The balance sheet, 6 months after the return

Today, it’s been six months that I came back to France. Just a year ago, I was in Canada, with by backpack, free, with crazy adventures in front of me. I had a well-plotted road, from Toronto to Ushuaia, I was planning to go back to university in September of the following year after my return to France, etc. But everything did not happen exactly the way I planned it…

The trip, in a few figures

So this trip is:

  • 215 days
  • 31511 kilometers
  • 9 countries crossed, of which 6 really visited
  • 11 311 € Spent (I’m really going to have to do an article on my budget one of these days)
  • 7 656 pictures and videos
  • 12 Planes
  • Many buses
  • 2 Rental Cars
  • 9 Cars taken hitch-hiking
  • 1 scooter
  • 10 Boats

And a lot of cabs.

But also dozens of people met, local and travelers, ephemeral meetings and close friends, and thousands of memories.

The return to France and post-travel depression

I put my feet back in France on April 1st last. Before returning home, I made a small stopover in the Netherlands. I had taken a flight San Jose-Amsterdam 2 weeks ago, then a bus Rotterdam-Paris, To get used to Europe again smoothly (in this case, I was just freaking cold during my stay, after 7 months of summer). Unfortunately, the return to the fold was nonetheless a shock. Go from the Costarican nature, or even the quiet Dutch streets, to the Parisian subway, I was not prepared for that. It took me a week before my heart stopped beating too hard iin my chest in the midst of the busyand stressed crowd of the subway. Sometimes, I was still walking very fast even when I was not expected anywhere, so I forced myself to slow down.

I to my hometown in the South of France to see my family again, I took my old job at Biocoop, I saw colleagues, friends (well, those that remained). And everything’s gone back to the way it was.

Well, almost. I was not the same anymore. I was calmer, more relax, less hyper, less whiny. In short, I had changed a lot, I did not feel comfortable in this permanent Parisian fizzing, I aspired to something else, but in France everything had remained in the same state as when I left, and I had the unpleasant impression to go back, to regress, as if this trip never existed, that everything I had learned was getting out of the way.

My work, which I loved very much before leaving sounded boring to me, I did not really want to go out drinking and partying, I felt stifled by this routine Metro-work-Sleep after 7 months of total freedom, where I was completely free of my time, and where I never got bored. I had a hard time telling myself that from now on, all my days were going to look alike again, while a few weeks ago, I was discovering new places and new people every day.

In short, it was not really a happy time.


New projects and goals

What has prevented me from becoming completely insane is having new projects in the medium term. I had this project in front of me, which helped me to keep up. It was like the light at the end of the tunnel.

I think that in general, after such a long journey, the important thing is to stay busy and introduce new things into your everyday life. It may be starting a new activity outside of classes or work, forcing yourself to meet new people, planning a new trip, etc. For me, it was to expatriate me!

Even before I came home, I was scared about the return, I knew that many travelers were depressed once they returned, and I knew that the Parisian life would not be good for me anymore. Nevertheless, I did not see myself moving to another French city. Settling in America did not seem to be possible for reasons of cost, but also because of income (being paid the Mexican salary, no thanks), so I was determined to stay in Europe, preferably in the eurozone. Having travelled three months with a Dutch guy who sold me extremely well his city, Rotterdam, my 2 weeks spent in the Netherlands at the end of the trip were not really a coincidence and were meant to see if I could live in the country.

And indeed, I fell in love with Rotterdam! After a few days, I knew I wanted to move here. Another significant advantage was that I had a lot of friends who that I met during my trip in the country! I gave myself until September to carry on this project (I could not bear to stay in France longer), so I prepared my expatriation for 5 months, and it is the prospect of this new start that helped me to hold on. Today, I have been in my new country for a month, and I do not regret my choice for a single second, even though it is not always easy.

The life of an expat in the Netherlands

So I invite you to follow my new adventures here as a migrant expat’ (it seems that this is what we call immigrants who come from rich countries) in the Netherlands. I will tell you about the cultural differences, the language barrier, the formalities to come to live in the Netherlands, and of course, I will show you my new country, including my City of Heart, Rotterdam, with all my good addresses and Essential places to visit.

Stay tuned!


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