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How to Unwrap the Gift of Re-Entry After Being Abroad: 3 Examples

What Does %22Unwrapping the Gift of Re-Entry%22 Mean?-2

You’ve probably heard me say it before: re-entry (or reverse culture shock) is a gift…but it doesn’t unwrap itself. Wondering what the “unwrapping” part looks like? Here are three examples:

#1: Peace Corp to Digital Nomads

Michelle and Jedd unwrapped the gift of re-entry and decided to become digital nomads.

Michelle and Jedd unwrapped the gift of re-entry and decided to become digital nomads.

After working for half a decade, Jedd and Michelle traded buying a house for volunteering with the Peace Corps in Jamaica for two years. The experience fundamentally changed them, and when it was over, they intentionally chose to become location-independent business owners. Michelle and Jedd unwrapped the gift of re-entry by questioning their assumptions and getting to the core of what was important to them after having lived abroad.

#2: Roots and Wings

Katie (right) unwrapped re-entry by asking herself key questions.

Katie (right) unwrapped re-entry by asking herself key questions.

After traveling in Asia, Katie returned home with a deep longing for both a nomadic and a rooted life. For her, unwrapping re-entry meant changing the way she looked at this tension. Rather than trying to decide between a nomadic vs. a rooted life, Katie started asking herself questions like “what it would take for me to feel like a global citizen”? Katie now lives a global life that embraces the things that are most important to her, includes her North Carolina roots and embarking on a 17-country round-the-world trip this fall.

#3: Social Media Sabbatical

I unwrapped the gift of re-entry after my summer of nomading to figure out why I felt restless and unfocused.

I unwrapped the gift of re-entry after my summer of nomading to figure out why I felt restless and unfocused.

A few weeks after returning home from my most recent summer of nomading, I felt restless and unfocused. For me, unwrapping the gift of re-entry meant asking myself how I wanted to feel (focused and present) and what I needed to do to feel that way. I figured out that I only felt restless and unfocused when I scrolled through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter several times a day. So, I decided to take a social media sabbatical, which for me meant staying off social media except for 10 minutes a day. I very quickly felt more focused and less restless, I enjoyed social media a whole lot more, and it was just what I needed for a smooth re-entry.

How to Unwrap The Gift of Re-Entry

At it’s core, unwrapping the gift of re-entry means discovering who you are and what you want your life to be like, now that you’ve had a life-changing experience abroad. Getting clear on that will help you better learn from reverse culture shock, navigate relationship landlines, and create a global life that fits you as perfectly as your favorite travel shoes!

Want to get creative with this reflection process?
Want to talk with someone who gets what you’re going through?
Reserve your spot in my free, no pitch office hours to talk about how you can unwrap the gift of re-entry.Happy unwrapping! 🙂
About Author

Hello, I'm Dr. Cate Brubaker! Are you a returnee who has been surprised to find your return "home" harder than going abroad? I created the Re-entry Roadmap workbook just for you. If you work with returnees, I'm here to help you with innovative resources and training that will make it easier to provide meaningful support for your returnees.