Adjusting to living a “normal” life after an OE

Have you experienced coming off the travel high? I sure did when I recently returned to New Zealand after living, working and travelling abroad in Asia. It almost felt like a dream and no time had passed when I slotted back into a routine in Auckland.  Although I was ready to come home and very excited to see family, friends and getting stuck into a career again, I was also experiencing a bit of post-holiday blues.

So how do you adjust back to life at home after having an incredible time travelling the world? Below is a few tips on how I made the transition easier.

Onewaytik_adjusting to a normal life

1. Explore your own country

When I say – adjust back to a normal life, it doesn’t mean adjust to boring or dull.  Travelling doesn’t have to stop now. See it as an opportunity to re-visit or explore new places in your own country (I’m sure there’s a few!). I’ve lived in New Zealand my whole life, but there are countless places I yet to check out.


2. Go for that dream job

I’m certain you will have gained a new perspective on life while you were away, and see things in a completely different light.  Perhaps you discovered a new-found passion, have always wanted to try out a different career path, or take up a new hobby? Maybe you won’t get your dream job straight away, but you can always take stepping stones to get there. Treat this fresh start like a blank canvas or launching platform, and paint your life in the direction you want it to go.


3. Making plans with old friends and family

You come home to no car, house or job and you’ve still got your life stored in boxes at your folk’s place.  No wonder it’s easy to fall into that life crisis mode where you start asking yourself what you’re doing with your life.  A great way to avoid that mind-set is to make plans to see friends and family and connect with all those people you missed while you were away. There’s nothing better than surrounding yourself with old friends, having a good laugh and people understanding your sarcasm again!

Onewaytik_plans with friends

4. Be spontaneous

When everyone’s so busy, it’s hard not to book dates and plan ahead. But the adventures that happen on the spot are always so much fun! I remember it happening daily when overseas. From going for my first scuba dive, impromptu partying to attending a meditation class. Continue living that travel buzz by randomly making last minute decisions.


5. Have some savings and spend wisely

Of course after spending a chunk of your money towards those amazing adventures, the bank account won’t look too shiny.  Make sure you think ahead and have some savings to set yourself up when you get home. All those things like a bond, car and groceries start adding up quickly! Before leaving our last destination in Thailand, I started thinking about my living options for when I return home. Luckily I had supportive family who helped me out until I found my feet.


6. Make time for yourself

One thing I’ve noticed is that it’s so easy to fall back into the rat race and have your days fill up with work, functions and social events. It can get a bit overwhelming at times. But don’t forget to step back every now and then and make time for yourself, especially after being away and having experienced so much freedom.


Have you just returned from overseas or had a similar experience? Feel free to share your thoughts and any tips on how you adjusted to coming home after your gap year – we’d love to hear from you 🙂




  • Nicely written! I think a lot of travellers probably get a bit of post-travel blues, but I think these are great options to stay on top of it – Especially exploring your own country! Being away has made me realise how great we really have it in NZ!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes most definitely! NZ’s a great place to be, and sometimes it takes exploring outside to gain that appreciation. Glad you enjoyed the tips, and still having a blast over in Spain!