Mixed Bag of Emotions About Life After Travel

I didn’t realise it was possible to feel almost every contrasting emotion at the same time: joy, sadness; unencumbered, boxed in; lost, found.

Surely there has to be a word that describes this mixed bag of emotions. It swirls around me almost every minute of the past week as we slowly re-enter the real world after traveling for 18 months.

We couldn’t have chosen a better place.

Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast is the balm for a soul moving through a tumultuous change. It’s bohemian, edgy, but not razor-sharp edgy, more feminine and soft. It’s got the vibrancy my soul needs, yet the quiet solitude it seeks.

Sunrise at Burleigh Heads - Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Waking up to sunrise in Burleigh Heads – Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

There’s an energy here that begs you to be present and thrive, to embrace and live with full velocity. I wrote about how it was calling me a couple of months ago in this post; I now know why.

You’re always being guided to the right place. If you just step back, listen, and get out of your own way enough so you can follow, divine flow has its chance to work its magic.

I’ve been running of an afternoon around the headland. On those runs, the unencumbered bliss hits, and I sprint through the joy and breathe in the exquisiteness of being alone in the lushness of the forest.

forest trail
My new running track in Burleigh

I drop the girls off at school, and the fear constricts my breathing. I don’t want to be separated from them.

What will happen to our bond? How can I still protect them? What moments am I now going to miss? Am I making the right choice? What if school destroys their zest, curiosity and free-spiritness?

I release them with a hug of excitement for the friends they’re about to make and the exquisiteness they’ll feel with their independence.

See how twisted the emotions can be in just one moment?

We packed up the camper trailer for the last time yesterday. Relief and joy spread through me as I bid adieu to a cramped space that no longer fits our expansive goals.

I felt slightly melancholy. The reel of memories ran through my mind as Craig, and I slowly packed up, the girls not with us to help.

I missed seeing them ride around the park with their new friends squealing and climbing trees. Their freedom now slightly gone too with rules about what colour headbands to wear and strict times for play.

I know I’ll miss the birds calling me to wake, a slight evening chill, kangaroos jumping around our home and starry skies watching over us.

Pretty Beach campground, NSW
Memories from Pretty Beach campground, NSW

I miss the girls while they’re at school, but it feels good to have some space and get things done without constant interruptions. I’m flying through my list of tasks and I feel unencumbered again. Free to grow and create.

We’ve moved into a holiday rental apartment for nine nights before we move next week into our 6 month long-term rental. It’s the longest we’ve stayed in one place for 18 months.

I spend the afternoon packing away our things and putting everything in its place. I stare at my wardrobe, with my dresses and coats hanging up, and I say, “I love you wardrobe. I just love you.”

18 months around Australia living out of a suitcase allows you to feel a deep connecting love to a wardrobe, lol.

I start to prepare dinner, I have space to swing a cat and I know exactly where everything is. Nothing is wrestling another item for space. My brain is happy as it’s not trying to uncover, detect, or solve, it just knows where to go. I feel safe, comfortable, free.

Experiencing the whole spectrum of emotions in one moment is a sign we’re moving into a world that embraces more balance and more knowing.

We know what we want. We know what works best. We know what brings us stability and security. And we know how to create a lifestyle that still maintains a sense of freedom, joy, connectedness and purpose.

The mixed emotions are held in a bag woven from a deep sense of peace and profound gratitude.

Reentry can be tough, yet blissful at the same time. Find the bag of peace and gratitude to help move you through it.

This post was the newsletter I sent out to our email subscribers this week. If you like this type of content then make sure you sign up here.

I loved this reader’s reply to me: “I would have described it as a type of yearning – knowing new good things are around the corner, but knowing you will never be the same after all your travels, and knowing that you will never quite fit into pedestrian life….its a yearning for what was and for what is still to be – all at the same time.”

