Communication and friendships back home
They will kind of forget about you.
But with smartphones, social networks and a blog – things clearly are going to be different, right? They are for sure. But not necessarily in a good way.
That’s why, this part is the hardest to write and the hardest to publish. Because I am sad about what happened. But it doesn’t feel complete if I leave this part out – and it simply is part of it. Often it’s left out. Many times you can read about the glamorous parts of traveling. Of the excitement and adventures. Of meeting new people and making new bonds.
But this is also part of long-term-traveling: Your friendships and partnerships back home change. Especially for partnerships it can be hard. It becomes very difficult to maintain relationships, especially the one with your partner.
Texting is different from talking. You miss out on the details. You hurt people. You don’t know you hurt them.
Your friends talk about you. About you hurting people. About you not being a good person, partner, friend. They judge you. Some take sides. Some don’t. Some stop texting. But you are busy, you are in a different world. You have patchy internet, need a VPN or fall asleep getting dressed for dinner. You loose touch with a lot of friends. You only text every few weeks to months with people you are in touch with on a more regular and frequent basis when you are back home. So, you don’t have a clue what is going on. Actually, you don’t even know that something is going on. No-one is turning to you. No-one is asking your side of things. No-one is keeping you up to date on what’s happening. Since they claim it’s none of their business.
You finally learn you hurt someone who is very important to you. Because they finally speak up. You try to sort it out. Text messages don’t suffice.
Talking on the phone needs to be planned and scheduled due to time difference. Finally, you make it.
You get home, nervous, sweaty palms. You get on the phone. You use Skype and WhatsApp. You use the WiFi and switch to mobile data. You turn your vpn on and off. Try your headset. Try without the headset. You swear. The connection sucks. There is more interference and loss of connection than communication. So you finally give up on that attempt.
People back home talk some more. Get angry at you. Carry a grudge. You don’t have a clue. You are far away. You got used to falling out of touch. From an 8000km distance there is no telling the difference between obliviousness and anger.
You try texting with your significant other. Since talking isn’t possible. You get a feeling of misunderstandings that happen. Drifting apart. Too much stuff happening. And even more things not happening. You have reasons. You can’t explain them. Your partner isn’t asking. You don’t know what they are thinking. You assume they understand you, they get you. But they don’t.
You return home. Friends suddenly text you to say that they can’t deal with you at the moment. You stare at your phone. You ask why. You ask yourself. You ask them. You ask mutual friends. You don’t get an explanation until much later. You can guess. For this moment, you only know, you are out. A friendship seems lost. You are sad. You feel lonely.
Finally, you and your partner talk. It feels weird. Something changed during this time. Due to what you did. What they did. What other people did. Hairline cracks in your relationship, that might have been there before, turned into crevasses. You break up.