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Photo by frumbert

Anne Merritt ponders the comforts and contradictions of constantly moving back in with Mom and Dad as an adult, after extended periods of traveling.

I was on my way to a wedding shower in Toronto, rehearsing The Conversation in my mind. The most basic of icebreaking questions – Where do you live? – was no longer an easy one for me.

“I’m visiting my family in Ottawa now.”

“I’m staying with my parents for a few months.”

“I just got home from working abroad. Sooo…”

Yep, I’m 27 years old and I’m back with my parents, eating their fancy cheese and crackers, enjoying satellite TV I couldn’t normally afford. I’m George Costanza. I’m Principal Skinner. I’m sleeping in my childhood bedroom.

Why I’m back at home

Fellow travelers may understand. This wasn’t the result of a personal setback. There was no divorce, no layoff, no medical crisis that forced me back with Mom and Dad. The cause, the culprit, is long term travel. Coming and going from under the parental roof has been a pattern of mine for years now.

Photo by mulmatsherm

I’ve been teaching English overseas, traveling merrily from country to country, contract to contract. In between jobs, I return to Canada to catch up with family and friends. Then, my childhood home becomes the home base for a month or two…. or (gulp) sometimes a bit more.

My parents always seem happy enough with this arrangement. My arrival on their doorstep marks the end of a whole year spent apart, skyping through a calendar of holidays, celebrations conducted in echoing phone calls.

The chance to reconnect

Being home right now is a chance to reconnect and spend time together, to enjoy the simple familial rituals of dinners or afternoon walks. To call it a visit isn’t quite right though. I sleep in. I job-hunt on ESL websites, the computer desk covered in my cold, forgotten mugs of tea. Oh yes, I’ve made myself at home.

The thing is, they don’t seem put off by their grown daughter spending her 9-5 hours in sweatpants. They don’t pester me into staking out more independence, getting married, or buying property. They’re low-pressure, the anti-Costanzas.

In spells of second-guessing, I wonder if I should take that personally. I worry, maybe they just don’t expect that much from me. Maybe they don’t think I’ll ever marry, buy property, pass those hallmarks of adulthood.

“You know, we want you to stay as long as you have to,” they tell me. “Don’t think you’re putting us out.”

Photo by katsniffen

A comfortable routine

And so, I go into servitude overdrive. I set up DVD players, I fix computer problems, I forcefully volunteer myself for errands. I cook and cook, dinners, cakes, multigrain muffins they can take for lunch the next day.

I bustle around trying to demonstrate that despite being temporarily homeless, I’m still a functioning adult with life skills. Most of all, I try to prove that I’m not getting too comfortable.

That’s another thing. It is comfortable. I have friends who can’t stand staying with their families for more than a weekend at a time. I’ve heard stories of adults, forced back home for various reasons, who regress into frustrated, door-slamming teenagers under their parents’ roof.

For me, that’s not a problem. My parents and I swap books, discuss work problems, and (yes, I admit) watch Murder, She Wrote together, all without the bickering power struggles of my teen years. It’s not that I can’t live with them. I just feel that at my age, I shouldn’t.

Between apartments… between jobs

I’ll visit friends for dinner at their apartments, knowing the best hostessing I could offer is a night of hanging out on my parents’ sofa. I bump into old neighbors or classmates and feel my face go red when I tell them I’m staying in the ol’ childhood home.

They ask if I still have a place overseas, and I say, “No, no, I’m between apartments now.” Between apartments sounds like between jobs: a polite term for a shortcoming.

I know I’ll be off my parents’ couch and into the world soon enough, working a new teaching job and unpacking my bags in a new apartment. That’s the beauty of traveling again, of meeting new people and swapping life stories. “I just came from Canada,” I’ll tell them. “I was staying with my family for a bit.”

Other travelers, I think, will understand.

COMMUNITY CONNECTION

What do you think about adults living at home with their parents? Are you – or have you been – in a similar situation to Anne? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

About The Author

Anne Merritt

Anne Merritt has lived in Canada, Europe, and Asia. She teaches ESL, writes, haggles, hikes, and wears sunscreen fanatically. Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, GoOverseas.com, and The Compass. Check out her blog.

