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The hardest part of the trip that nobody talks about

By Valeria Zilio

You discover the world, you make new experiences, you meet people, you fall in love, you visit unforgettable places, you learn to know new cultures and suddenly everything stops. People often speak about the voyage and the moment they left, but does anyone speak about going back home?

We speak about the hard things that come along our path when we decide to go away: looking for a new job, making new friends, being safe, learning how new social norms and so on, but these are all stages that everybody eventually overcomes successfully. All those difficult moments are kind of erased by the positive ones.

Goodbyes are hard, especially when you decide to purchase your return flight home, but we all know that they are part of the game. At first you can manage with those sad goodbyes when you catch up with your family and your friends.

Then you return where you were born and grown, meeting all of them again. You pass the first two weeks with your family and your friends, telling them about all the new experiences that you accumulated during your absence. Everything is new and for a few weeks, you are like a Hollywood star, everything about you seems new and exciting. Then, simply, all of sudden, it all ends. All of them are used to having you back home and they start asking you questions such as: Why don’t you still have a job? What are your projects for the future? Did you start saving some money for your retirement?

But the saddest part is that once the “compulsory” visits are finished, you have to sit on your bed, in the bedroom you have grown in, and you realize that nothing changed. Everything is as it was before. You are surely happy that they all are well; someone got married and someone else has children now. Others have gotten a new job or are engaged. But is there a part of yourself that is shouting to the world “Don’t you realize how much I have changed?”? And I do not mean your hair, weight and the suits or other aspects of your appearance. What I am talking about is what is happening inside your head.

Now, everything is really important to you: the way in which your dreams have changed, how you perceive people and the habits that you are happy to have lost. You want everyone to recognize all these changes and your desire to share it with them; but there is no way to describe how your mind evolves when you leave everything that you know behind. You strive to use your brain in the real life.

You are aware that you are thinking in a different way, because you realize it every day, but how will you communicate this feeling to the others?

You are angry and disappointed. In some moments you ask yourself if everything has had any sense because you realize that nothing has changed. But, then you understand that it has been one of the most important things that you have done in your life.

So, what is the solution to counterpart this sad side of the trip? It is like learning a new language, that nobody speaks around you, and therefore having no way to communicate your feelings to the others.

This is the reason why once you have travelled and left home for the first time, all you want is leaving again. Some people think that this is a disease or a drug; but it is only the desire to return in a place where you are surrounded by people that “speak the same language” you do. Not the English, the Spaniard, Italian or Portuguese. It is the language of whom knows what it really means to leave your house, to change, to grow, to live this experience, to learn and then to go back home, again. It is also the people who know the feeling of feeling more lost in their native city than in a foreign country.

This is the hardest part of the trip, and the reason why we escape away, again.

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