Reintegration Catch 22 – A Flowchart

Yes, I realize that is has been a little quieter ‘round these parts than I would have liked them to be. To be honest, I’m being incredibly selfish with my time, completely surrounding myself with art endeavors and planning all of our Burns for the year. More than anything, I fail at adequately expressing what reintegration has been like without creating a sad, emo post that will certainly piss off many people and seem ungrateful.

We’re lucky. We had some amazing friends that opened their house to us when we hit rock bottom. With super cheap rent and a house over our head, we were able to get ahead – slowly, but surely. It has taken us TWO years to finally get back on track – something I hadn’t anticipated on. I feel like the reality of coming back is never addressed by bloggers and wandering through the darkness has made it a horrible ride.

Getting back into the swing of things after selling all of your belongings and traveling looks something like this:

Reintegration Flow Chat

After starting from square one, we’re finally moving into our own place at the end of May, both of us are working hard at our new, well-paying gigs, and we’re hoping to have our first new car in July. The things (“The Man”) I was so vehemently against when we left, I’m now embracing with a new understanding. All I want right now is a place to call my own, a couch to cuddle up with hubby, and a couch to watch movies on.

This isn’t the end. It is another beginning. We’ve learned we need a base camp. We’ve learned that we can’t make it by being a blogger. And most of all, we’ve learned that we like to work, come home, and leave work at work. Blogging was unhealthy for me because it was always there. I was always doing something for it. I turned into someone I didn’t know and felt as though I was consumed by this blogging monster.

So I stopped – everything.

And that is what has worked for us.

Have you been through reintegration? What tips and tricks do you have for people returning? What experiences did you have?

23 thoughts on “Reintegration Catch 22 – A Flowchart”

  1. I’ve never left…
    That is, I’ve never traveled that long term, so I’m afraid I can’t help:/

    Something completely different: may I ask with what kind of program you’ve created that flowchart?:)

  2. I balance having Toronto as a base with travel and it was really tough in the beginning – mostly because I had to completely abandon every expectation of what my new life would be. This meant letting go of friendships and building new ones. But I’d never go back to my old life, there was a reason why I left it.

    1. We’ve definitely gone through a shift in friends – but mainly on purpose. I needed to find people that were inspiring, every growing, and accepting of me. <3 There is no way I would ever go back!

  3. Yeah…. this is kinda how I feel after New Zealand drained all my money out of me (and actually put me into some credit card debt, due to having to leave unexpectedly). Fortunately, my mom is very graciously letting me live with her rent free and drive her car (she’s retired so doesn’t need it much) for now while I try to find a decent paying job. I’m working part time somewhere now but it’s only just covering my own bills (aforementioned cc debt, student loan payment and health insurance) so I’m looking for a 2nd part-time job right now since that appears to be the only thing hiring at the current time… :/

    1. Crazy what we do, eh? Your mom sounds really nice – I had the choice of living with my dad in San Antonio (nice offer, but Austin is my home), or living with some friends of ours on the outskirts of Austin so we chose the latter. Best of luck on the job search!

  4. I love the flow chart! We’ll be attempting our re-integration in about 3-4 months. It’s a process we’ve done before, as we lived in Germany for 2 years before returning to North America. I don’t think the process will be any easier, though, this time around. We’re expecting some extreme culture shock moving back to Florida after a couple years in Thailand!

    1. This is “technically” our second time but the first time we didn’t try too hard to find jobs and the like. This one is sticking. 😛

      And at least you’re going from one muggy place to the next! 😉

      Best of luck!

  5. Oh Erica, I went through this for years when I was home. While I had a place to live and a car, I was so against working for “the man.” Yeah, I did it, but it wasn’t what I wanted and I dreamed of doing other things instead of just accepting it, making the best of it, and planning from there. That negative attitude seeped into every aspect of my life and made it difficult to do anything. It is so important to embrace whatever place you are in life and know nothing is permanent, and if you don’t like something, you need to know you can take the steps to change it, but have to go through necessary evils in order to do so. I am glad you have a better attitude. It is never easy to come from a life of travel and settle down and compromise the person you thought you were … but the truth is, we are always changing, evolving, liking/disliking new/different things. It is what makes us amazing. 🙂 <3

    1. Being here is what I want right now. I would like to be a little more mobile but ultimately, we’re the ones who got ourselves into this much debt and it is our duty to stay and pay if off before dreaming of our next goal. <3 I'm trying to stay positive. I wasn't at first.

