Five Ways to Bring What You Loved About Your Life Abroad Back Home With You
We've all been there - you return from an amazing experience abroad with a renewed sense of adventure and a refreshed outlook on life.
You can't wait to bring the momentum back home with you and get into that flow state where you are just absolutely killing the game and loving every minute of it, but then, your alarm goes off at 6:00am and reality sets in.
Suddenly it hits you. You're home, which means you have to get to work, grocery shop, catch up on laundry and meal prep for the week.
That doesn't leave a lot of room for having life affirming conversations over tapas on a Wednesday night, or practicing your French at a local bakery with a native speaker, or really much of anything that you loved about your life abroad just a few days ago.
It can seem impossible to bring all of the joys of travel back home with you, but here are a few ways to recreate more of what you loved about life abroad in your everyday life back home.
1. Seek to surround yourself with diverse groups of people
One of the most amazing things that happens when we travel is that we are exposed to people from all over the world, with different ideas and customs that are reflected in the way they live their lives.
At home it can be easy to stick to a community of people who have had similar experiences to our own, and there's nothing wrong with that, but when we expose ourselves to other ways of thinking, living and doing things, it can help to see our own experiences in a new light.
2. Build community in your living space
Something that most life-changing travel experiences have in common is that they all provide some type of shared living space - hostels, dorms, homestays, retreats - the common theme here is community.
There is a lot to be said for sharing your experience with others, and the simplest way to do this is by finding roommates.
Not only do roommates provide a sense of belonging and an instant community for you to do things with, they also help to drive your cost of living way down, making your next big adventure attainable in a much shorter amount of time!
3. Ditch your car and explore your city by foot
If you've ever studied or lived abroad for an extended period of time, you likely know the challenge that is getting just about anywhere (especially in the pre-Uber days).
If your friends or hostel-mates suggest checking out an epic sounding bar that is two or three kilometers from your accommodation, chances are you'll happily agree to make the trek without giving it a second thought.
When was the last time you walked over a mile to try out a new place in your own neighborhood? Unless you live in a major city like New York or D.C., chances are good that nothing comes to mind.
Trying out new places you can walk to from your home or from work has countless benefits, like getting your step count up to offset all those hours tied to your desk at the office, getting your daily dose of vitamin D soaking up some sunshine, and of course, supporting your community by shopping or dining locally.
4. Make each day an adventure
(...at least turn off Netflix and get off the couch!)
Sure, our lives at home require a much more strict routine than our lives during vacation or extended travel, but that doesn't mean you have to let your sense of adventure fade away under the fluorescent lighting of your cubicle!
When we're traveling, we are so open to experiencing new things, going out of our way to check out new restaurants, bars, or yoga studios and really trying to make the most of each of our waking hours, so why is it that when we're at home, so many of us follow the same dull routine?
We get off work, sit in traffic, reheat dinner, and then watch Netflix while simultaneously scrolling through our news feed until time to get ready for bed.
Does any of that sound familiar? If so, try making just one small change each day - taking a new route home to try a class at a new fitness studio, trying a new recipe with a roommate or neighbor, or joining an afternoon running or walking club to break up a bit of the monotony.
These changes don't have to be big, time consuming, or expensive to make a real change in the way you feel about your everyday life.
5. Reframe your relationship with technology
Think of cellphone data and wifi as a luxury, not a way to kill time while waiting for the microwave timer to stop.
Remember how efficiently you used your 30 minutes of free browsing time during an international layover, or how grateful you felt when the cafe next to your hostel had free high speed internet?
Try to practice this type of moderation with your data usage at least once a week, and see how much more present this allows you to be in your daily life.
While adding these practices into your routine may not be a perfect substitute for another international adventure, they will certainly help to keep you more engaged in your own exciting life at home between your experiences abroad.