A question came through on the Let Love In page* regarding how much more easeful it is to 'rechoose' who you are while travelling eg. shedding old patterns etc, and what a struggle it can be to maintain that when you get back home. I wanted to share my reply here because I thought how similar the experience of a long travel trip is, to the process of change we go through during our ongoing 'inner travel' trips and awakening process. Both trigger similar challenges when it comes to how to stay true to your 'new' while continuing to still be in some 'old'.
When we travel (actual travel or inner growth) we get a chance to discover more of who we are without being boxed into being that person's daughter, that person's brother, that person's friend for 20+ years. Part of the 'freedom' feeling of travel is, I think, that we are free of so many of the preconceptions people have of us that somehow influence how we are whenever we are around that person or around a certain environment or community. And then when we come back from travel it can be challenging to maintain our new expansion, our newfound version of ourselves, while being around people who are still relating to us as if we are the 'old' us, which in turn has the potential to trigger or bring out 'the old us'.
It's really common after a big travel experience (again, actual or inner) to no longer resonate with some, or a lot, of your home environment be it friends, work, family, geographic area, your appearance etc. Some people find themselves hanging out on the outskirts of their old life, like an outsider looking in, not quite share where or if they fit in anymore. Others find themselves squashed quite quickly back into their old life, and wonder, as my Let Love In commenter wondered, if all those positive transformations have been lost.
There can be an inner struggle between the 'old' you and the 'newfound' you. I don't want to say 'new' you, because it is not so much a new you, rather it is more of the true you, and thus 'newfound' is more apt. So the old you and newfound you are having a bit of a moment thinking well how does this work? How do I be the 'newfound' me while living in my 'old' environment?
The truth is, it is different for everyone. Some people find they can't do it, and travel (actual or inner) becomes the catalyst for a more permanent move away from an area or group of friends or line of work. For others, it takes some time post-travel to integrate your newfound self into your old day to day life.
Either way, a gradual, ongoing, checking in with yourself is helpful. Ask yourself "is this still true for me?, does this still feel good for me?" regarding old habits or things you used to do. If you feel you are one person while travelling, or when around 'conscious' events, but then another person at home, what is it that you do while travelling that feels so good, and are you doing it in your life at home? What qualities emerge out of you in your 'new reality' that you find you suppress for some reason in your 'old reality'.
I've found that I've experienced major transformations with every big travel (actual and inner) journey, and always end up feeling a slightly different version of myself. Still me, but a new chapter me. Which means that life has been full of curvy detours and mountains and valleys rather than being a predictable straight line, with constant reshuffling and rechoosing. If you are one who likes expanding, and likes travelling (be it inner or outer journeys), the key is to make peace with the fact that your identity is going to keep evolving and unfolding and changing. And that means it will be difficult for other people, or your own self, to box you into a set category. Which can feel disconcerting because who doesn't like a bit of stability, but there is also a lot of freedom in that, and excitement too....and ironically the stability comes when you realise that all this changing is actually a response to you becoming more and more aligned with your inner truth and core which is Stability Central.
Our society tends to project onto people that stability comes from 'settling down' which can be translated (for some) to mean staying the same. So our home environment can subconsciously have that effect on us, it is our cave comfort zone. Yet it can also be the base from which we allow ourselves to continuously fly. We don't really have to choose between old and new - we can choose the best of both worlds, choose what works for us, and let go of the rest.
What is your experience of integrating your old and new realities, after major (inner or outer) travel chapters?