Life after backpacking

I’ve been home for three weeks now, and after all the usual questions about which country I loved most, and did I have the time of my life (India/Thailand/Vietnam and YES), the other question people keep asking me is “how’s it been, adjusting back to ‘real life’?”

So I thought I’d share a post on how I feel about it all. But if you’re here for recipes or reviews, click the links!

“cheers” to real life! LOTS of plans and drinks are clearly helping me adjust

In short, I’d say I’m adjusting to ‘real life’ pretty well. But it’s more complicated than that.

One thing that’s helping, a lot, is that whilst away I realised I didn’t want to go back to a ‘desk job’. I’d had one of those for years since graduating, and quite frankly, had never been truly happy with it. I know we all have to work, and I have always been a hard grafter – from digital marketing to serving pints, I always give a job my all. But I realised I wanted to try my hand at working for myself. Turning my passions into a career. I’ve got a way to go before it’s a roaring success, but the career break made me think long and hard about the life I want to lead. So I’m now braving it and taking steps towards it!

That good weather we had about three weeks ago, and copious invitations to join family and friends for meals/drinks/bbqs/parties have helped too. A LOT.

I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed eating the food I missed (was gasping for a proper brew!) and spending time with loved ones.

Ultimate freedom

The best thing about taking a six month break, I have to say, is truly experiencing ultimate freedom. The only things you really need to worry about are; what adventurous activities you’re going to do that day, and trying not to have a motorbike accident (trust me, you don’t want to be THAT person).

I learnt to ride a scooter (moped) in India

I can’t describe how good the feeling was when I first arrived in Indonesia knowing that, for the next six months, I didn’t have to worry about a thing. It’s so good for the mind and soul, and if you can afford even just to take one month off work to detox from the stresses of day-to-day life, I highly recommend it!

daily achievements: conquering mountains for THAT view
so many versions of paradise in Thailand – if you go to the right places!

Fresh goals

One major thing that’s changed since my trip is this; I’ve completely re-evaluated my life and set myself some new goals. Admittedly, personal goal-setting is something I’ve never really done before. I guess I was too stuck in the daily grind to make time.

meeting the wise Aloo Baba, maybe he helped me figure out my shit?! 😂

But when I got back, with a fresh outlook and attitude, I did the cliched task of sitting down and asking myself the frank, honest question: what do I actually want out of life?

actual paradise ! South Thailand just of Koh Lanta

It turns out, I want quite a lot. So my tasks now revolve around starting a new career, spending time doing the things I love and learning new things; like how to speak Spanish!

I also now have a bigger-than-ever travel bucket list, which in the first instance is focused around Europe and I can’t wait to get started. Backpacking showed me how small this world really is; I’m excited to see even more new places and eat even more amazing food!

stunning, homemade food in Thailand

A new appreciation for the planet

Finally (and arguably, most importantly), I developed a new found appreciation for our beautiful planet 🌏🌎🌍. Seeing plastic in the oceans in Indonesia, Vietnam and India really made me realise that it’s not all paradise like the travel sites will have you believe.

silky sunsets in South Thailand, but sadly it’s not all this picturesque

Seeing heaps of rubbish everywhere and no real systems in place to recycle used materials, and breathing in endless fumes and emissions from cars and bikes in places where they don’t even have plans in place to reduce them. Really made me think – are world leaders actually doing enough to make sure our planet lasts as long as possible?

the super-green view from our beautiful digs in Ubud, Bali

It’s a tricky concept to get your head around, I know. And I struggled at first, as a deteriorating planet seems worlds away. And we’re all so used to living strictly in the ‘here and now’. But since getting back I want to do something, anything, to help preserve the planet’s pristine-ness. I just haven’t quite figured out what it is yet – but watch this space!

the view just after sunrise at the top of Mount Batur, Indonesia
stunning paradise island – Koh Rong Sanloem, Cambodia

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about how I’ve adjusted to normal life after backpacking! Have you been travelling? If so, where did you go? What places are on your travel bucket-list for this year and next year?


  1. 13 June 2017 / 8:59 pm

    I’m not sure if it is booking a trip to Thailand and doing research, or the Manchester bomb, but I am starting to realise that life is so much shorter than you think and there is more to it than the rat race. I’m so glad you got to do this and that you have forged yourself the start of a new career, you will be amazing at it. x

    • 14 June 2017 / 1:19 am

      Hey Keeley! You’re so right. And I think your upcoming trip and the bombings both have something to do with it. I hope you have an amazing time in Thailand and don’t stress too much about fitting it all in – you need time to relax there too. Thanks so much about the career comment too. Loving it so far!

    • Sophie
      15 June 2017 / 8:33 am

      Thanks, Jo! <3

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