What Nobody Tells You About Coming Home After Traveling

Everyone tells you about how amazing travel can be – how it captures your soul and changes who you are. Everyone tells you about how your life will be forever altered by travel, and that once you catch the travel bug….there’s no turning back.

But nobody tells you about the return home.

Nobody tells you that when you come home – everything around you is exactly the same. Your friends are the same people, working the same jobs, dating the same people, drinking at the same bars on a Friday night. Your parents are the same, cooking the same meals, in the house that hasn’t changed a bit. Everything looks, feels, and smells the same.

But you…..you have changed

You have seen and experienced magical places that you’ve always “liked” on Instagram. You have breathed in new air. You have sank your feet into foreign soil. You have been surrounded by different cultures, different languages, and different religions for weeks, maybe months, maybe years.

Sure, it’s exciting coming home. Seeing your family and friends and getting back to work, sharing all of your stories and getting hugs that could squeeze the life out of you.

But then everything goes back to normal. You’re back in your routine. Everyone is used to you being home – everyone is living their day-to-day normal life.

I just want to scream. Everything is moving around me – but I am frozen. The return home is always difficult for me because I can’t relate to “home” anymore.

You see – my home is foreign streets and airports. It’s waking up at 4 AM in Cambodia to catch the sunrise behind a temple. It’s renting a moped and getting lost on unfamiliar roads. It’s $4 hostels and waking up to geckos on my bed. It’s dancing on the street in the pouring rain because it’s the Thai New Year. It’s showering in flip-flops and wondering when the next time I’m going to do laundry is. It’s living out of my backpack and wearing the same outfit 3 days in a row.  It’s sleeping on night buses and boats so I don’t waste a day traveling to my next destination.

I come “home” and I am restless. I am anxious. I don’t feel the same – and nobody understands me. I am constantly thinking about the day I finally runaway. Constantly thinking about selling everything I own – packing my bag – and just leaving. For good.

I love my city, I love my state, I love my family, and I love my friends. But this small town isn’t where I belong – and frankly, there’s nothing actually holding me down here.

I dream of waking up in new cities, where nobody knows my name and the possibilities are endless. I dream about working odd jobs and connecting with kindred spirits as I make my way around the globe.

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Nobody tells you about the emptiness you feel inside after you return from traveling. That as soon as you land and give and receive your hugs – you’re wondering “what next?”.

My hometown will always hold a place in my heart. But I am sorry – because I can no longer call it home. Home is the unknown – and I will spend the rest of my life chasing it.

Thanks for reading my blog post. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns: please feel free to e-mail me: kimberlyncharters@yahoo.com


Also – follow me on instagram to see travel photos and inspiration almost daily – @waddupkim


• XOXO, KIM CHARTERS – AS KIM TRAVELS 

What Nobody Tells You About Coming Home After Traveling

15 Travel Tips That Might Make Life A Little Easier 

As I travel from city to city and country to country, I’ve come across many situations where I’ve learned something useful. 

Hopefully these give you some ideas and inspiration to make your life on the road just a tad bit easier…..

1. Using Google Maps around the city without using any data: I learned this as I was traveling throughout Europe. If you’re at your hostel/hotel/etc with wifi and you search your destination before you leave, you can still follow along with the route off wifi as you walk/take your bus/whatever. 

2. Talk to locals: This is one of the most important points. Talking to locals may mean stepping out of your comfort zone (which is a fantastic thing) and making you feel a little weird – BUT! Locals will show you the ropes. I’m tellin’ ya. This is how you find hidden waterfalls and the best restaurants in the city that you can’t find on TripAdvisor.


3. Don’t forget to treat yourself: Sure, traveling on a budget is phenomenal and saving money makes you feel on top of the world. But if you really want something or really want to experience something….do it. This may be your only chance. Take a gondola ride, get a Thai massage, or go paragliding in the Alps. It’ll be worth the money. Do you want to live with regrets?!

4. Purchase a sarong: I cannot tell you how much my sarongs mean to me during my travels. You can also get a large scarf or something similar, too. I bought my first sarong in Bali and I bought more because I use them so much. If you’re cold in the airports, bathing suit cover, as a towel on the beach, whatever you hope and dream for. I am always using them.

