. Though I’m happy to see my family, friends, and other loved ones, and I’m enjoying certain aspects of being back in my hometown. But in the back of my mind I’m thinking about where I want to go for my next adventure!

I hope you enjoyed this post! If so please remember to share it. How do you resonate with this idea? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. As always, thank you for visiting my blog and have a great day!

6 Responses

  1. I feel you one hundred percent and can relate. Hopefully one day, we will have the opportunity to jump back into it, cheers and enjoy the now,

    1. Definitely! I’ve been looking at my map lately thinking about where to go next!

  2. I honestly don’t think that your feelings are that different than many people’s feelings. You’re right, most people aren’t feeling that way from traveling, however, I’d say you’d be hard pressed to find a person who hasn’t experienced a feeling of not fitting in/not being able to relate to others/lonely. While living in Texas, I can’t tell you how many times I sat at a table of people listening to them talking, all the while thinking, “I have absolutely nothing in common with these people”. What I learned through that was that more often than not, people are interested in hearing about your thoughts and experiences, even if they are completely different theirs. I would love to hear all about your laying on a beach in Dubai, even though the closest I’ve ever been is Lake Huron. ?

    1. Yeah it’s definitely an adjustment whenever you move to someplace new and trying to fit it. Even though here is not new at all, it sort of feels new to me cause I change so much while living abroad. But as they say, time helps everything. And I’ll have to post about Dubai soon. It was pretty awesome!

  3. Understandable.
    You have had an opportunity of a life time, Josh!
    Michigan is beautiful, all though the quest to find, ones self is rarely found on a familiar dirt road.
    Your life’s mission is much greater than what’s perceived as “normal”.
    It takes great strength, to travel to foreign countries, and actually bring pieces of your adventure to share.
    Cherish your inner glow, and always trust your gut feelings, you are any thing but ordinary!
    You are a missionary.
    I believe you are a light that will illuminate, the land that your feet will walk upon.
    I’m proud of you and your bold lifestyle.
    It’s beautiful.
    Your beautiful.
    Now hug and kiss your mama,
    and start brainstorming!
    The anticipation of your next chapter, is inspirational.
    All the best!

    1. You’re awesome Laura! Thank you so much for these beautiful words! Being a world traveler has indeed led me to be bold and daring, but its such a rewarding path. I’m glad that you’ve been enjoying my stories thus far. More to come! Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

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