It can take some time to adjust to being back home after living abroad. Even though we had been living in Manhattan when we moved abroad, after a few years of traveling we decided to move back to our hometown of San Francisco for our hiatus for traveling. Not only had we been gone during our travels, we had been infrequent visitors to the Bay Area for almost a decade (since we moved away to NYC college)! Needless to say, our temporary move home required some adjusting. If you’re planning your own international relocation to San Francisco, or anywhere in the US, here are some tips for making the adjustment:
Since we just moved home temporarily, we only had our travel bags – left the rest of our stuff in our NYC movers’ storage unit. However, we’ve had plenty of ex-pat friends deal with the headaches of an international move. This is not a situation where you can rent a U-Haul and muscle through on your own! To avoid issues with customs and the sheer complexity of moving home from another continent, it’s advisable to hire SF movers who specialize in international relocations. It might sound expensive, but there’s really no other (or better) way to handle a move of this magnitude.
Most people find that they changed a lot while living abroad. It’s common to fear that this growth and development won’t last after returning home, but know that the changes are always there if you allow them to be.
Also, the people that you know will have changed. In some cases, these changes could be significant and take some to get used to. Keep in mind that these changes are often the most challenging to embrace, but they are also often the most important to embrace.
Your town or city may have changed as well. In fact, it’s possible that new businesses may have opened up and some may have closed. For instance, we were shocked that our favorite dim sum place in Mission Bay had shuttered after almost 30 years in business. Though it’s sad that some of our old standbys are now gone, it’s also been exciting getting to explore all the new restaurants, coffee shops, and bars that have opened in their places. Keep in mind that these changes may take a bit of time to get used to.
In addition to keeping the connections that you had before you went abroad, it’s a good idea to create new connections. One way to do this is to forge connections with new friends of your friends. Another way to do this is to plan a meet-up for travelers who have recently returned home. Also, social media can be a great way to meet new friends in your community.
While you are visiting familiar places in your area, you should try to do new activities to ensure that you create new memories there. This will ensure that you don’t simply think of these places as locations from your past. One of the first places we visited when we got back to the States was Sausalito, where we got engaged five years ago. We tried a new restaurant and walked past familiar haunts, remembering sweet times past and making new memories as we went.
For many people, there are activities in your hometown that would be interesting to someone traveling to the region. While you may not think to do these things, they can continue to provide you with an enriching experience after you return home. After you travel, these sorts of activities are likely to play a bigger role in your life.
Even if you live in an area where there are no significant attractions, there are still ways that you can live in a more traveler-like way. You can always take long walks in your town or city, take a road trip, or take walks in nature. During our 9 months back in San Francisco, we tackled the city from a vacationer’s perspective – biking the Golden Gate Bridge, touring Alcatraz, riding the cable cars, and hoofing it up hills to every great foodie spot in town.
It’s likely that at first you may find yourself a bit confused when driving at home. Don’t be alarmed if you even sometimes forget your way around. However, this will improve with time.
There are many ways that you can keep in touch with your friends from abroad. Doing this will ensure that you don’t feel disconnected from your life abroad, and it will continue to make these friendships even stronger.