Sometimes, as I sink a little further into the sofa, I catch a glimpse of my tattoo (a small bamboo-style wave, sun and mountain) and remember how great my travels were.
Besides my permanent little drawing, there’s not too much around me to remind myself of the experiences I’d just had, or the places I’d been.
Around me, everything exists just as it had been left.
I take the dog for a walk on the same route, then she eats from the same little blue bowl… before she hops up next to me on the same sofa that has followed us through three houses. I relax in my familiar position, watching the same re-runs of Come Dine With Me that I saw in 2012.
It’s a firm reality check.
You had a great time away, huh? Feel like a new and better person?
That’s all fine and dandy, but it won’t change much here.
About five weeks ago, I found myself back in sunny Suffolk after four months of joyful adventures in Asia.
In less than a week, I flee the family nest and start a new job. My first flat awaits.
The opportunity that has come my way – and the speed of its occurrence – is nothing short of fantastic. It is undeniably a nice thought that soon my bank account won’t look quite so sorry for itself.
And anyway, my home is rather lovely- stop complaining, they say.
But adjusting back into my old life, despite having these new adventures lined up, has been both the easiest and hardest transition yet.
1- It’s the hardest reality check
The only thing I can compare it to is moving home after University. A lot of you know the struggles.
You’ve been living your own independent life. Your room has been as messy as you like it and you do stupid stuff at 3am. You can always find at least two friends to go for a drink with you and your parents aren’t there to shun the take-away boxes in the bin afterwards.
But suddenly you’re back home. Sharing your space with people who actually have authority over you, again.
It’s an annoying adjustment, honestly.
So imagine that feeling… times ten.
Seeing new parts of the world, especially for an extended period of time, is literally like the ideal life. A slice of heaven.
Days filled with cheap alcohol, amazing food, new friends, blue waters, high mountains and a daily dose of vitamin D from all that sunshine.
How do you go home after a taste of your ideal life? A little taste of your dream days?
You’ve had experiences out there that you literally can’t recreate.
It sucks, really. And as much as I love my little village, its views aren’t quite the same.
2- Old habits die hard
If you read my New Years’ blog (it’s ok, I know you probably didn’t) you’ll know that I felt a little changed by the whole ‘I’ve gone travelling’ thing.
I learnt how to make new friends, enjoy my independence and, most importantly…
I started being one of those ‘yes’ people.
“Am I hungover? Yes. Shall I still trek to this viewpoint? Yes.”
And my time was 1000% better for it. Yet on coming home, my previous, more placid nature sneaks back to me in a scarily fast fashion.
Before I know it, I’ve left the village once in four days and my only notable achievement is cooking a bomb Pad Thai.
In your old and familiar surroundings, it’s very easy to forget new things.
But, I’m going to make a conscious effort to maintain those lessons learnt. Even if I have done the same dog walk 20134 times.
(it’s ok, it’s a pretty route)
3- The claustrophobia feels are real
Wait so… this job is permanent now? I just have to let that sink in.
The realisation that, unless you’ve got a steady flow of money coming in, you can’t jet off to your next adventure…. is daunting. And deciding what you actually want your future to look like is even worse.
Ok, so you could work a short while, gather enough money and escape once more… but by the time you’ve got that money, you’ll probably be leaving some solid employment foundations.
And there’s a lot of questions attached if those blue seas are calling you again.
Do you expect to jump right back into the same level job?
Shouldn’t you have started your ‘career’ yet?
What will your future employers think if you run away every few years?
So maybe, like me, you decide to settle down a little. You get a permanent job and start a new adventure and come to terms with the fact that you’ll probably only leave on short-term holidays from now on.
A fortnight here, a week in the winter.
You’re in England for the rest of the year now, pal. And it suddenly seems very small…
But hey, at least you’re closer to your best friend.
And I guess the washing machine is decent too…