Confessions of a recovering digital nomad

It’s been 5 months since my adventure around the world ended.

My feelings since being back home have been quite lackluster. After the homecoming feelings subsided, most things have felt overinflated. My smiles at times seem forced, but they come back full swing when I look back at past travel photos. Thanks google for all the auto reminders of what I was doing on this day last year.

It’s hard to hide the bittersweet feeling of good times past. A new reality sets in that demands your time and your responsibilities. The job, settling down, taking care of your car and so on. But it seems like you just finished being a kid, living a fairy tale. It’s like when your mom wakes you up at 6am, blasting the blinds open saying “it’s time to get up for school, honey.” All you want to do is curl up in bed even more. And that’s all I want to do, as life demands more of me, instead of curling up- to hop on an airline to who knows where.

If I knew the antidote to this feeling, I’d say it now and be done with this post. But the truth is, I don’t and I’m still trying to figure it out. Sometimes I feel guilty for not appreciating my family and friends more, and the comforts I have being back home. 

Other times I feel like I completely gave up on this better version of myself- a more open, outspoken, adventure-seeker and self-assured version of me. I felt like that version could take me anywhere, and it did! Through the dangerous corners of Marrakech and streets of downtown Cape Town. And through it all, I found a childlike joy. Maybe I’m going overboard and have a severe case of FOMO or looking back with rose-colored lens. I’m not sure. I just feel the confusion set in hard, months after the trip ended. After all, I met 20+ friends, and our days were filled of safari rides, hiking the dunes in the Sahara, and trivia nights in Mexico City. There’s no question that’s not real life, and I realize it more and more as I write it. Or is it real life? It’s no wonder I feel off.

As I was shopping for ingredients in the market today I felt that sense of excitement for a moment, collecting fish and planning- creating a plan for dinner in my head. I was so relieved that I got back that inner Joanna that was more present during my travels. Where did she go? 

I suppose that’s the antidote then, creativity. Travel is a constant creating process. Trying, failing, trying, succeeding- even if it’s just picking strawberry jam in another language. Those little joys reinforce your happy creative place. That’s the part that makes me feel like a kid, playing. On the other hand, being back home, things are quite easy and somewhat routine. You can really live the whole day on autopilot, like I did today until I started planning the fish dinner I got all excited about. 

So, how do you inject more creativity and little joys in your day?

I’m still figuring that out. I guess what it comes down to is that if you can’t travel, then create. Channel all your creative abilities into something. Maybe your cooking, your writing, or your weekend plans. If travel taught me one thing, it is that I fell in love with that girl (me). She was highly creative, adaptable and self-trusting. That’s the real feeling I want to own again. Travel makes you trust yourself and in turn become more confident. The uncertainty makes you just believe in yourself, and in the dance of life more. The independence, the spark, the inspiration that comes when you are aligned. I think that’s what we all want no matter where we are in the world.

In true alignment of ourselves, we’re not relying on a place, person or event to make us feel joy. Instead, we know we can feel it in ourself. I’d like to get there one day. Not looking to the next “thing” to bring the joy, but to bring the joy to myself.

The hard pill to swallow right now is knowing I still feel dependent on a place to make me feel good. Sometimes it’s a place I’ve never been to, where I know I have a clean state of emotion. But, this is limiting and disempowering. What I want to know is that my satisfaction and joy is TOTALLY created and controlled by me.

So, to start, I’ll channel my creative energies to feeling that. I’ve lived life long enough to know that when you make the feeling happen first, the rest comes. But that can sometimes be the hardest part, especially if you’re down on yourself. 

But, keep creating in the little and big things just for the joy of it, just for yourself. I think once we take joy in our own hands, we feel empowered and like the independent person we wanted to feel like all along. It can be challenging with Facebook and Instagram with constant feelings of missing out, or feeling behind, so much so I am almost ready to quit them all. But, deep down, we just want to feel aligned and true with ourselves. Those things fall to the waist side when we connect with the true part of ourselves. The calm, serene, everything-is-on-its-way part of us. Creating helps me connect with that part of me that knows the truth.

I hope these words comforted you if you stopped traveling recently and post-travel blues set in. I’m still trying to figure it out, so if you have any words of advice, please share them. Thank you!

-overdosed on travel

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