  • http://www.thefutureisred.typepad.com/ Leigh Shulman

    I totally relate to this. We go back to the US about once a year and spend anywhere from a month to three months living with my parents and other family and friends.

    Also, there’s something really amazing about Lila actually living with her grandparents. It gives us a break since they’re amazing about babysitting pretty much whenever we ask. I also feel like she spends real life time with them she woudln’t if we still lived in NY and visited only a week or two here and there.

    I’m sure people think similar things to what you mention, but I don’t notice those as much anymore. What I hear is more along the lines of “So what do you do without a doctor for LIla.” And lots of assumptions about homeschooling which leads to other assumptions of us being just plain crazy people and Lila spending all her time at home without friends.

    Loved this article, Anne. Thanks!

  • http://matadortravel.com/travel-community/juliane Juliane Huang

    Anne, this was a great read. It’s really interesting, I think, to hear how people interact with their parents (I mean, it’s a weird, unique relationship. They create you, grow you, and then have to relate to you as an adult). Thanks for sharing!

  • Radhika

    It’s interesting for me since I come from a culture that doesn’t necessarily mind parents & grown children living together; if anything, it encourages that situation! I’ve never seen it as a “problem” as long as you’re a productive member of society and a loving, active member of your family. I can’t imagine not having a relationship with my parents when I’m older or not taking care of them somehow. (I guess that’s why it’s ok if you live with your parents in India – people assume that the child is doing all the work!)

  • http://www.expatheather.com Heather

    I’m sure a lot of travelers can relate to this! We’ve been living with my husband’s parents for a year and are now just getting ready to move to an apartment. His family is Portuguese, so for them it’s totally normal for us to live at the house and they think it’s a bit crazy that we’re moving OUT (we both go to school a 40-minute drive from the house, so the commute is a bit much) and are insisting that we visit often. We know that we can also move back here when we’re in-between (which will probably happen relatively often) and although it can be a bit odd at 27 in the US to tell people we live with the in-laws, many of my international friends don’t think it’s strange at all.

  • http://annemerritt.blogspot.com Anne

    Thanks for the comments everyone!

    Radhika and Heather, you bring up a great point that I didn’t get to touch on; how adults living at home isn’t really a taboo in many cultures. I would love to know more about the experiences of an adult living at home in India or Portugal, or another country where this is a normal setup.

  • http://onceatraveler.com Turner

    Anne, these could just have easily been my words.

    I do grow comfortable, but I’m also really standoffish with my parents when I’m “visiting”. They just don’t seem to understand I don’t want to stay, would be anywhere else if I had a choice… which is why I usually pay too much money to get a half-decent sublease in that gap period. It’s better for everyone.

  • http://matadortrips.com/ Hal Amen

    Great piece, Anne. As everyone else has said, I can totally relate. Amazing how universal this experience is for travelers.

  • http://nancyetallain.blogspot.com/ Nancy

    I can totally relate. I’m staying with my parents right now, in New Brunswick. It was quite a culture shock coming back from Europe (I used to live in Ottawa before my trip ;). It’s also weird because my boyfriend now lives with his parents, so we’re not even living together.

  • Aarti

    Nice article, I can relate too! I am 27, I have been living with my parents pretty much all my life (except for a couple of years when I went to the midwest for a graduate degree) and I happen to be of Indian descent. I can’t really claim that this is a temporary respite from traveling overseas – I came back to my parents’ after graduating in the middle of the recession, but I’ve stayed on even after finding a job. I enjoy the relationship I have with my parents, and it is fun to discuss books, politics, TV shows over dinner – they like having me home, and I try to do my share my picking up all my expenses, helping out with groceries, chores, and playing host when someone visits.

    It has had an effect though on my social life – I try to get home immediately after work, and my parents rightfully expect a courtesy call if I’ll be late for dinner, which reduces impromptu extended conversations over coffee/drinks after work. I’d love to have my friends from other parts of the country over to visit too, but as you put it, my parents’ couch is the best I can offer. So, yeah, living at home isn’t so bad, but I am planning on moving out to an apartment close by in a couple of months. I am wondering though, about the mechanics of making that transition when I’m not really packing up and moving to another city / country. :)

  • cristina

    Wow, sounds like your parents are awesome people. At the moment I’m living at home with mom, step dad, and obnoxious teenage brother and hating every moment of it. My mom rented out my childhood room to make ends meet years ago, so for the past six months I’ve called the living room couch and sometimes an airbed my “living quarters”. My family fights constantly and my mom lays on the guilt about not contributing ALL the time. It would be great if I were in between travels, somehow knowing I would be leaving soon, but instead I’m part of the 6 million American long term unemployed at the present, so my stay is indefinite (it’s either this or live in my car, which sometimes sounds more appealing).

