Chicago, That Time You Gave Me A Panic Attack

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Travel bloggers always tell you about the amazing cities they have traveled to, tell you where to go, their experiences abroad and yet you never really hear about what happens when they return “home”. I had to learn a hard lesson when I returned home.

After weeks of starting to feel like I was starting to settle into living in Chicago and having a routine this past September 2017. (Temporarily as this was a pause in my Girl Takes Mundo journey) I suffered from a panic attack. I didn’t feel right at my parents where I was staying at the time and since my new “roommates” had not moved in I was able to go to my apartment thinking this would help shake off this feeling. (FYI: I rent my second bedroom out to help not tap into my travel budget too much and still be able to keep my place in Chicago for when I do make my return but haven’t lived with roommates in years that when I have returned to Chicago from my Girl Takes Mundo adventure the idea feels strange even if I stay in hostels while traveling so I opt to stay at my parents who are kind enough to let me stay in the guest bedroom aka my old bedroom.) Sadly, being in my apartment only made my feelings worse. I was in a place that I knew was mine, but didn’t feel mine and without a true reason to be there, not just in the apartment but in Chicago. I felt like there was no point to be here as the only thing that would keep me here was my four legged child who currently is living that northern Cali life near San Francisco. I felt like I wasn’t essential here and not sure where I fit into Chicago, my family, my friends. As all these thoughts are crossing my mind, I began to feel like I was suffocating in my apartment. I felt depressed, had no energy to go to my yoga class that afternoon which if you keep up with my blog you know yoga brings new life to me, lost my appetite and when I had an appetite the vegetarian in me even craved meat. I knew this was bad.

Keep in mind my journey is amazing, everything I’m experiencing is amazing but coming home and trying to make sense of how you fit into this place you call “home” but haven’t been in for 4+ months is difficult. I’m the type of person that wants to be needed, I love helping others and want to be a part of something but it’s hard to be a part of something when you haven’t been a part of anything for so long. What’s my purpose in this place I call “home”?

I will admit I’m blessed I felt like this and I’m glad I overcame it. Most importantly I’m glad for the higher powers above who sent the FaceTime video chat request that I needed when I did because somebody across the world at that particular moment did need me and so I put on my superhero cape, covered my panic attack with a mask and went on to save the world one FaceTime video chat at a time because I realized I didn’t have to just be needed in Chicago alone, why limit myself? I could be needed all over the world.

I think it’s important to share this story because as a traveler you never quite know how returning home will be. I certainly didn’t think this could happen but I think it’s important to see all the elements and complexities that a traveler goes through be it on the road or not. If you’re a traveler I would love to hear your experiences of returning home in the comments section.

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