What is like to come back home after traveling the world volunteering

Coming back might be tough. Fours traveling and I still learn something new about me every time I come back home. This is what you can expect from this experience.


Jan 17, 2019

My name is Luciano, I am from Argentina and I ve been travelling for more than 4 years. I actually live in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and my blog, ...


Yes, I know. Traveling the world and being a volunteer is awesome. Simply as that. 

We meet so many people, we make so many new friends and, I think the most important thing, we learn so much

If someone, when I left home, would have said me how many memories I was going to collect, I wouldn’t have believed him, or her. It may be, even, overwhelming.

But, someday, at some point, we have to come back home. Or, at least, to our first home. Because when you start traveling, home is everywhere. Maybe for a week, maybe for a month, maybe for a season, but we will have to do it. And, believe me, is not easy.

Keep on reading, maybe I can help you a little bit with this special journey called “coming back home”.

People won't understand you when you come back home

They won’t understand you

Volunteering? What’s that? How do you get paid? Did you leave home to clean bathrooms? When will you finally settle down and start a normal life? The train will pass and you will miss it, hurry up”. 

Sounds familiar? Yep. I know. They said me those words to me too. It can be frustrating, right? Inhale and exhale a few times. You will need it.

To be honest, our way of living is…let’s say… a little bit out of the box. Right or wrong, it is not how most of the society lives. I am not saying we should live how they told us. Not at all. But we have to understand that it is not that easy for our family and friends to get what we are doing. So, confrontation is not how we should proceed when they ask us these questions. 

The key is understanding. Understanding that there is no one single truth and that, if what they believe in, makes them happy, that’s all they need. 

And making our family and friends understand that, even our way of living is not what they planned for us, we are being happy. We are enjoying life. Is not that the purpose of everything?

Just sit at the table with them. Have a cup of coffee or a few beers. Explain to them that because you are a doctor, it doesn’t mean you can’t be in a hostel doing a night shift. Or that because you are an engineer, it doesn’t mean you can’t collect almonds on a beautiful farm in the South of Italy. 

Explain all of these things softly and with the right words. And, if they don’t get it, don’t be mad. Trust me, it is not the right choice. Give them time. And allow you time, too. Both sides will need a few months, and even years, to understand how the other part is behaving.

coming back home after traveling can be a reflexive time

You won’t fit

We won’t be the same ones when we come back home. Trust me. The things we believe in. The things we used to like. Our way of living. Our way of eating. Everything, absolutely everything, changes when we go traveling. 

Wait. Don’t panic. Changing is not bad. Please, don’t think that. I am not sure why people think changing is wrong. We are energy. And energy is supposed to change. One of the basic laws of physics.

You will discover so many things abroad. New cultures. New thoughts. New Religions. You will realize that there are no borders and that what may be “wrong” back home, is “fine” now.

Have you noticed the “” in the phrase above? They are really important. As I said before, it is not about pointing with a finger and saying what’s wrong and what’s not. There is no right and wrong. It is just about adapting. About respect. About knowing different cultures and trying to be part of them. 

Eating their food. Asking them what they believe in and, most important, hearing them. Everyone has something to teach us. And that’s one of the most important things when you travel. If you think you know everything before you put a foot into that plane, something is wrong.

It happened to me that, as I was born in a country where we eat meat 80% of the week (really), being a veggie or even not eating as many meat as most of the population, is not well seen. If you don’t eat meat, you will suffer bullying.

After being a volunteer in Southeast Asia and after spending four months in Vietnam, I discovered so many new ingredients, flavors and I realized that meat is not the only thing we can eat. Eating vegetables can be awesome too.

Back home, when I said this, they just laughed. “Come on, stop joking and eat this stake, be a man, please”, they said. Not one, but hundreds of times.

Patience. That’s another key. And to concede. And to use our philosophy of traveling, back home too. Because, in the end, coming back home is a different kind of travel.

So, if we like to know about the culture in Japan, why not doing it also back home? If eating a BBQ is so important for them, I want to experiment that. I want to be taught in the place I thought I couldn’t learn anything else. 

It is all about teaching and learning. What we learned abroad. And what they learned when we were away. Because the time passes for everyone and, if we learned things, they may have learned too.

Backpacker solo traveling around the world

You will need time. And they will need it too.

The first time you come back home may be awful. The second time, too. Maybe the third one is a little bit better but the fourth one is worst than the first one. 

Maybe you'll enjoy every time you come back home. Maybe you'll need to come back ten times before you learn how to enjoy it. Don’t panic, as I wrote before. Time is a key, too.

Maybe the first time we came back for only 10 days and it was not a lot of time. We wanted to visit family and friends but we realize that we were running between houses and spending only a few hours with each one.

Maybe the second time we came back for two months and we discovered ourselves in our bed, watching Netflix, just asking the clock to go faster until the time our plane was leaving.

Maybe when we came back, our friends and family are with a lot of things going on and they can’t give us the attention we were hoping or maybe they asked us all sort of different questions, but not the ones we thought they were going to ask.

Don’t plan it that much. Just let it be. Magic will happen. If it is not in the first time, it will be in the second one, or the third one, or at some point. But, please, try to enjoy it. 

Consider coming back home as a part of this lovely journey. Even now we feel at home in different places around the world, there will always be one first home. Where we learned a lot of things. And where they love us, even if we choose to follow our dreams far from them. That’s is simply unique.


Jan 17, 2019

My name is Luciano, I am from Argentina and I ve been travelling for more than 4 years. I actually live in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and my blog, ...

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