Back home and in a rut
Nomads, tell me if you ever get this feeling:
After being away for a period of time you’ve mixed feelings about returning home for a period of time. But eventually that feeling is overridden by the excitement and prospect of being reunited with friends and family.
This time around I spent the first two weeks seeing everyone: my mum, my brother, my uncle, my cousins (all 5 of them), my friends, the school lot, the uni lot, my mentors, my old colleagues, pretty much everyone. And then, I felt exhausted.
Don’t get me wrong – this wasn’t a chore, It was wonderful to see people in three dimensions again – have their voice reunited with their body, have hugs, eat their homemade food. I was able to have smooth flowing conversations not interrupted by bad internet connection. But I felt exhausted, spent, drained. And after two weeks I felt moody, irritable, lethargic and apathetic. The weather in London was as changeable as my mood.
The self-care routine I had built up while away dwindled, my creativity crumbled and my excitement expired. These are now my alarm bells. I’ve slowly learned to recognise them. No more people pleasing – I need me time. I cancelled plans, kicked my boyfriend out, laid low and stayed in an empty north London flat for 3 days. Alone.
What was I feeling? I’d lost my rhythm and I felt out of step with everyone else’s. I was frustrated that my peers didn’t care about the things I cared about (or didn’t care enough) and talked about inconsequential things (IMH-and judgeful-O). My reaction started as ‘What’s wrong with them? and then shifted to ‘What is wrong with me?’.
After some wallowing and alone time. I hit a realisation. My frustration was fruitless – instead of getting annoyed at them for not meeting me where I was – I needed to seek out the folks that were already heading where I was going. Or in other words on the same wavelength.
Those folks are out there, especially in such a melting pot as London. So Google and MeetUp came to my rescue. Before the evening was out I had signed up to the regular Minimalism monthly meet up, the next Effective Altruism social, a talk about ethical startups and through searching #digitalnomads on Twitter – had volunteered myself to host a panel on the Digital Nomad lifestyle at the General Assembly! And more importantly, I ended the week feeling sociable again.
Meeting minimalists we went on tangents about how you decide to buy, discussing resources like Ethical Consumer, and my reusable cutlery and straw went down a storm *insert geek emoji here*. At the Effective Altruism event I found that an old blog post of mine had been cited(!) and met others who were donating 10% of their income and discussed the various ways they choose to donate.
I was nervous about hosting a digital nomad panel – more than 100 people turned up! But the fellow nomads were super friendly and we were asked some very interesting questions – I hope we inspired a few people. We were also very aware to shed a balanced light on the lifestyle and highlighted how lonely it can be sometimes. It’s not all photo filters and sunsets! And lastly, since joining the Ethical Hour Facebook groups I met a fellow member in person, ahead of the Ethical Startup event, Sabine and realised we had a lot in common.
After attending these different interest groups, I felt invigorated, inspired and validated.
So my advice, (if you’re looking for any) is if you’re in a rut seek out the people, the groups that are heading where you want to go. Not just an internet forum, get off your bum and interact with likeminded folks in 3 dimensions and see if that doesn’t get your mojo back.
Sophia Cheng With a decade of communications experience across the for profit and nonprofit sectors, agency and in-house, Sophia has made a habit of making ‘the hard stuff’ more accessible. Since 2018, she has reorientated her life around the climate crisis. She has forged her decade of communications experience into offering workshops, mentoring, blogging, and more, on the biggest issues of our time. View all posts