    That whole regressing into your teenage self can be a real phenomena — it’s difficult to feel like a real adult when you’re living at home (and have zero privacy). I feel like I’ve lost some self respect in the process. I’d like to do some long term traveling in my lifetime but despite all the advice I’ve read about moving in with the parents to save money, I think renting a cheap room, or even getting a roommate would be a better option for some of us. Basically I would only move home as an extreme last resort (which is what I’m in now).

    So I guess what I’m trying to say is, having parents who accept your travel lifestyle and don’t put pressure on you sounds like heaven to me. Family like that is really a blessing.

    • http://www.mysantiagojourney.blogspot.com/ Zak

      Cristina, it sounds like you’re not happy at home, and love the idea of traveling / moving abroad…. have you looked into it? Rather than look for a “serious” or “grown up” job there, maybe you could find 1 or 2 part time gigs, save up for the dollar amount you calculate you’ll need…. and DO IT!!! I’ve only been down here in Santiago de Chile for 7 – 8 months but already can’t imagine not having a living abroad experience in my life. So rather than be unhappy at home, maybe try making a plan to get out and see the world? Hope this helps, good luck!!!!

    • Molly

      Cristina,
      Can you please get in touch with me. I’m doing research on college kids moving back home and some of the problems they’re having. Where do you live?
      thanks, Molly

  • http://www.deliciouschaos.com/ Nick Rowlands

    Really love this piece, Anne, thanks for sharing it.

    I can also relate, though in a slightly different way. My issue is that I’ve chosen to live abroad – and can’t see myself returning to England to live any time soon – but I don’t go home to visit my Mum anywhere near as often as I feel I should.

    While she totally supports what I do, I know that really she’d like me to move back to England so she can see me more often. This means that, even though I know I shouldn’t, I always carry a nagging sense of guilt with me, that sometimes bubbles to the surface.

    I was back earlier this year for my sister’s wedding, and I’m hoping to head home for a little bit later this year. That’s about as much as I can offer. As for what it’s like, it’s a strange mixture of really nice, slightly awkward, and tinged with the sadness that comes from knowing it will soon be over.

    This is what happens I guess if you choose to live a “less conventional” life ; )

  • http://blogs.bootsnall.com/aimless melissa

    Hey Anne-

    I’ve been doing exactly the same thing for years now too. Living with my mom and younger brother is great; not only do I get to catch up and spend quality unemployed time around a house (with such beautiful commodities as teapots and hot showers) but I also get a chance to integrate everything I’ve learned in the last years abroad in a calm unrushed way.

    Some people may think there’s something wrong with that. Thus is society. We’re 27; we “should” be… blah blah blah. All these expectations are just common ignorant thought. Most people who made them up aren’t discovering the world beyond their small town, or delving into the deep vast caverns that lie within themselves.

    I’ve learned to let go of that brainwashing. I’m 27, I don’t own a home or a car, I’m unmarried, I’m not using my degree, and I really don’t have much to ‘show’ for the last few years of my life (besides uh, spectacular memories and life lessons). I’m living with Mom between travels, and I’m okay with that. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one going through these issues, thanks for your thoughts.

    We should start a support group. :)

    • http://hannahinmotion.wordpress.com Hannah

      Loved your article in general and Melissa’s comment as well:

      “…I’m 27, I don’t own a home or a car, I’m unmarried, I’m not using my degree, and I really don’t have much to ’show’ for the last few years of my life…”

      Looking at others’ responses it seems we’re ALL 27 and without those things we’re supposed to have by this age. I think I’ve tried to trick myself and my friends into thinking I’m a bit more grown up by constantly ‘couch-crashing’ rather than staying with my mother when I’m home in between travels. Part of that has to do with her being very rurally located with few work opportunities around, but more than that, if I’m not at home – even if I’m on someone’s couch – I’ve felt just SLIGHTLY more adult.

