Now that I’ve been back in my hometown for a few weeks I feel it’s a good time to talk about how coming back to the UK for the first time in 21 months has made me feel.

Like everything, there are many pros and cons from a change in situation and returning to Leamington Spa is no exception. There have been the highs of seeing family and friends for the first time in forever, there are the lows of seeing just where I’ve come from to where I am, not only in location, but also in terms of my mind.

Dale and Franca in Royal Leamington Spa - The Pros And Cons Of Returning Home

The Pros And Cons Of…

Seeing Friends

– Pros

As time goes by I miss my friends more and more, and whilst I have the ability of keeping in touch with them via email and all of the most typical social networks available, it’s really not the same, especially when you consider so many of them are beginning new chapters of their lives with job promotions and changes, moving house, marriages and now babies are popping up every five minutes.

So, obviously, the most major pro is seeing these new changes in the flesh.

It’s been great to see my friends who’ve so recently had their first child and I’m so glad to have finally met these cute little bundles for the first time.

playing frisbee golf with my friend Kevyn - The Pros And Cons Of Returning Home

playing frisbee golf with my friend Kevyn

– Cons

Unfortunately – and this is mostly my fault – I’m beginning to feel quite disconnected from these friends, that they’re a part of my past that I’m moving on from, that we’re all now heading in different directions, which as I’m sure you can imagine is quite the strain.

Over the past two years my friends have begun new journeys in their lives as much as I’ve been doing one big one of my own, and the trouble I find now is that I feel I’ve lost part of that link that we all had together.

They still make me laugh and we still have all of the memories, but I worry that perhaps taking the choice to travel may have cut me off in some ways, especially since I feel that I’ve grown much more interested in topics like politics, animal and human rights and it’s not always possible to connect on those matters. Also, knowing that this is such a brief time together makes me think that I can’t connect in the way I would like as I know I’m heading out the door again soon.

Seeing Family

– Pros

Of course, seeing family after so long has been pretty special, especially my mother.

Before I went travelling with Franca I was never much of a family person, sometimes going years without seeing aunts, cousins, grandparents and extended family due to a combination of reasons including working most weekends. However, during the past 18 months I’ve grown closer to Franca’s incredible family who I absolutely love, I’ve realised that perhaps growing so distant over the past 10 years from my own relatives has not been for the best. So, being back here it’s been great to see those members of my family that I’ve not seen for many a year.

– Cons

Perhaps in a similar way to the connect I have with my friends, the distance of time between seeing everyone has made it hard to connect, and those few places in time that I can call back to as the bonds and connections between us seem barren.

It’s just been too long since seeing some of them that it almost feels like meeting someone for the first time, and seeing as I don’t know where we’re going to finally settle, the chance might have gone past already for me to retie those bonds, not forgetting that I’m quite different to the man they last saw two years ago, let alone that teenager from ten years before hand..

Dale with his grandparents - The Pros And Cons Of Returning Home

selfie with the grandparents, yo!

Visiting Leamington

– Pros

I’ve spent almost my entire life in this small spa town right in the middle of Shakespeare’s home country, and no matter where I turn I see buildings full of moments and memories that I’ve not remembered since I left back in 2012 so I’m thankful for that.

– Cons

It feels that no matter which shops close and buildings find new life with new ideas, nothing ever changes.

It’s not the biggest of places, and whilst there are some aspects of it that I really do love (the parks, the multicultural community), it just feels too small and too restrictive for either Franca or myself to really develop those interests that we’ve discovered in ourselves since travelling around the world.

Personally, I feel that I need somewhere that has the same community feel that I fell in Berlin. Somewhere where full of activity, like London. A place that’s warm, like, well, anywhere else. I’d love for us to end up making roots somewhere that we can develop as people and try something new rather than just returning to something we already know. Having challenged ourselves these past two years I feel that we should be constantly challenging ourselves and living somewhere other than Leamington (and perhaps even the UK) would really keep pushing us as much as travel has.

Have I Hated Being Back?

It might sound that way from the mostly cons of having returned home back in Leamington, but I have really enjoyed myself.

It’s been great to catch up with people – especially those with babies (getting quite paternal right now) – and seeing these new developments such as new houses, new jobs and new partners has been quite the experience too, making us wonder from time-to-time about where we see ourselves in the future, but it’s true what they say; travel changes you

I always denied it was possible, but travel really does change you. Whether you see it as positive change or negative is all subjective and utterly personal, but I love the way I look at life now, how I want to do different things than I would have wanted to do 2 years ago, to talk about things I didn’t consider important before we left.

I guess what’s left for me to do now is to see how I want to let these pros and cons affect me and my connections with Leamington and the people here in the future.

Did travel change YOU?