5. Breathe: Don’t panic and stress yourself out over situations you cannot change. Your flights may get delayed. Your hostel could have double booked. Maybe your moped gets a flat tire. Breathe and laugh it off. It’ll all be settled soon. 

6. Scan and photocopy your important documents: Scan your passport/social security card/license/etc. Life happens. People lose things. Things get stolen. Have a couple of copies with you in your bags. 

7. Learn bits of the language you’ll be surrounded by: No, you don’t need to be fluent in Portugese for your week in Brazil. But learning simple words and phrases can go a long way. It’s respectful and always looks good. Plus – if people speak broken English….knowing important phrases and words is GREAT. “Hello”, “Thank you”, “Please”, “You’re welcome”, “How much?”, “Toilet?” are all good starting points. 

8. Pack….and then take half of it away: Be honest with yourself. Do you need all of that? Do you need 4 pairs of wedges and 18 tops for your week in Florida? Make life easier. It’ll be less heavy and you’re less likely to get stopped at baggage claim transferring items to other bags and throwing things away.

9. Pack the crucial items in your carry-on: You’ll always have this bag on you. I’ve personally never had it happen to me yet, knock on wood – but bags do get lost and transferred on wrong flights. Make sure you have your medications, cameras and other electronics, and maybe even an extra outfit in your carry-on. This way if something does happen…..you have the necessary items with you on your back.

10. Carry face wipes, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper with you: Sounds kind of weird – but some places you may not be able to shower…..many places don’t have soap…..and my god…..the toileeeettt paaapeeerrrr. 

11. Research the country you’re going to beforehand: Learn certain things that may be disrespectful – there are a lot of random things you would never think about. Check if the water is clean or not. Read up on weird rules and laws. This may be a life saver.


12. Compare currencies: It’s a good idea to have at least a basic understanding of the exchange rate between currencies. When you land and someone tells you it’s going to be 2,000 pesos to get to your hotel…..you’re going to want to have an idea if they’re scamming you or not.

13. Learn to haggle: Speaking of money. In many countries it’s acceptable and normal to haggle prices. Just understand when it’s okay to do it. It may only be a $3 difference for that dream catcher – but that $3 will catch you a Mango Juice in the morning. 😉 

14. Roll your clothes when you pack: This not only creates more space, but less wrinkles too. Hip-hip-hooray!

15. Appreciate: Traveling can become hectic and stressful situations do occur. But….it’s important to sit back, take everything in, realize where you are and the opportunities you have…..and appreciate them. It’s easy to get worked up over your phone dying as you’re booking your flight and it’s easy to swear and kick the dirt around when something isn’t going as planned. Just be thankful that you are traveling and surrounded by new and exciting things. 

I hope these simple 15 tips have helped you as you travel or before you embark on your next journey. Do you have any travel tips that you’d add to my list? Let’s hear ’em.

Thanks for reading my blog post. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns: please feel free to e-mail me: kimberlyncharters@yahoo.com

Also – follow me on instagram to see travel photos and inspiration almost daily – @waddupkim

• XOXO, KIM CHARTERS – AS KIM TRAVELS 

15 Travel Tips That Might Make Life A Little Easier 

HOSTELS: and why you shouldn’t believe any bad assumptions about them.

“YOU’RE STAYING IN A HOSTEL? HAVE YOU EVER SEEN THE MOVIE HOSTEL?!?!” #ThingsIGetAlot

Answer: No, I haven’t seen the movie “Hostel”, nor will I ever watch it. 

People, people, people. We gotta stop believing everything we see in movies. Hostels are the bomb.com and you have to experience at least one in your lifetime. 

Why? Let me tell you a little somethin’ somethin’.

When I’m not couch surfing, I’m staying in hostels. If for some reason I just can’t find a perfect host in a city, or maybe plans fall through….hostels are my life saver. 

Hostels are GREAT if you’re smart. I use hostelworld.com to search and book my hostels. 