      I will say, however, that I’ve recently put ‘Move back home and help my mother’ on my Bucket List of things to do in life. I regret that in my home-between-travel times I haven’t been the doting daughter I feel I ought to have been. This next trip home I’m actually looking forward to cooking and cleaning for ‘ol ma.

    • http://annemerritt.blogspot.com Anne

      Heck yeah, support group – your comment here could be our manifesto.

  • http://newsfromnoise.com Dan

    How refreshing to hear that so many other people are in my same situation. I lived with the parents between a round the world trip and grad school and now between grad school and moving abroad. It seems pretty good so far, though I’m only on day 4 of being back “home.”

  • http://joshywashington.wordpress.com joshua johnson

    there is nothing shameful or wrong about landing in your folks pad after traveling, or any time for that matter. Our culture is so out of touch with communal family space and so darn obsessed with the individual’s measure of material wealth…I found it refreshing in Southeast Asia to see 3 generations sharing a house, a meal.

    not that I want to move in with my mom…but lord knows after traveling I have landed there a few times… enjoy the comfort of having that luxury!

  • http://www.takenbythewind.com Reannon

    How brave you were to write this! I totally feel you on that line “I’m staying at my parents house for a few months”. I’ve used that more times than I’d ever like to admit. Except I usually say ‘a few weeks’ instead of a few months, no matter if I’ve been there three weeks, three months or three years! ‘Live’ just seems like SUCH a horribly shameful word when put in the same sentence as ‘my parents’ house’.

    I second the support group idea, by the way!

  • Melissa

    It’s so true Anne. I’m about to venture home from China to the exact same situation fancy cheese and the most comfortable bed ever. I don’t feel pressure from anyone to go a more traditional route and buy a house, dog, and 2 petrol guzzling vehicles, but seeing my friends who have all of this sometimes sparks a little insecurity.

  • http://beatravelbee.com Joya

    I loved this article. I moved back in with my parents too when I came home from traveling mainly because I didn’t have any money left. Luckily, I get along with my parents and know I can always go back home if I decide to leave again and go travel.

  • Katie

    Great Article. I’ve been with my family since returning home from Panama in May. Having not lived for such a long period since the summer between high school and my freshman college year it has been quite an experience. My youngest sister who was all of 8 when i left is now a college junior , and like most my room is obsolete . This leaves me an air mattress in the dinning room. My family is very supportive and of course imply I can stay as long as I would like, but I have to agree with the notion of feeling I have to give back. My bank is depleted so its more so the notion of helping, cleaning, cooking , even taking my youngest sister to drive and learn the dreaded cone obstacles they have to back up through. Its been quite the trying summer as of yet. And although it is trying at times I also agree it is nice to know no matter where you end up or what circumstance you always have “home” to come back to . They always open the hearts and home and let you “mooch” while you regain you footing. Great article once again and at the age of 27 it is SO refreshing to hear others understand, I am all for the support group :)

  • http://www.ephemeraanddetritus.com maryanne

    Lovely article! You described my life exactly (eerie!). I’ve been going away and coming back yearly (and slightly less than yearly at some points— in Turkey I was gone 4 years without a break back home) and found myself happily crashed in my parents’ basement in Canada, drinking tea and applying for jobs.

    It starts feeling a bit weird when you hit your mid-30s and are living (albeit temporarily) with your parents. You have to keep reminding yourself that the context is different, that you are there because you are in a lull in your life, a mere pause. Nothing has been derailed…just altered. You haven’t lost your job or ruined your life or turned out to be George Costanza…you’re just done with one contract/country and on the brink of another.

    My parents think my lifestyle is a perfect match for my character and are glad I’ve carved out my own way of approaching adulthood.

  • Brittany

    Hey! Great post. I just “moved” back home a few weeks ago after being away in Asia for 18 months. I actually came back right as my mom sold the old family house- my parents are seperated now. So, I said goodbye to house a few days ago and am now in an apartment with my mom.

    Its actually kind of comforting- I’m at home, but its not the same as before. A new environment, which I am used to settling into. I’m not even unsure whether to unpack all of my bags. My backpack is still sitting in the closet, filled. My first-aid kit/toiletries bag sits on the bathroom counter. I am comfortable in the midst of chaos and unpacked boxes.