16 thoughts on “Mixed Bag of Emotions About Life After Travel”

  1. Something for Sarah & I to look forward to when we conclude our 18 months or so of travel…

    I love that you’ve pointed out the lows & the highs!

  2. I’ve spent the last 8.5 years living abroad and am now preparing for my way “home”. I’m quite anxious about how I (and my foreign husband) will fit in and the challenges and opportunities that are ahead of us… I would have never thought that going back home is almost more adventurous than being back home. When you hit the road, you expect to find a world that is different and challenging, but when you are back home, people just expect you to fit in magically. Thanks for sharing your awesome adventures and I’m looking forward to reading what lays ahead for you guys!!!

  3. I love how honest you are about expressing your fears for this new transition. It’s so easy to hide behind a screen and proclaim that everything is peachy, and I love your honesty. I hope the adjustment phase gets easier for you, and that you will still be able to incorporate your old life-style into your new one. I’m sure you will, since it seems to be a huge part of who you are. Best of luck, I’ll be rooting for you!


  4. We are going home in four months and I’m already feeling equal amounts of dread and excitement. I can’t wait to re-discover my clothes and not have to wear the same thing every day, I also can’t wait to get back on my bike. I miss my bike. But of course, I’ll miss travel more.

  5. Thank you for this post. My husband and I just returned from a 9 month rtw trip two week ago and we’ve been on that same emotional roller coaster! One minute we are so happy to have comforts of home, and seconds later we find ourselves looking at pictures of South America and wanting to pack up and go again. Good luck with this new chapter of your travels!

  6. I understand your feelings. Me and my husband moved to live in Spain almost 5years ago. Even if we knew that it would be for a long period of time and not only 18months like in your case, and we didn’t have our tpddler at that time, all the feelings that you passed by I was feel alike.

  7. https://wendtonwheels.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/leaving-daintree/

    I can’t find the original owner of this quote, but I feel it helps to understand what you and I are feeling….
    “Traveling messes you up, but in all the good ways. It leaves you always craving more, and addiction that can never quite be met. Every place, every trip, every person is a new adventure; pulling you deeper into the love of wanderlust. Your heart begins to hurt when you’re standing still, and your mind begins to itch over the idea of new places you haven’t been. Fill your soul with adventure and traveling and you will live a fulfilled life.”

    Wanderlust is what I’m calling it. Go gently on yourself. Big Love. Big hug. Sharon

  8. A lot of people who travel get very into the experiences being more important than things mindset but things can be good too. Having familiar things around you and having high quality tools to get the jobs done are sacrifices that you make when you travel. I’d never be one to splurge on a designer handbag over adventures but there is something really nice about a functional potato peeler or cheese grater 🙂

  9. We travel with our kids and I hear you about letting them go after having them around 24/7. My daughter is starting school in the fall and I am freaking out. Not only is it going to hinder our freedom of travel, I’m stressed about not having my girl with me for hours. EEK! I’ve dream about doing what you’ve done and just hitting the road for a couple years, but it is nice to have stable place to call home. It is a mixed bag of emotions, but now you have the best of both worlds. Home and travel!

  10. There is definitely good and bad points about being home and travelling long term. I have been based in Sydney for the past 15 months and will be hitting the road for a year of travels in less than 2 months time. I am excited but in saying that I am also sad to leave my life in Sydney which I have enjoyed immensely.

  11. Oh I know what you mean about the wardrobe! Just being able to walk into a room where all of your things are organised into spaces they should be – just bliss. It’s an enormous transition, but as with everything you and Craig seem to do, I’m sure you will take it in your stride!

  12. It is human nature to feel nostalgic about the good times we have recently experienced. When a great travel trip is coming to an end, we all feel not to go home. All we can do is to cherish the good times and plan yet another trip within 6-7 months.

  13. Nice share! Its always great to be back at home after a long tiring trip. I agree, when I had my last trip to Austria ended I was so sad. Great work and wish you all the best.

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