Top 10 sources of culture shock when coming back to the states

Map, passport and backpack for world travelBY LISA DAZOLS

We’ve been home now for nearly two months now. It’s been enough time to get back into the swing of things here, but we are still recognizing how different our lives are now that we’re back in San Francisco with a home to take care of, a job to commute to, social obligations to attend to, and a to-do list that never seems to get done. Frankly, it’s been a rough adjustment. Here are the top ten differences that we noticed between life on the road and life at home:

10. Speed it up! The pace of life seems like it’s on double-time compared to how we lived traveling through the developing world. We used to plan just one activity a day. Life in the States is structured by hourly activities, meetings, and events. We’re constantly feeling behind and exhausted. What happened to the four hours a day that we used to spend exercising, meditating, and doing yoga?

9. “I’ll take it to go.” To keep up with this fast-paced life, I’ve noticed how much people have to eat on the run. In the developing world, people sit down for meals at home. There is no such thing as coffee cups to go. I’ve found myself already eating meals in the car, on Muni, and while I’m walking. Jenni and I already dropped the 8 pounds we each gained by no longer having three two-hour meals a day.


Lisa Dazols is a licensed clinical social worker who is in her tenth year in HIV services. She and her partner Jenni traveled all over the world meeting the LGBT community for their OutandAround blog project, which is now being made into a documentary.

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