After living abroad for almost five years and making multiple visits home, I wanted to share a topic that I don’t feel is covered enough- how to navigate the spectrum of emotions when visiting home in a remote/digital nomad lifestyle.
For many in a fully remote lifestyle:
- You’re spending extended periods traveling abroad, far from family and friends
- You’re choosing a drastically different lifestyle choice 📍🌎
- You’re navigating an unconventional life and career path 👣
You also constantly evolve as you change destinations, cultures, and environments.
Each return home can bring reverse culture shock and a rollercoaster of emotions. And this can be challenging!
Here is my advice for visits home in a remote lifestyle:
1. Use your grounding practices
As with changing cities/countries, it’s important when you arrive home to honor your grounding practices as soon as possible. Grounding in your routine and practices helps you to find your internal balance. ⚖️
Some questions to support you:
- What makes you feel balanced/at ease?
- What helps you to feel settled?
- What is an essential part of your daily routine?
- How do you feel at peace and centered in your environment?
Focus on grounding once you arrive and as you change locations on your visit to maintain balance. See my blog post here for more tips on how to ground in new destinations.
2. Disconnect and be present with loved ones
The time on visits home is limited, so disconnect to be present with loved ones. If you can take time off of work, take the time. Plan ahead for the time away before your visit to support you. Close the laptop and put the phone aside to enjoy the limited time at home with family and friends.
3. Recognize and honor your growth
Honor and acknowledge your growth. Give compassion to others who are familiar with a past version of you. This lifestyle deeply changes you. Old environments will bring more light to your internal growth and shifts. And old triggers can and will come up on visits home. Acknowledge how you’ve evolved, and be gentle with yourself as you process the changes.
4. Have clear and strong boundaries
Know yourself and your needs. Create strong and clear boundaries to protect them. Understand what you need to preserve your peace and happiness, and always prioritize it.
Some questions to support you:
- What’s core to you on your visits home?
- What do you need to put in place to protect your personal peace and happiness?
- How do you need to communicate these boundaries?
Here are a few tips for boundary setting:
- Get clear on your boundaries before heading home
- Journal or write your boundaries for an added level of clarity
- Communicate your boundaries to those involved
It’s important that you first get clear on your boundaries before others can respect them. Then communication is key. Communication can be verbal (voicing your boundaries to those involved) or non-verbal (putting these boundaries into action).
Some examples of boundaries for visits home:
- Not talking about certain topics with certain family members
- Taking an hour a day of needed alone time for yourself
- Getting separate accommodations on visits to maintain your personal space
A reminder that setting boundaries to honor yourself, allows you to best show up for others.
5. Allow yourself to process and feel the emotions
A lot of emotion can come up on visits home from abroad. San Francisco brings up a lot of emotion for me every visit. It’s like I revisit a past version of myself on every visit to the city.
Emotions can arise from:
- Revisiting places and old memories
- Recognizing your growth and internal shifts
- Seeing loved ones for the first time after time apart
- Recognizing the limited time to spend with loved ones
- Navigating challenging family dynamics
- Realizing you now feel more at home abroad/in other places
Journal to process the emotions that come up. Cry, move, dance, soak up the sunshine….do whatever you need to feel through the emotions.
6. Connect with like-minded community
Connect with your abroad/remote community that can relate to the emotions you’re experiencing. It’s always good to feel heard and understood in your emotions. Catch up over a phone call or Facetime to share and process your feelings. They have likely experienced similar emotions on visits home.
7. Enjoy the comforts
When you’re constantly finding comfort in discomfort, home is an opportunity to embrace the comforts. Enjoy the time surrounded by loved ones, favorite foods, local spots, and missed items.
Embrace it all.
Use it to re-energize and head off to your next destination abroad refreshed.