Have you ever returned from a vacation and felt a bit ‘off’’? And we’re not talking about catching a travel bug. It’s a feeling that sits in the pit of your stomach, telling you that something’s wrong.
Your inner dialogue fires up—”You just got back from having a great time. You have no reason to feel blue…” vs. “something’s changed, I can feel it…”
Well, guess what?
And that something is you.
But, before you Google-diagnose ‘post-holiday blues,’ Smith tells us it’s deeper than this. You’re not just missing those days of spontaneity, new friends, and sights. Your psyche has evolved… and slipping back into your ‘old life’ isn’t nearly as easy as you think.
There’s resistance because you return with, or even as, an altered character.
Amanda Smith, a traveller who’s played ‘continental hop scotch’ for two years, gives us some insight into the psychology of movement—a story that emerged as a way for Amanda to “understand what the hell was going on inside” while experiencing amazing countries, communities, and cultures on the outside.
It’s what the bravest writers among us do. Curiosity overrides. And, boom—their life becomes the canvas for their art. Amanda is no different. She’s not just a globe-plotting traveller who’s experienced over 50 countries. She’s a travel journalist and creative writer, who has ghost-written novels for other people.
With a planned release next year, The Inner Fire is her exploration of “the phoenix cycle” experienced by all travelers: new experiences growing into great joy… then fading… absence… grief… and back again into something new.
While Western society teaches us that loss equates grief, travelling teaches us that the “Little Grief” is everywhere; that this grief isn’t about experiencing a death of some part of us.
Amanda begs the question: what if it’s just the spark of something new?
She explores the two years living in her own ‘phoenix cycle.’ Peppered with the lives and experiences of others who have experienced life-changing shifts, this book has its own itinerary for you: an emotional ride through some of life’s deepest, sometimes unexpected, and paradigm flipping feelings.
“I believe a rebirth happens when we travel, yet most of the time, we don’t realise it. It’s just as much as inner journey as it is a physical one. I draw on theories and concepts related to reverse culture shock, weaving in voices of both travelers—those who are living these experiences, and non-travelers—who have been through major identity shifts,” Amanda explains.
“I wanted this book to be a narrative, but underpinned with psychological theories to double as a self-help resource.”
Smith intentionally included non-travelers in her book because “we all go through situations that question and challenge who we are.” She’s interviewed new mothers, people struggling with illness and going through career change, with an intention for “anyone to be able to pick up The Inner Fire and resonate with the messages.”
The book releases a broad sweep of voices, from the leisure traveller and digital nomads, to expats, overseas workers and even NASA. Yes, NASA. If any type of traveller experiences reverse culture shock the ultimate must be astronauts. NASA run a ‘Return to Earth’ program to help their astronauts transition back home, to assist in the process of reintegrating back into society after seeing a borderless world. A topic that could not go untouched in Amanda’s writing.
Intangible loss, grief, psychological adaptation, the concept of ‘home’ and consciousness are recurring themes through The Inner Fire. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or are love the comforts of home but would like to learn how to navigate through change, TheInner Fire will gently entice your curiosity.
You can find out more about Amanda Smith here: http://www.amandasmithwriter.com.au.
Follow her travel blog for regular stories in between her books: https://www.locotravelmagazine.com.