Currently, my life in 70% consists of travel. I travel for business purposes, I travel to visit my family in Poland, I travel when I go on holiday. Gradually, I began to notice certain patterns, specific stages that I go through when I am in particular countries.
The WOW stage
It’s the moment when I come to a given country, when I am excited and fascinated. Each place tempts me with its novelty, I watch the people I pass by with curiosity, and my heart says: “Stay here!”. I don’t think about the life I left behind: work, family or friends. I fall into what was previously unknown, and catch every experience – I am simply present here and now. No exceptions.
The stage of concerns
When the first fascination about a country, the less fun part begins. Places that were colorful to me, are becoming grayish. People that were interesting at the first glimpse – are now becoming grim to me. I’m starting to miss my family home and talking to loved ones. Foreign culture begins to disturb me, and at night I dream about my mother’s dumplings with Russian filling. Sometimes I even doubt the sense of my trip: “maybe I chose the wrong place”, “maybe I should have stayed at home”?
I spend a lot of time thinking and putting priorities in my head. I renew contacts that I neglected, and I start to appreciate the bond with my friends and family. I’m even looking for air tickets to visit my loved ones the following month!
The adaptation stage
Over time, the fears vanish, and they are replaced by adaptation. I get used to the buildings I pass by every day, to the street sounds or a saleswoman in a grocery store next to my apartment. I start to feel… homely. What helps me in this process is the friendships I established before – people I may not call friends yet, but this is how I start thinking about them in the nearest future. In a city that at first was fascinating, the overwhelming, now I feel just fine.
I have to admit that traveling means not only moments of happiness and excitement. At some point, you naturally begin to miss home, family and a sense of stability. Surely, it passes, but it requires some time. Both initial euphoria and latter fears are to me to me as necessary and important as the final stability. They allow me to better redefine myself and my needs.
How long is each stage?
There is no one strict rule. The process may look different depending on a place, person and his or her character. For example, my WOW stage in Copenhagen is not over yet! Sometimes it seems to me that I am already acclimated, because I spend more time at home than outside – there I can relax and calm down. However, I often notice that the phases can be mixed. It happened for example, when I decided to found Kate’s Diary Agency. I felt fear and excitement at the same time, but I decided to risk – and I do not regret it. A bit of optimism is needed in every situation, and when moving to the unknown, even a full handful!
Katarzyna Hajduk :*