STEP 1 | Coping with the End of a Global Adventure

To kick off STEP 1 of the ‘5 Steps to Your Next Global Adventure’ BLAB series, I’m interviewing Cate Brubaker, my co-host and fellow global nomad (you can read Cate’s interview with me here). Last year, Cate and I bonded over our shared struggles returning home from abroad and wanted to create resources to ease the transition for others. That’s how we ended up creating the ‘How to Find Your Next Global Adventure at Home or Abroad’ workbook (Kindle / PDF) and this BLAB seriesKeep reading to hear more about Cate’s transition and how it inspired our projects together.

* * * *

When we come home we say “it changed my life”, but we have a hard time articulating how. Have you found one experience harder to explain than others?

Definitely my first one. I was only 17 when I returned home from living in Germany for a year. I had experienced so much, changed so much, and become so much more independent while abroad. When I came home I found it incredibly difficult to share my experiences with friends and family. This was pre-internet, so everyone back home had only caught glimpses of my life abroad from letters and a few photos. While I could talk about what I ate for breakfast, show them the fountain pen I started writing with, and share photos of cities I’d visited, I found it impossible to explain what it was really like, how I’d grown and changed, what I’d learned, and how the experience had shaped me.

Why do you think it’s so hard to articulate?

Because it’s so deep within us. Much of my growth while I was abroad was subtle and I only realized just how much my perspectives had changed when I got home and had some time to reflect and process.  

Why is it important to be able to explain the impact out loud?

The more you can articulate how you feel and what you’re struggling with, the easier it is to find support and solutions. The more you’re aware of who you are now that you’ve been abroad, the easier it is to find your next global adventure and create a global life that’s right for you. That’s why I started SmallPlanetStudio.com, and why I help global adventurers use re-entry to find their Global Life Ingredients, and then use those ingredients to create a global life they love at home and abroad.

What are some tools/resources you’ve used to help you with the transition?

After my first experience abroad I didn’t have access to any resources, which made things much harder. There were no blog posts to read, no Facebook groups to join, no coaches to hire. What did help at that time was staying in touch with my exchange student friends around the US who were also back home and experiencing the same things as me. It was so helpful to know that I wasn’t alone in my struggles!

When I started college, I gravitated towards people who understood the global side of me. I loved not having to explain myself to them; they just understood. Later, in grad school, I studied transitions, reverse culture shock, and identity. Pam Slim’s Body of Work: Finding the Thread that Ties Your Story Together helped me quite a bit a few years ago. After several years of research, working with students, teachers, and expats in transition, and reflecting on my own global transitions, I saw a great need for creative resources for today’s global adventurers. That’s why I’m thrilled to partner with you, Pouneh, on our Find Your Next Global Adventure ebook, blog and Blab series!


ABOUT CATELonging to Travel - Interview - BLAB Series - Cate Brubaker

Cate is launching a creative workbook for global adventurers who want to make re-entry a positive, growing experience by using what they learned abroad to create a meaningful, satisfying, and sustainable global life at home and abroad. A part-time nomad who has lived abroad and traveled to 35 countries, Cate spends several weeks each year traveling and workationing around the world. Her favorite location is “on the road”, her #1 hobby is living out of a backpack, and she never says no to gelato. Get re-entry and global life inspiration, tips, and resources at SmallPlanetStudio.com

Connect with Cate on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (/catebrubaker).


This post is part of the 2016 BLAB Series: 5 Steps to Your Next Global Adventure.
Learn more about the series here.

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