The Unexpected Reality You Face Moving Back To Your Hometown


“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”  -Anita Desai

It’s been exactly a month since I moved home and it has been, predictably, unexpected.

I thought that coming back “home” would be a cinch; I would just jump back into life’s rhythm as if I had never left. Well, clearly I was wrong, and let me assure you: culture shock is a real thing. Even when it’s within your own culture.

At first everything appears to be normal, and then little by little you realize that life doesn’t operate how you thought it did anymore. You find yourself suddenly swimming upstream and you don’t know what happened.

No, that’s not true. In fact, you notice EXACTLY what has happened since you left.

  1. Your landmarks are gone.

“WHERE did it go!?” This is probably one of the first three questions you asked yourself as you stepped out your front door on arrival back in town. Trust me, I wondered the same exact thing myself. Unfortunately, the answer is always the same, “away.”

Well, call me nosey but that answer is not good enough for me. It made me so angry when I rolled down familiar streets looking for a certain building only to realize it wasn’t there and have that realization followed up with an infuriatingly succinct explanation of, “Oh, that place has been gone awhile.”

Wait, what? They can’t just take away those valuable landmarks and treasured haunts of my childhood. Oh, but they can.

  1. But everything looks the same

Right when you think that you may have accidently just moved yourself to the wrong city you realize that, wait yes, you do actually know that park next to the taco truck.

And you breathe a sigh of relief.

  1. There is so much less adrenaline on familiar streets.

It is approximately at this point when you realize that you are indeed home and that your landscape changed because life refused to stop when you left.

Normally this realization coincides with a feeling of anger mixed with bamboozlement. But then you know that even though things have changed, you will still be wandering the same streets that you meandered through years before.

Interestingly though, however much you wish that you would see something new on these streets, the idea of seeing what you knew before being changed horrifies you. I say open yourself to this feeling, explore it. For me, it is a dichotomy that I love.

If it’s still too stressful, just breathe, take a break, and maybe get a snack.

  1. Sometimes there is nothing like home cooking.

Did you miss breakfast tacos when you moved away from Austin? I sure as hell did! Even when I leaned how to make my own tortillas and salsa, my breakfast tacos still were never quite right. Sometimes the cheese was funny or the beans were lacking the proper spices. Either way, when I returned to Austin I really, really wanted a breakfast taco.

Home cooking doesn’t necessarily have to be at home. It just has to be cooking that is unique to your home region and that is nearly impossible to find in any other corner of the globe.

Let’s be honest, there are many advantages to leaving where you grew up, but not having easy access to some of the dishes that defined your childhood can be downright maddening. So it is not any surprise that the moment you move back you immediately begin searching for the right food to fill the void that was left by years without that delicious meal that only existed in your memories.

  1. You probably changed your phone number.

Chances are that if you left your hometown you did it for a reason. Whether that was to see new faces or drive on new streets, you probably left with very little intention of returning. That being said, if the course of life has brought you back to the town in which you grew up, you are likely now a different human. And different humans need different phone numbers.

There are always those people that you knew growing up who you associated with because they were just there. Now, however, you have moved back to your old stomping ground, but this time as a big, bad, adult-version of yourself.

So keep being that awesome version of yourself. You are back home, but that doesn’t mean that you are the same person as when you left. Act like it. Hang out in new places, get a new phone number, see what new things your town has to offer. You’re back where you started. So you may as well take it as a chance to create a new beginning.

What are you waiting for?