The view from here
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Find out what the family has to say - in this case my family, after I decided to move to the other side of the world without any fixed plans to return. - Nat, Week 4
Welcome to our series of Travelher's Most Frequently Asked Questions! This is the fourth topic in our weekly feature, which will be addressed first with daily posts on our social media channels and then compiled here at the end of each week.
If you are living overseas, or are planning to move overseas, you will most likely have dealt with a fair few questions from your family about your decision to leave.
While my family has been nothing but supportive of my decision to move to the other side of the world from the get go, they were also eager to find out pretty much immediately "when I would return home". While this type of question was discussed more frequently in the first couple of years, it got brought up less and less until it completely subsided in the end. As the years went on, my family almost seemed anxious to breach this subject, as if they couldn't bear the possibility of me replying that I might never come back. And I wasn't sure how I should feel about the topic either. On one hand, it's nice to be missed and know that people care and want you to return. On the other hand, it creates this immense pressure and guilt for being so far away from all your loved ones.
Constantly thinking about the option of returning home also made it incredibly hard to really focus on building my new life in New Zealand. Continuously living with one foot in each country simply makes it impossible to be anywhere fully. After a couple of short term visas, I decided to commit to New Zealand and my new life over here completely and applied for residency. It meant to plant both feet firmly on New Zealand ground and it felt like my family kissed the thought of me ever returning goodbye and I pretty much did the same, at least for the time being.
While I made sure to return to Germany regularly, my "home" had now shifted to NZ. I don't know if anyone can understand the roller coaster of emotions you go through every time you return home for a visit unless they've experienced it themselves.
Enduring a 30+ hour journey, almost dying of excitement to see everyone on the other side! Being picked up from the airport and greeted with so much love end enthusiasm that you feel like your heart might implode! And then, on the other hand, after having had the most magical time with everyone so close to you, spending time in your "old life" that you managed to slot right back into, having to say goodbye for an unknown period of time - made me want to die - e-v-e-r-y s-i-n-g-l-e t-i-m-e.
We were all laughing sometimes (while sobbing) how dramatic our goodbyes must seem from the outside but the emotions and devastation were real. And no matter how often we did it, it NEVER got easier. We joked that we should be "used to it" by now or should have "trained ourselves" to cope better. But sitting down in my plane seat on the way back to NZ on my own, I kept asking myself the same question every time - why do I do this to myself and to everyone else and will this be my life, forever? Once you arrive back on the other side, after crying yourself to sleep for the first night you snap back into your routine and are fine. Head back in the other life, on the other side. Until the roller coaster of emotions begins again ... 12 months max later 😅
At home nothing ever changes but you will