Once the initial flurry of the return wears off, you find yourself wanting to be somewhere else. Regardless of whether you want to return to the heights of the peak, you want to go back to the way life used to be, or you are re-living the trauma, there is a way in which a part of you doesn’t want to be ‘here now’ and a part of you has been left behind.

During this phase you might for example day-dream about returning to the volunteer experience in New Orleans or to the people in the remote village in China. This phase has you gripped by an inescapable longing to return to something, another time and space. You are clear; you don’t want to be “here,” wherever “here” is for you.


In an attempt to satiate your longing, you might make slightly obsessive attempts to be closer to that is now missing, to whatever it is that you hold dear. There is an uncontrollable urge to adorn yourself with objects and actions that help you to feel like you are “there” or “with those people” or “next to that person.” You might for instance repeatedly pour over photos, listen to music that takes you back, or eat certain foods. You may find yourself engaging in actions that take you “back there:” waking up at dawn like you did when you were ‘there,’ putting the towels away just the way “they did,” or wear a particular shirt, hat or ring, carry an object that helps you to connect. During this time it is helpful to simply be alone because in a real way, you are alone in your experience. Beyond this, it is helpful for many to spend time in nature and with others who had similar experiences.

Read More

Read Poem