    Looks like it will be a while though. Unfortunately, there are no jobs it seems. I was hoping to say I’m “spending a summer” at home, then moving up to San Francisco. My mom mentioned something about room for a Christmas tree in my room. I hope it’s not that long.

    I also totally relate to feeling guilty about not spending time at home enough. I carried a massive amount of guilt around wtih me all throughout last year, as my mom was going through a horrible divorce, and various other shit went on at home, and there was the constant pleading of “when are you coming home?”. At last I can put to rest those feelings by spending quality time at home. i know in a few months I’ll be getting restless (if I don’t have a job and some goal to work towards). But its nice to spend a bit of time lounging around, spending 9-5 in pajamas, drinking tea, and figuring out what the hell happened with my last 18 months. hehehe…

  • Anthony

    Anne you’re Canadian I’m not sure if its the same there, but here in America your a looser if you at home for whatever reason. Material Wealth is valued much higher than anything else

    I’ve been back at home for the better part of 10 years. Why? I use to drive trucks cross-country. What use is there for me to have an apartment when I’m only in it 3-4 days out of a month? Doesn’t make much sense to me. Some people just expect these things without addressing common sense first. I stopped driving about 5 years ago and worked locally. But with that job, there is no way I could have had an apartment and new car at the same time. This is Los Angeles one of the highest rental areas in the nation. Besides I have no complaints. My parents are trying to kick me out. When me and my ex moved in together, I was at home a couple of times a week anyway. When we broke up, I lived 50 miles away from friends and family so I moved back home. I could have gotten another apartment, but why burn up all that money?

    Do whatever makes you happy, if your so-called friends try and say your some type of looser for living with your parents, tell them to go jump or dunk their head.

  • Milana

    This was a great article! I really enjoyed reading it, and its true that people in the US tend to assume that a setback has forced you to move back in with your family. Don’t let them get to you and take advantage of the current situation. Your family really is a blessing!

  • Lydia

    Hey,
    Thanks for the article! After almost two years of living in Vietnam and Taiwan, Im planning on moving back to New Brunswick and live with my parents until I go either to study Chinese or do a Masters. I was having a mini meltdown because I felt like I had nothing to show other than inner changes these past two years. I cant even imagine the shock Im going to get when I rock up my tiny tiny hometwon after breathing Taipei’s pollution for the past year. Great article, glad I am not alone :)

  • http://annearchynow.wordpress.com Anne

    Loved this!

    What I really enjoyed about living with my family after graduation was not having to buy new furniture, home supplies, etc. It’s great to share food and space and learn to see each other as adults, especially in our increasingly consumerist societies.

  • http://matadortravel.com/traveler/evasandoval EvaSandoval

    Such a great piece, and so true on many levels. I’ve been living abroad, in various countries, for the past three years. I came home to NYC one summer and lived with my brother. This was actually pretty awesome – we hadn’t gotten to spend much time together as adults ever since I moved out at 18 – but I definitely felt as though I were a burden. That was my own perception; he was loving and generous and thrilled to have me around, but as a very independent person, I felt nonetheless… dependent? As though I needed to be subservient? It is difficult to be an adult and not be able to offer your friends a proper cup of tea, or a place to crash if they need to. Also difficult to have to admit that you don’t have your own place at times, or even a place to keep bigger items you might covet. Is it glamorous or is it just irresponsible?

    But then again, our friends who are grounded with kids and jobs that allow them little vacation time are jealous. “I wish I could just run off and do what you do.” Run off: right.

    Life’s about choices. We make our beds and we lie in them. Some times, we lie on a relative’s couch.

  • http://londoniscool.com William K Wallace

    The thought of having to go live with my mum and dad again after a break of 22 years brings me out in a cold sweat. When you reach a certian age, staying with your folks shouldn’t be an option…It just isn’t right! SICK!

