Reverse Culture-Shock

Many articles have been written and movies (Tom Hanks in Cast Away comes to mind) featured around the topic of coming home after a long, deep voyage. You have changed, but nothing else has. People run around in their busy lives as they always have, while you feel like the disconnected, slowed-down by-stander. Everyone talks about wanting to slow down (especially when working as a Yoga Teacher…), but no-one really does it. People rush into the yoga class, and out of it barely managing to switch their phones off. We spent the days with a little screen in front of our faces and call it progress. You feel at home, but at the same time strangely out-of-space.

Our life aboard starts feeling more and more like a dream, and less like it had actually been our reality for several years. People expect you to summarize three years of voyaging the high-seas with your family in one or two sentences. Does no one have more time to listen? Is it all too hard to take in (the reality that you CAN get out of the rat race if you truly wish to…)? Or simply too far remote a lifestyle to even fathom thinking or hearing what it really entails? Or still yet enough to be with us and, through the way we have and haven’t changed, understand all that there is to understand off and from our voyage?


Our lives have arrived. We are working like before, we are regularly catching up with friends like before, heading to the beach with the kids like before, loving Sydney’s great quality of food, organising jamming sessions and having everyone over for BBQs. But my Soul? Or my heart-adjustments to deal with the old/new relationships? It hasn’t been easy. I’ve been feeling quite lost and at times – despite all the amazing community and support around me – lonely. However, as days pass and I tap more and more back into my old community and spent long-due treasured shakti moments connecting with goddesses, girl-friends, spiritual sisters, mothers and women who understand like no-one else could, Old cruising friends are virtually there for us from the other side of the world. They understand the half that no-one else can – but they haven’t ‘returned’ yet. I have never chosen the easy way, but always the adventurous one which comes with personal growth. And personal growth never comes without an edge of pain.


When everything around me gets too much, I give in at times, through my earth-mother ideas and ideals overboard, juck the pizza in the electric (so easy!) oven, put on a DVD for the kids, make myself a cup of tea and sink into a book. The current one is Y. N. Harari’s ‘SAPIENS – a brief history of human kind’. One of my dearest Australian friends back in London gave it to me as a sort of farewell present and universal timing has once again divinely come together. So many paragraphs I more than relate with as I feel like the Neanderthal from boat life back in the overwhelm of a big city with all its myths and stories that people take as THE reality, not realizing that all their run for is constructs of their own minds:

People easily understand that ‘primitives’ cement their social order by believing in ghosts and spirits, and gatherings each full moon to dance together around the campfire. What we fail to appreciate is that our modern institutions function on exactly the same basis. Take for example the world of business corporations. Modern business-people and lawyers are, in fact, powerful sorcerers. The principal difference between them and tribal shamans is that modern lawyers tell far stranger tales.


Why not join me for a heart-opening yoga class at Prana Space Yoga Studio in Rose Bay, 1st January 9h30-11 am to set the road of 2016 into more lightness, joy and good vibrations?!?





  1. Most people don’t get the cruising life, the choices and constraints that go with that but also the intensity of feelings you get from living in such a different environment, at a different pace, with different challenges.
    I have a sense of the disconnection you must feel Dini, even though for us cruising has only been in two months’ bursts for several years. I recognise some of what you describe because I feel lost and disconnected every time we get back home to what people call a normal life. It’s harder to come back to that ‘normal’ each year and we can’t wait for the day when there won’t be a return, just an open ended adventure.
    May 2016 be a year of new learning and continued joy for you.

  2. Hi Dini – I relate to this post and this situation all too well, as I experienced my own reverse culture shock in 2010, after 4 years of an truly international life that was tailored (with both pain and glory) from my own heart.

    When I returning to the fast paced life, which was one more of “survival” rather than “thrival” (a word that I use to describe utopian ideal of living to grow rather than just exist) in Sydney back in Sept 2010, it was indeed a tough transition, which lead to me resigning from a permanent position within 8 months of starting, only to hit the road/air again pursuing adventures of greater meaning such as love and life ( ).

    What I find is that every time I return to a mainstream life it is like a box that I no longer want to fit into. It has been my observation in recent years (after returning and sticking with the mainstream for a bit) that often there is no time to understand the journey of others in this fast paced life because we barely have time to understand the mean of our own winding paths – and are constantly struggling for balance. I am lucky to have the gift of a habit of writing, reflection, and a dwindling mindfulness practice, which helps keep me in touch with my own pleasures and pains. With this practice it is still scary to check in and talk about the matters that are close to my heart, but without it, I feel it would be near terrifying.

    So perhaps the one thing that helped me most with the reverse culture shock i experienced was to connect often with those who understood the subtle struggle, and also to practice having and awareness and acceptance of those who had no idea what I was talking about, or feeling, which was the majority of people who I came into contact. After all it was me who chose to take a leap away from the beaten track, and it was me who reaped the benefits. In your case, i believe it was more than a leap that you took! Good luck 🙂 Can’t wait for the jam sessions – this will all come out in the music!!

    Happy New Year! May 2016 be another one of increasing growth, tolerance and acceptance 🙂

    Lots of love and light xxx

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