I’ve been home for about a week and a half now.
People want to know what it's like to be home again, after having been away for a while. Well, it’s familiar and uncomfortable. It’s as if something is a bit off. I scan my surroundings, see sameness yet there is a difference. Aha! It's me. I've changed. The subtleties of daily life – people walking their dogs in the neighborhood, watching folks buy $4.00 cups of lattes at the mall, listening to the pre-rehearsed orientation of the dining experience I’m about to have through the strained smile of a waitress at BJ’s, the feeling of guilt I experienced when I bought my laptop… I'm seeing all this from another perspective.
Some say it’s reverse culture shock, a little accuracy in that diagnosis. I've been in Asia for the last five months, certainly different from home. But I don’t think that's the whole reason for this mixed feeling. Travel expands you. In the process, you refine your perspectives. Travel enables you to see the faults and the virtues in your own culture. I’ve become more critical of the American way of life. At the same time, I feel fortunate to be an American. I believe it’s the healthiest form of patriotism.
You can read more of Jeffrey's journey on his blog.