  • Jenna Makowski

    Great article. I do understand. Completely. I’m in the same position, on a 2+ month “vacation” in my parent’s house, while I transition from a teaching contract in Russia to a teaching contract in Poland. And I, too, found myself surprised at how easy it was to be comfortable, to get back into the normal, living-at-home routines that I had growing up. The struggle is that I sometimes feel guilty about it, with some of sort (completely unfounded) external force, judging me. My friends have all settled into their 9-5 jobs, coming home to their new houses or apartments, to their spouses and significant others. While here I am, single, bouncing from country to country and using the time in between to travel and to re-connect at home. But then I realized, why should I feel guilty? I’m happy, and I can support myself. I should never feel guilty about coming home, whether it’s for a 2 day visit or a 2 month visit. Instead, I need to keep reminding myself how grateful I should be, that I have that warm and open home to come back to, again and again.

  • Sarah

    I live in Annapolis in the US and it’s pretty much the norm here for people to move back home after college. Even making $30,000 or $40,000 isn’t enough for a lot of people to be able to afford housing, transportation costs, health care, and (usually) continuing education. That makes it a little easier for someone like me, without a traditional 9-5 job, to get away with living at home for the time being :) If you were to talk to any of my cousins, all of whom live in another state, they think I’m nuts for living at home….but they also rent 8-bedroom mansions in Cleveland and Columbus for $400/month.

    In the end, you basically have to just decide that it doesn’t matter what others think about your lifestyle. That’s what I realize every time that I get the opportunity to just pick up and head out on my next trip.

  • http://kierstenschonauer.squarespace.com/ Kiersten Schonauer

    I found myself giggling as I read through your article, I can relate to much of what you wrote. I too have had to move home for a bit longer than I planned/wished for and feel like I’m back in high school. I am, however, throughly enjoying the free food, wine, and private washing machine!

  • Nikki

    In addition to you, I have had the same experience of living at home after a stint in Thailand, then onto a job teaching in Korea. Though it may be awkward at times redefining the parent/child relationship, it does put one on a new level of relationship. Now both my folks and I have a much healthier respect of eachother.

    “When one grows up it is only natural to move out,” well who says that? Our modern society does, but you don’t have to believe it. Society is just what the group says, and aren’t we taught to be individuals anyhow? Think for yourself and break the mold of “the perfect American/British/Canadian standard life.” (Isn’t that why you travel anyhow? To see more? Don’t feel bad but embrace the time with family, travel, explore and live your own (non-standard) life.

  • Marie

    I moved in with my parents after I graduated, but they had moved to Hong Kong while I was in college. I comfort myself with the fact that I’m not “really” moving home. Now it’s just like I’m roommates (in a very small apartment) with my parents.

  • Lauren

    As I read this, I can’t help but laugh at myself, because I am 27 years old, staying with my family as I’ve just returned from a long term stay in Israel, and still in my pyjamas having had a long sleep in. Guilty pleasures indeed. I don’t even have the luxury of staying in my old room as my brother moved in there following his divorce. No no, I have the pleasure of sharing a room and a big queen-sized bed with my little sister. It’s not all bad, lucky for me, my cousins have offered a healthy stint of house sitting. And soon enough (4 more months!) I’ll be back in MY room in MY apartment. Cooking for myself…doing my own washing…sigh.

  • Mari

    Well, in other countries and cultures it is quite common to live with your parents as an adult. I find it funny to see such a taboo surrounding it on North America and the UK.

    I’m abut to turn 27. I do not live at home, by choice. After a long time travelling, I realised that I needed to be more independent. Going back home made me regress, not into fighting like a teenager (I get along very well with my parents, although we do fight occasionally, we also spend time cuddling in the sofa watching t.v. together), but into the confort of having other people do things for me.

    But my parents are still overprotctive and I need to call them everyday, so they know that I’m ok. When I mentioned that to an American friend, she couldn’t believe it. But I think that is absolutely normal.
    I’m the one who can’t believe it, when I see American movies or series where families only get together at Thanksgiving, and only as an obligation. Yes, I know that’s an exxageration, but still… it’s such a different culture! That’s why some American and British commedies about foreign people (Greeks, Italians, Latin Americans, Portuguese…) make fun of families who stay close, or live in the same house (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Love Actually” come to mind, but also the natural way this was portayed in the series “Ugly Betty”).

    When I tell people, here, that I don’t live with my parents, they usually say things like ”oh, so you had to go to a different city to study/work?” or “why not? Do you not get along with your family?”

