The feeling of disorientation experienced by someone who is suddenly subjected to an unfamiliar culture, a way of life, or set of attitudes.
The shock suffered by some people when they return home after a number of years overseas. This can result in unexpected difficulty in readjusting to the culture and values of the home country, now that the previously familiar has become unfamiliar.
Long-term travellers and expats often feel an odd feeling when coming home. This feeling is described as ‘reverse culture shock’ or ‘re-entry shock.’ While not always actually a cultural thing that feels strange, the simple idea of being home can be odd. The re-adjustment to “normal life” or basic things like being faster-paced, higher costs, or lack of language barriers.
Your memory of home is a more stagnant one. You’re not as up-to-date with people, events, or things relevant to the area. But of course, things have changed. Despite them being familiar all the pieces just don’t quite connect.
It’s a funny thing about comin’ home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You’ll realize what’s changed is you.
– Benjamin Button
My favourite way to ‘get over’ this reverse culture shock, is not to get over it at all. But to keep the travel bug alive.
Treat your home like it’s a new place.
Keep exploring. Meet new people. Ignore the reverse culture shock feelings and treat it like normal culture shock.
Get out there.
How do you do this?
Treat your hometown like a new place. Visit places you haven’t been yet, explore the surrounding areas and cities, go to local events and cities.
As my area is a fairly touristy area and only a couple hours from both Toronto and Ottawa, this wasn’t too hard to accomplish. Having only been home for about two weeks, I’ve already caught up with my family, visited some friends, went to a wine festival, rib fest, a beach, a winery, a variety of restaurants, and have plans to check out a few more events over the next couple weeks. If you happen to be in Prince Edward County for the cheese festival – I’ll see ya there! And you can get 25% off your ticket with the code CF17Wanderdolls (who doesn’t love discounts?)
Not only is checking out your hometown as a tourist a lot of fun, it’ll help with your ‘reverse culture shock,’ and you’ll often support local businesses as well.
For example, the wine festival I visited was called Terroir. It was a celebration of local wineries (and in my home county of Prince Edward that is A LOT), and essentially a wine tour under one roof. I was able to try a variety of wines, some of which I’d tried previously, others that were completely new to me, despite having grown up in this area. While my favourite is still Sandbanks Winery, their new Sleeping Giant wine became my new go-to, and I discovered an awesome Rose from Del-Gatto Estates called Blushing Peacock.
You as a traveller has changed, and likely things in your home area have as well. Exploring them like they’re completely new places gives a new perspective on your home.