Going Back Home is Scarier Than Being Away

The last few weeks of my journey were a combination of waves trying to go away from the scary ocean but always find themselves housing to diverse creatures. I somehow feel like my journey is coming to an end thinking that traveling alone for 10 months is enough and that I can not afford to continue. “So what now, Haze? Are you going back home? Are you ready? Do you feel excited?,” I asked myself.

Most people might think that I have a booming bank account to support a life of travel, to go from places to places. To tell you honestly, no. I am not a kind of person who’s from the upper class and I don’t have a family who supports me. And even if I were, I kid you not, I make my own ways to survive.

“Ewan ko ba! Kaya mo namang kumita nang malaki kung mag stay ka sa ‘Pinas. Ang tali-talino mo. Ang galing galing mo. Bumalik ka na tapos magtravel ka na lang from time to time.” (I don’t know! You can earn so much if you choose to stay in the Philippines. You’re so intelligent. You are so good. Go back then travel from time to time.)

A friend of mine told me that when I tried to open up that I was having a hard time. I honestly did not know how to react. That’s one of the reasons why I left in the first place – not to be confined to the conventional things as I mentioned when I wrote to my younger self.

Most of the travelers I met in this journey can share information and experiences about the places they’ve been with soaring energy and enthusiasm. And then you try to bring “going home” topic up and the shift will never go unnoticed. From that high energy to a calm but tensed vibe. It’s like the calm before the storm with the silence followed by the dark covering their faces to lightning and thunders and to the actual hurricane of breaking down.

Whenever I think about going back to my home country, I get a feeling of breaking down accompanied by loads of anxieties. To be fair, I don’t mind going back but that should better mean passing by and leaving again soon. Traveling alone can be scary but the truth is, I am more scared of going home.

The firsts on the list is the fact that I come from a place where gossips are part of daily life, where fake news go in trends, where false patriotism and blind following are a thing, where tv personalities turn to politicians and vice versa, where sex education is not understood and accepted by many, where women are expected to act in very certain ways, where being professional and personal merge in a blurred line, where social status is a very important matter that some people get stuck not pursuing what they really desire, etc.

Second is that I have been away from the Philippines for just 10 months. With this very short time, I met a lot of people from different walks of life and understood different cultures. I met people who travel alone, with family, with friends – some to find themselves, some to find other people, some to see places, discover food and culture, some just want to just escape from their “normal” lives. The fact is I have so many reasons why I left the Philippines and more reasons why I don’t wanna go back yet.

I always say that I am no traveler. Escapist is what I am – I escape from stress, norm, certainties, and imbalance. Roaming around alone has changed me. I was always open and straightforward but back home, I just couldn’t do it anytime because the society will tell you that some things are not to be discussed even if I personally believe that they should be. Some things get malicious because we put malice onto them. Some things get unacceptable to be discussed because we don’t talk about them. I felt like I was confined and I couldn’t be myself and the “life of travel” made me more of myself.

I am a changed person now. The same but different. My wardrobe (my backpack) had changed. The number of footwear I have decreased immensely. I eat differently now (though I miss Filipino food at times). I am not a snob as I was before. The way I speak and the choices of words had changed. When I was still home, I was scared to be completely myself. Can you imagine how terrifying it is for me to think of going home being actually who I really am?

So do I ever feel excited whenever I think about going home? NO. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Philippines. I have accepted the yins and yangs of my country while still hoping for the better. In fact, I always get pumped up talking about the beauty of places and people we have (people I met can testify to that). It’s true, “It’s not you, Philippines. It’s me.” I can not be my true self in my “home”.

So what now, Haze? Are you going back home? Are you ready? Do you feel excited?

First of all, where is home? Because I have made myself my own home. And to answer the questions, no. At least, not now.

No matter how I hate planning, I always come up with contingency plans whenever I come to a point where going back seems to be the next and only choice. I miss the Philippines but I just know that I can always go back when I am ready which I am not at the moment. No matter how difficult it is being away and sustaining this kind of life, I will still choose this. (If you’re waiting for my choice). Because going back home is scarier than being away.

I really miss you, Philippines, but I think it is important to have this cool-off stage. But remember, I always love you.

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  1. This is such a real and honest post that I think so many travelers can relate to. I think travel really changes you and makes you unable to accept certain actions or beliefs any more. I wish you only the best wherever you decide to go. There’s a big world out there and your original home doesn’t have to be your permanent home.

  2. Going home is always hard especially if you’ve been using travel to escape what you didn’t like back there. But you’ll find that after these 10 months of travel, you’re a stronger, different version of yourself and perhaps the things that you hated so much about home before won’t seem to affect you in the same way. Even if they do, now you know there’s always a way to leave again!

    I bet you’ll also start to notice things that you love about home that you weren’t aware of before you went travelling.

    Just remember, even going home is a part of your journey!

    Jane M

  3. You’re definitely not alone. We don’t travel for very extended periods of time because we have full-time jobs at home in the States, but even leaving for 2 weeks changes how we interact with/relate to each other in ways that I love, and helps us escape from the news and the insanity all around us and experience life in the present moment. So, in that way, I really get what you’re saying – home can feel like a muzzle instead of a safe place. But here’s hoping it won’t be as bad as you think – when you’re ready 🙂 safe travels!!

  4. I can relate to this escape from home feeling. 🙂 Sometimes the neighborhood causes more harm to psyche than anything else. I am glad you found what makes you the happiest and you are pursuing it wholeheartedly. 🙂

  5. I like going home but home is no longer the Philippines. I have settled in Phoenix, Arizona where I am excited to rest after 6-8 months of travel every year.

  6. I have noticed that most travellers are kinda escapists. there is no shame in that. every once in a while we all need a break from the mundane and what better way than to explore this pretty planet and gain perspectives along the way:)

  7. I relate to everything you said – after you travel for a long period of time, it’s very difficult to go home, and not only because the sense of wanderlust means you never want to leave, but the anxiety that comes with knowing you’ve changed, but home hasn’t. At least that’s what it is for me – it’s very difficult to fit back into the life you left when you’ve gone through such drastic evolutions in your personality – when you’ve seen such different things, and your perspective has completely changed. You don’t fit in, and have to forge a new life for yourself, even at home. Home becomes foreign. That’s what gives me anxiety thinking about “home”.

  8. Re-entry can be very difficult after a long stint of travel, but it’s part of the journey. Getting back into the groove of being back home is made even more difficult when others around you, those in your immediate circle, can’t really relate to what you’re feeling, to how the experience has changed you and your perceptions. That said, that new of seeing, watching and interacting with the world will now also apply to your ‘newer’ life at home.

  9. I haven’t lived there since I was in high school but home is always going to be my parents’ place in Tennessee. I think in some ways home is an abstract concept and can mean whatever you want it to. You are right that it doesn’t get talked about by travelers very much. It really should be. Coming home can be an interesting adventure.

  10. I can understand where you are coming from! While we don’t travel full time, we can work from anywhere and we spend more than half of the year on the road. It’s hard to have other people doubt your choices and make you feel like you need to stay home. Glad you are going to continue traveling if that’s what you feel you need to do right now—it’s important to listen to your own needs and not the opinions of others! Happy travels!

  11. I totally agree with you… I left France more than 6 years ago and couldn’t even think about going back. I love it but at the same I know that I’m met to be away, discovering new places and new horizons! Thanks for sharing your thought and enjoy your ongoing travels and wonders ????

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