Many people have come to me lately about the topics of culture shock & reverse culture shock, and I wanted to address those. When people think about these concepts, they tend to focus more on the former, rather than the latter. Culture shock is when the destination you are traveling to is vastly different from your home country in many different aspects, which brings a “shock” (so-to-speak) to your system.
I am here to say this is completely true, except not in the negative sense people tend to view it. The “shock,” in reality, is a wake-up call. Within seconds of stepping foot overseas, you can feel your previous paradigms crumbling to pieces; at least, this is how it felt for me the first time I landed in Taiwan.
Culture shock is realizing, as a wise person once told me, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” And boy, was I ever clueless about how the world really is. According to the news media (more like propaganda at this point), the rest of the world is unsafe, less advanced, and more or less a 3rd world country in comparison. While this may be true in certain cases, most of the places I have been blessed & fortunate to see are far from this stereotype.
I have always been an introvert, but when overseas, the extrovert part of me jumps out. I truly feel I’m where I belong when traveling, whether it be Taiwan, Italy, Japan, Mexico, etc. Outside of your normal comfort zone, something in the air brings out the true you. But don’t take my word for it; find out for yourself!
Reverse culture shock is a very real thing. Since moving back from Taiwan the last time in 2015, aside from my visits overseas, I have felt a bit lost here at “home.” I use quotations around home because I really believe home is where your heart lies. A part of my heart will always lie in the US due to family & friends, but a large portion of it remains in Taiwan, Italy, and every other amazing place I have been blessed to see and experience.
Since returning, at times, it has felt as if I’ve been coasting through life, Like in the movie, the Matrix, my travel experiences were the equivalent of taking the red pill; however, instead of waking up to a complete disaster (like in the movie), it made me feel truly alive. Consequentially, corporate life in America & the prospect of being a future CFO does not draw my excitement as it once did.
My advice for adjusting to life back “home” is taking a long, hard look in the mirror and reevaluating your priorities, desires, & interests going forward. If you have a certain passion and dream, do not waste countless years pretending it isn’t real; on the contrary, do whatever it takes to make your dream become a reality. Furthermore, because we are creatures of habit, we tend to gravitate towards behaviors we are used to performing in our daily lives; it is up to you to be mindful of this and nip it in the bud before it leads you further down a path of coasting through life.
As always, please feel free to leave comments/questions as I will be reading each and every one of them and giving responses where appropriate. If you want to know something, ask away! Please hit those follow, share, & like buttons; just don’t eat the apple. Until next time, stay traveling!