Last updated: 09:00 PM ET, Thu January 07 2016

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  • A Cruising Couple | January 7, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    5 Ways To Cope With Reverse Culture Shock

    5 Ways To Cope With Reverse Culture Shock

    You’ve just had the most amazing adventure in another country. You picked up some of the local lingo, dined on regional delicacies and learned the ins and outs of a culture other than your own. Now it’s time to head back to “normalcy” — aka, home. You’re over-the-moon to sleep in your own bed, give your family a hug and chow down on your comfort food of choice.

    But after a few days, you find there’s just one problem: The initial excitement has worn away and you suddenly find yourself feeling out of place in your own culture…


    Say hello to reverse culture shock. Culture shock is a common occurrence for travelers everywhere. It can sneak up on you when you least expect it, and leave you feeling sad, confused and lonely.

    But what is it exactly?

    Reverse culture shock is defined as the “emotional and psychological stage of re-adjustment, similar to your initial adjustment to living abroad” You expect everything and everyone to be just the way you left it before your epic adventure. And sometimes, that’s exactly the problem. You’ve changed your outlook on life, but everything else has remained exactly the same.

    So other than hopping on the next plane to anywhere, how can you begin to deal with reverse culture shock? The key is to focus on a gradual re-acclimation to home. Here are a few tips that will help:

    1. Share Your Feelings With Other Wanderlusters

    One of the most important things to realize is that just about everyone has experienced some level of culture shock after a trip abroad. While you’re closest friends and family might not understand why you’re feeling so blue, other travelers will. Reach out to your favorite travel bloggers. Join a Facebook group dedicated to travelers. Research meet-ups where wanderers are gathering. Not only will you get to talk about the reverse culture shock you’re experiencing, you might just meet a future travel companion or gain tips for your next adventure.

    2. Plan A New Adventure

    Once the travel bug has bitten you, it’s hard to find a cure. If you’re having trouble adjusting to life at home, then get started planning your next trip abroad! Sometimes this is just what we need to keep us excited and looking forward while we continue adjusting to life back home. It’s not necessarily a means of escape, but rather a way to balance your passion for life abroad with the realities of being back home. Plus, by setting a goal for your next trip, you might just find reverse culture shock doesn’t have time to set up residence.

    3. Play Tourist At Home

    You’ll be surprised by how much there is to see and discover in your own backyard. Get out there and be an explorer wherever you call home. Try a new restaurant. Re-visit all of the must-see tourist attractions. Finally make plans to do whatever it is you’ve been too busy to do. Often we never experience the top tourist attractions in our own city or neighborhood because we say we’ll get to it later. Stop waiting. Ignite the wanderlust today.

    4. Stay In Touch With Friends From Abroad

    Couchsurfing in Hong Kong

    If you’ve made friends while traveling abroad, then do your best to stay in touch with them. You might find that you’re feeling “homesick” for the friends and adopted family you had overseas. Sometimes all it takes is a shared laugh or quick catch-up to lessen the feeling of sadness. And with Skype, social media and the plethora of other online communication networks available, it’s never been easier to keep the bond alive.

    5. Be Present

    It’s always easier to live in the past or the future than it is to enjoy the present moment. But as the saying goes, the present moment is all we have. Be grateful for the amazing experiences you had abroad, but also realize all you have to be thankful for where you are right now.

    Keep a gratitude journal. Meditate. Reflect on long walks. Whatever it is that keeps you in the present — do it. Reverse culture shock is a prevalent symptom of coming home after extended time traveling. But follow these specific steps and you’ll soon find that reverse culture shock doesn’t have to define your time at home.

    Have you ever suffered from reverse culture shock? What did you do?


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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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