How Living Abroad Changes You

Sometimes life throws you curveballs, and sometimes life just feels so dormant. I’m not used to staying in one spot, I’m normally always on the move… someone once described it that “I never let the grass grow under my feet.” And that felt so true! But lately? I feel like I’m stuck in mud. And that mud is quickly turning into quicksand.

Ever since I came home from Spain back in 2015, my life has never been the same. I see the world differently, my home country differently, and my life differently. I can’t live in a bubble. I need to be exploring and seeing new cultures, forcing myself to adapt to unfamiliar situations, and growing in the process. And unfortunately, right now I’m not doing that. And it’s a huge struggle. I know I’m just in a rut for now, but sparks are fading inside this traveling soul of mine.

Why? Why does this happen?

I’m confident this happens to every traveler at some point. When you are constantly on the move, you don’t realize how different the stationary life feels. While you are gone, everyone else’s life moves on… without you. When you come back, it seems like everything should just fall into place again but everyone is in a different spot physically and mentally, just like you are. Friends are getting engaged, then married. They are moving away to start their new lives and careers. And here you are. Wondering how the heck to get back on the move and escape the feeling of being stuck. Most of your friends from home do not understand what you experienced abroad, and telling the stories can only do so much. The friends you met along the way are halfway (if not more) across the world. And those are some of the only people who truly understand what you experienced, and how you feel now back at home.

Seriously, I could go on and on explaining what it’s like to work on a cruise ship but the only people who will actually get me are the ones who have experienced it. And it’s like that for many things! But it’s hard to fall back into a life where the majority of people do not understand you anymore.

I just recently passed the one year mark at my current employer, and while most people would be elated about that, it makes me wonder how much longer I have here until I go absolutely crazy. Don’t get me wrong, if this job didn’t make me at least somewhat happy I wouldn’t still be there, but a YEAR? In Brooke time, that’s basically forever. I’m constantly worried I’m going to fall into the trap of never leaving Colorado again, and that terrifies me.

So what’s my next move?

That’s a good question. I get asked this constantly. A few months ago I was fully set and ready to drop my life and move to Austria, but with an unfortunate turn of events, those plans fell apart. And now I’ve been second-guessing my moves ever since… which is probably because now I realize things can change so fast, and that scares me. I’m afraid of working hard to make plans and having them disintegrate in front of me again. But if I don’t get over that, I will for sure get fully submerged by this quicksand under my feet. My next move is to focus on myself. Make decisions for me. Dig deep and decide what my traveling heart and soul need, and take a giant step from there.

Stay tuned.

lil b

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4 Comments

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  1. Brooke, This is exactly the same emotions running through my body since coming home from HAL…

    I’m so bored, no one understands me or I don’t understand them.. its confusing and I cant hold down ‘normal conversations’ with people back home, its the same stuff ‘ did you watch love island’ ‘omg I was so drunk last night, never drinking again’.. I’ve grown out of that stuff and it annoys me I have to listen to it over and over.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that this was perfectly put into words. I feel this way even if I am traveling my own country for a long period of time. Being home feels like I am stuck. No one seems to understand the feeling unless that have adventured to new places. And when you meet people who share this feeling, that’s when things feel like they click again.

    I hope to read more stories about your time working on a cruise ship! I may be taking that step if my interviews go well and would love to hear your feelings about it.

    Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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