I didn’t realise how hard repatriation would be.
I didn’t realise that once I had seen my family, my friends, and eaten as many quintessentially English things as my stomach could handle, that I would miss the infusion of unknown flavours. I didn’t realise that when I came home, it wouldn’t feel like home any more.
Since I’ve been back, I’ve had a lot of people ask me why I returned.
“England is so cold… So boring… So wet… How could you choose it over Thailand?”
But the truth is whilst Thailand had an array of opportunities, a social scene like no other and insane food, it never truly felt like home either. It was missing something and I couldn’t figure out what it was.
One of my reasons for returning to England was because I didn’t want a life of travel fuelled by searching for something that didn’t exist. I wanted to travel freely and fully and I needed a break from living as an expat to discover if, and why, I was running away.
But in my coming back I realised something surprising.
It wasn’t England I was running away from, it was myself.
I disliked the person that I used to be, I just didn’t realise until I moved to Thailand and became a person I was proud of, a person I liked being.
Before I made the decision to move to Thailand I used to be stressed, restless and unmotivated and I thought it was England that was doing it to me, but after spending a year where I felt free, spontaneous and at ease with myself I realise it wasn’t.
I was blaming my home country because I didn’t want to admit that it was me.
I was the reason that I was stressed, restless, and unmotivated.
I was the one holding myself back.
And I was letting myself stand in the way of my own happiness, of my own freedom.
Repatriation has taken my emotions through the mill.
When I got back to England the first month and a half felt like a prison sentence.
I felt like I was having an existential crisis, and I couldn’t even get the cathartic release that blogging brings because I couldn’t find the words to talk about it. I felt stifled, trapped and unsure of what move I was supposed to make next. I didn’t know whether to recreate myself in another country or stay put.
If Thailand wasn’t home and England wasn’t home, and those were the only places that I had lived, where was home? I didn’t know what I was searching for and then I started to over-analyse.
Should I have come back?
Should I have stayed in Thailand?
Should I stay?
Should I go?
Each night the same questions circulated around in my head. and that’s when I realised I was already guilty of chasing something that didn’t exist. I was chasing the prospect of home, determined to find a location in which I truly felt like I belonged and I wasn’t finding it. Which if I’m honest, really p*ssed me off because I’m super good at finding things. Just ask my mum how many times I’ve had to find her keys!
And you know what finally dawned on me?
Home isn’t a place.
It’s a feeling, and regardless of where you find yourself geographically, one thing is always constant – you will always be with yourself. And when you start to like who you are, you stop searching for metaphorical definitions for things that you already have and the pressure that you put on yourself dissipates.
And now I’m ready to go out and explore without hesitation
Because I know.
I’m not running away from anything.
I’m running towards it.