What it is like to come back home after traveling for 2+ years

A lot of people asked me what it is like to be back after traveling for 2+ years. Short answer: Weird. But to be more specific, here are some of my impressions:

Me and my partner spent 15 months in New Zealand and then another 11 months in Australia on a Working Holiday Visa. We got back home last week after this amazing adventure. The Netherlands didn’t change but I couldn’t help but to notice things I thought of as normal before.

Foreigner in my own country

It feels good be back home. It’s so good to see my family and friends again and it doesn’t feel like I’ve been away for so long at all.

I do kinda feel like a foreigner in my own country. Everything feels different but familiar.

Everything is small

The first thing I noticed is how small everything is. It feels like everything is miniature. We are one of the tallest people in the world but our buildings are very small, the roads are small, the signs, the houses and space between them, even the advertisement billboards are small! The amount we consume and throw away is less too, which is certainly a good thing.

The language

The second thing that I noticed is that everyone speaks Dutch! No way! I can just talk Dutch to a stranger, which is so weird to me. But so nice to be able to do so too! I finally don’t have to explain where I am from and what I am doing every time I meet someone new haha!

It is so cool that everyone rides the bike here and love this part of the culture. I forgot how cheap it is here, I can’t believe we complain about the prices. We also really like to complain for some reason, kinda annoying ironically ;). I forgot how long the days here can be. The sun rises at 8:46am and sunset is at 4:30pm on the shortest day of the year (21st of December). Crazy!

Cold and misserable

It’s so cold going from 35 degrees back to the snow. But we did go ice skating, which I love and missed so much! The country has a lot of overcast and you can go days or even weeks without seeing the sun, which I found really depressing. Aotearoa (New Zealand) means land of the long white cloud. But from my experience the Netherlands wins during winter.

However, the streets are full of beautiful Christmas lights and everyone listens to Christmas songs. I love this time of the year here and missed it! Christmas with 30 degrees and light outside until 10pm is just not the same.

I have to admit though, waking up surrounded by snow without even being in the mountains is pretty cool too!



It’s crazy how small this country is and how small our perspective can be too. 2 hours of driving feels long here but is nothing in Australia! It’s is like driving to the other side of the country versus driving to the other side of the city! It’s just what you are used to I guess.

The whole country feels like one big city to me. Everything you see is man-made. People are everywhere and I can’t drive for 5 min without coming across someone, or a house even. That’s a wee bit different in Australia as you can probably imagine!

Speaking about driving, it’s on the right side again and I came to the conclusion the driving on the left side of the road makes more sense. We do everything from left to right, like reading, so why not this? Driving the roundabout clockwise makes more sense to me. Oh well, I will get used to it again soon!


I miss the mountains. It is so flat here! Our highest hill is 322 meters. I’m not kidding!

I miss the beautiful beaches, the amazing wildlife (although it is nice not having to worry about hitting a kangaroo whilst driving, stepping on a snake or getting bitten by a venomous spider).

I miss the trees and native forests too. The Netherlands is sharing the title with Ireland of the least wooded country. That’s probably why I only started hiking when I arrived in New Zealand.

The color of grass is the same but the sky looks different because there is more light and air pollution. I miss looking at the milky way already. The clouds in the Netherlands tend to look way more dramatic which I like!

To make it even more interesting, in our 15 months period of living and traveling through New Zealand, we have never, NEVER seen lightning! Plenty of storms, but no light art by the clouds. Coincidence?…

All of these impressions are overwhelming. It’s bittersweet. But it is… Home.

Things are starting to get back to normal and I finally got rid of my jetlag. However, we are already planning our next adventure soon so stay tuned! 🙂

What are the things that you noticed when you come back after a long holiday or travels? Let me know in the comments!

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By |2018-01-04T22:16:18+00:00December 15th, 2017|General, Travel, Videos|0 Comments

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