Now, here are the best things about hostels. And why I don’t stay in hotels.

$$$: They are soooooo perfect for travelers because it gives you a nice bed to sleep in….for an awesome price. Depending on the city you’re staying in, some can be a bit pricey where you don’t really get your money’s worth (ex: Venice, Italy). But MOST are worth every dollar/euro/franc/DKK/NOK/whatever you pay. On average I usually spend about 20-35 euros/dollars/etc a night at hostels. 

Bedding: No, you’re not going to be sleeping on a blanket on a cement floor. Hostels have beds – and actually, some of them are quite comfortable. They provide you with clean sheets, blankets, and pillows when you arrive.  

 Example! My bed in Interlaken, Switzerland – Backpackers Villa Hostel.

Facilities: Hostels also offer high-five-worthy facilities. Some have free wifi, breakfast, different activities to join, lockers, kitchen services, hot showers, laundry, air conditioning or heat, some have terraces, 24/7 reception, and more. Now, not every hostel is going to offer all of these. But a lot do. Hint: when you’re traveling: wifi, breakfast, lockers, and laundry services are super important to look for. 

Activities: Depending on where you are at in the world, a lot of hostels offer joinable activities to their guests. Free walking tours, bike tours, pub-crawls, game nights, movie nights. When you’re by the water, some even offer surfing lessons or beach days. The possibilities are endless – and every hostel and destination is going to be different!

Common area: So most hostels have a common area. Some are small, some are huge. Some have chairs, stools, hammocks, or beanbag chairs. Some have ping-pong tables, pool tables, and other games and activities. Common areas are…..common…..for hostels. See what I did there? They’re great because this is typically where you find your travel friends. Ya know, the ones you meet, add on Facebook, and try to keep in touch with?

 Lisbon Destination Hostel – Lisbon, Portugal.

 Backpackers Villa Hostel – Interlaken, Switzerland.

Friendships: Dude. This is probably the best part about hostels. You make so many friends. Typically the friendships start out during a mean ping-pong tournament or maybe a pub-crawl when you guys get so-totally-wasted together and build an everlasting friendship together thanks to free shots of tequila. But when you’re traveling alone, especially, this is great. This makes you avoid the loneliness. You meet people from all over the world, build your connections, and do some awesome things together. Example: When in Switzerland, a girl named Kira from Utah, USA complimented the tattoo of the world on my ankle….a couple hours later I had her go paragliding through the Swiss Alps with me. When I was in Portugal, a girl named Latifha from The Netherlands asked me if I was going to the beach because I was in my bathing suit. 20 minutes later we were on a train together going town-to-town and adventuring. When in Copenhagen, I met a girl named Johanna at midnight when she asked me where to get a towel. The next day we ended up hanging out, going to dinner with a large group from our hostel, and staying up until 3 AM drinking tea and talking.

So no. Hostels aren’t unsafe, terrifying, experiences. And this is just a very short and sweet explanation of hostels. You’re not in a jail-cell type room, sleeping with one eye open because you’re scared you’re going to get stabbed in your sleep. You’re actually in a bed you get to call your own for the time being, and sleeping like a baby because you probably had a kick-ass day in whatever city you just spent your day in. 

#ENDHOSTELHATE

Please don’t believe everything from movies. Hollywood sucks. Hostels do not. Try it.

 My 6-person dorm in Copenhagen, Denmark at Copenhagen Backpackers.  10-person dorm at Lisbon Destination Hostel in Lisbon, Portugal.6-person dorm in Madrid, Spain at Room 007 hostel.

I’ve stayed in many hostels – this isn’t even half of them. But every experience has been great. I’ve never felt unsafe or uncomfortable. You meet amazing people and build long lasting friendships. You get to sleep in your own bed, take a hot shower, and sleep when you want. They’re relaxing. A home away from home. And my advice to you, my friends: JOIN THE PUBCRAWL. Spend the 12 euros to get drunk with strangers and hate yourself as you chug down that free shot. I don’t care if your flight leaves at 5 AM the next day. Do it. 

– xoxoxo, Kim Charters • AS KIM TRAVELS •

HOSTELS: and why you shouldn’t believe any bad assumptions about them.