  6. Congrats on finding the well paying jobs! Those certainly aren’t easy to come by. The rest of the pieces, I’m sure, will start to fall into place. I am really enjoying reading about your reintegration and hope you continue to post more x

  7. You’re right, not many bloggers talk about how hard it is to go back to a “normal” life. I suspect it’s because the ones who go back just quietly slip away from the blogging or they just don’t want to admit it. But everyone’s experience is different, and trying to make a full living from blogging just doesn’t work for the majority of people who try it. I could never be a nomad, I definitely need a home and a couch to curl up on. I need that stability and routine. But we’re figuring out our own way to travel and still have a somewhat “normal” life here in Germany. I can understand how blogging can take over your life and ultimately be a bad thing. I’m glad you’re focusing on things you enjoy and things that make you happy. Blogging is fun, and I love my 2 sites, but I don’t think I could ever continue if it was making me miserable. Hopefully you’ll still keep blogging at a level that’s fun.

  8. At the end of the day I think it really comes to how much money the blog is making. If there was a substantial income that paid for a comfortable life and save for the the future I’m quite convinced more of us would spend a lot more time on the road. But unfortunately this is quite a bit of money and there are many of us out there…congrats on your new well paying jobs by the way, it’s indeed hard nowadays!

  9. Dude I feel you. I am currently going through the same thing, and I wish I felt up to writing about it. Instead, I’m wallowing away over here with everyone making me feel like shit because I ‘am not allowed to complain’ Oh you live in Hawaii! Its so wonderful! FUCK THAT. Its not wonderful. To me its just another place and we had a reason for coming here that didn’t include surfing all day. Signing this lease just about broke my heart. I’m already contemplating ways to get out of it. Its really hard. And no one knows so I’ll write it here because no one will see it…I quit my badass job yesterday. The pay was garbage and not helping me towards our long term goal. Killed me. And this not having any friends thing….I haven’t left the house in 2 days. Oh wait I’m not supposed to complain because I live in Hawaii. Right. Good luck with the job and fuck the world yall do what feels right for you. Because that’s the only thing that matters in the end!

  10. Working in theatre, I understand how you feel. Work is never steady, finding a 3 month gig is a good thing and at times practically unheard of. I’m always worrying about my next paycheck and if the company I’m currently working for can hire me back, it’s an incredibly difficult cycle. And, making my work look relevant to occupations outside my field is extremely difficult and frustrating at times. Perseverance is the key, even when you want to give up! It’s good you’re up front and honest about this for people to see a different side of the blogging and professional traveler’s world.

  11. Oh Lord, I am going through the exact same thing and trying to find reasonably priced car insurance for my 18 year old car is making me want to get on the next flight out of Ireland and go back to travelling where all this grown up stuff is not needed!

    I look forward to hearing how you guys get on and to compare them to my experience

  12. I know exactly what you mean, Erica. In the period I wasn’t working before coming to Taipei – a gap of almost one year – I became kind of obsessed with my blog. It was making me money, but it wasn’t steady, and I was picking up a fair bit of freelance work, which seems to have now dried up completely. It wasn’t so bad when I was on the road, but when I went back to the UK in mid-August…eurgh. I’m lucky that I had my family to stay with, but they were less than understanding at times, and the job market in my hometown consists of retail or hospitality – nobody wants to employ someone who has a degree for an entry level position, and the higher-level positions are usually filled from within whatever company is hiring. Le sigh.

    Now I’m back in Taipei though, I’m loving being back at work. Like you said, you go in, do your job, and then leave work at work. I don’t have to worry about my income, don’t have to worry about paying rent, and I’m doing a job that I really enjoy. Woo hoo!

  13. Reintegration is definitely hard but as time goes by it definitely gets easier. I have been back from a 13 month trip for 7 months now and I am finally starting to feel ‘normal’ after being depressed for months. I love the City I am living in now and have lots of travel plans but it is great having a base. Good luck with the move into your own place, we will be moving into our own place in a couple of months too 🙂

  14. In the end it’s depends on what makes you two happy. That’s all that matters.

    We are about to head home after almost 2 and half years on the road. We are ready to embrace being back home as we know that it won’t be for long. We have no plans on settling down but that’s what makes us happy.

    We are very happy you two are starting to have everything fall in place and we do plan on visiting the South sometime…when that happens it would be great to meet up.

  15. Congrats on getting your own place. I was fortunate not to have to deal with home/ job reintegration, but reintegration into Corporate America and my friendships was plenty difficult for me. I think everyone should plan at least a two year transition period after a travel sabbatical.

  16. I tried to reintegrate … until I realized I was trying to pound myself into a round hole when I was a square peg. It’s not perfect yet, but I have a mobile job that covers my monthly expenses in the developed world, and that makes me money in the developing world. It’s the happiest I’ve been in years…!

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