  • Eveliens

    This article strikes home – literally. I am 27 and sitting on my mother’s couch while between gigs teaching in Asia. I don’t necessarily feel insecure, but I do feel a bit like a burden, despite doing all my own chores, cooking, shopping, etc. My mom on the other hand is thrilled I’m here, as my little sister just moved out to go to college. It’s not bad here as we get along just fine, but I still can’t wait to get back to Korea and have my own space and privacy.

    Mostly because I’m highly independent by nature and it’s difficult sharing a space and having other people do things for me.I do feel a little odd as most of my old co-workers and friends have cars, children, and “normal” lives, but no one has given me grief about my choices. The opposite in fact! Most of them are extremely supportive and interested. They think I’m brave :) and there’s no shortage of free lunches when I come back home in exchange for tales.How much you grow abroad cannot be measured on the same scale because it’s apples and oranges.

  • Epros

    Also 27 years old, crashing on my moms couch trying to pay off student loans after an extended study abroad experience in Europe.  The way I look at it, its the experiences in life that really matter the most.  Having worldly experiences are much more valuable in life than material things.  Most of my friends are married, have launched careers, have kids and houses, etc.  However, you can rest assured that your experiences are something that you will never lose.  

  • Kristen Gandza

    ah, empathy…

  • Reya Arimbuyutan II

    I’m glad I read this. I’m also 27 and went back home to my parents after a long stay abroad. My family is always there for me but at some point they are just overprotective. I should be happy we are together, but it just doesn’t feel right to be in the same house anymore. And plus factor, in Asia I’m already old enough to have 2 kids by now. I’m single and people (especially relatives) keeps telling me to get married already. Another perk is when I went back home, I don’t have a friend or know anyone anymore, since most of the people I knew moved out some place else. Well, travelling is my calling. I need to respond to it I guess.

  • Anonymous

    When I was 32, I walked out of an awful job and moved in with my dad. That was incredibly difficult for many reasons, including he lived in an apartment in Queens, no storage so all my stuff was in boxes in his back room for 14 months, and he and I don’t see eye-to-eye on anything. Things would’ve been completely different had it been my mom. I could live with her for the rest of my life, we’re a lot more alike and easier to get along with, but my dad is very controlling. As grateful as I am to have a good dad, I hated living with him, everything was a problem.

  • sashmo

    You’re right, I think most travelers can identify with this.

    I am 25, but I already have a couple of extended stays with the parents under my belt. The first one was awful; I moved out at 18 and never spent more than a week at home until after I graduated college, but without a job or any immediate plans, I had no choice but to move back in at 22. It was a full house too, with my two brothers still at home and with one less bedroom since my parents had moved to a new house after I left. I was the classic adult-turned-teenager-again, and I was totally depressed/freaked out about my future prospects. Living in a dark, unfinished basement didn’t help matters.

    The second time was at 24, after having to make a swift exit from Thailand. This time was sooo much better. There were still 5 of us in a three bedroom house, but we were all a lot more comfortable with the arrangement somehow. I had a definite end-point in mind, too. No matter what, I was giving myself 6 months to get back on my feet, whatever that might mean. I was working 50-60 hours a week, and my parents and I had completely opposite schedules, which I think helped us feel less crowded at home. I worked between 4pm and 4am (service job), and could go days without crossing paths with my parents. I think this made it a lot easier to actually enjoy each other on the days we did get to spend together.

    I’m doing a Master’s abroad right now, but next summer, I will be back with them for a couple of months. By now, I think we have successfully transitioned into adult parent-child relationships, and like you mentioned, we have spent a couple of years without seeing each other at all, so we have fun when we have an extended period of time to hang out. And since we’ve lived together already (post-childhood, i mean), we actually don’t drive each other crazy after a few days, though I always felt this way when I was in college. Plus, my brothers have moved out, so it’ll be just three people, all of whom can cook and clean for themselves. :)

  • sarah7867

    i am thanking Dr. Ekaka from the ekakaspelltemple@yahoo.com for the love spell he did for me, he brought my ex boyfriend that i love so much that i have tried everything i can to get him back he brought him back to me within 24hours after i contacted him i am really happy with the love spell he did for me all thanks to him for taken his time to help me and to give good result that i really need to me without taken my time and without any delay my heart is really filled with joy and excitement that i got the love of my life back..

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