For the local issue, Joe shares his thoughts on going back to the most local place you know - your hometown - and learning to embrace it.

*This is an archived article. Since 22 October 2017, LFB is only focusing on Berlin-related topics. Please check out our new platform, YEOJA Magazine, for material like this.

For some, the thought of a returning to the nest and the parentals after many years of independence can seem like a dreaded prospect.

And yet this is exactly what so many Millennials are faced with as student debt and a disrupted job market force these members of the so-called ‘Boomerang Generation’ to return home by the droves. Sometimes this takes place straight after uni, other times we must hang our heads in shame and admit economic defeat years after trying to eke it out on our own. As one such ‘boomerang’, believe me when I say it can be difficult to readjust, and if you’re about to be in the same situation as I currently find myself in I empathise with you 100%.

Returning to your hometown can feel demoralising at times. There are inescapable feelings of failure – after all, you’ve broken out into the world only to have your wings clipped. There are days when you see your friends getting up to amazing things on Instagram and the fomo is real.

But I always try to remember this already famous quote:

Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.
-John Lennon

What does this have to do with moving home, you ask? Well, I’m happy to answer.

Picture the scene: you’ve moved back home temporarily, with ambitions to move back to the big city at the earliest opportunity. The job hunt hasn’t been that fruitful and you’ve not yet saved enough for the deposit on an apartment. That’s OK, you’ll just work harder. After all, the situation is only temporary, right? Right?

But then time carries on. Maybe you’ve got a job and all the hours but it still isn’t enough. Meanwhile, your friends are getting on with life, settling down or living it up in the city. It feels like life is one big party and everyone is there, but you’re still getting ready. This situation – when the ‘temporary’ nature of moving home stops being so temporary – is what Lennon was referring to by ‘making other plans’.

I totally understand your desire to move back to the city; I’m fully on board with it myself. But if you solely focus on achieving that goal and forget to live life in the meantime, you’ll may find your mental health suffering and your optimism faltering.

In a bid to outsmart these very blues when I moved back to my oh-so-slow hometown, I took Lennon’s quote to heart. I kept my ambitions in mind and stayed in touch with my city-based friends, but I started to think locally. What could I get involved in? What exciting opportunities were heading my way? And most importantly, where could I get a really good cocktail?

As you can tell (because I’m writing an article about it), challenging myself in this way was one of my better ideas, in that it kept me sane. By embracing my hometown and everything it has to offer, I’ve been able to really carry on living.

And boy have I been living. I’ve reconnected with old friends, met new faces I never even knew were here, been involved in performance art (I watched), enjoyed science lectures in bars, visited local markets and festivals and even learned to drive.

I’ve got a few too many wrinkled tickets from my town’s theatre still shoved in my wallet, a stack of Polaroids from great nights out, and even managed to pick up a broken heart from a local boy along the way.

And I’m happy for it all. I’m happy because I carried on living my life whilst I can. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up here forever, maybe I’ll move somewhere completely different by the end of the year. Whatever I choose, I’m glad I didn’t waste a second of it.

So, if you take one thing away from this article, please, please, please let it be this: embrace your situation, whatever it is, and keep on keeping on – otherwise you might just see life pass you by, and that’s no fun at all.


Joe is a Freelance Writer and Managing Director for his own company, Carbon Social, a marketing company. You can find more of Joe on Twitter and Instagram.

Photography: Joe Stevenson, Post-processing: Rae Tashman

Rae Tilly

Rae the EIC of LFB and YEOJA Magazine. She is also a photographer and social media influencer.


  • Bivisyani Q.

    I don’t know if it’s a US/Western thing or if it’s just something that I don’t do, but the university experience is so different among my friends. I say my friends, because I’m technically an anomaly by trying to pursue education abroad. Granted, my friends and I live in the capital, so it’s as far as we can go, so to speak, in our country. But often high school graduates in Indonesia go to uni in their own hometown and stay with their parents, if the distance is not too ridiculous. And, even if they do live in separate housing during uni (be it in the hometown or out of it), as soon as they graduate, they usually move right back home with the parents—it’s just logic, since housing prices here are insane! Renting an apartment or dorm of some kind is just not feasible with the salary we get when we’re just starting up—for most of us anyway. It’s not entirely impossible, but it takes a great sacrifice—i.e. most of our salary—to live independently at the start of our career. So, often, we only start looking into independent living (after uni) once we get married—or at a higher position in our career. It’s just financially wiser! Plus, there are too many people in Indonesia, especially the capital, so it’s a real struggle trying to find a new place to live—minus the actual finances, of course.

    What I find relatable in this article is the shame of going back home before you’ve finished what you set out to do. In my case, I went to Germany to pursue higher education, but left for home before I even got a Bachelor Degree. Ouch! In a lot of ways, it’s still very sensitive for me to mention even now—and that was three years ago! But, just as Joe has said, I totally agree that we need to embrace our own situation, find ways to make it work for ourselves and somehow see the silver lining of everything. Happiness lies not in where you are geographically (or financially, even), but where you are psychologically. If you find a way to be happy where you are, whatever has happened to you, it will make life so much easier for you. And I’m starting to believe that now…slowly.

    Alive as Always

  • I just moved home a few weeks ago and it has been quite an adjustment. If you told me seven years when I was going off to university across the country that I would be coming back home I would have laughed at you. But here I am, living back home and although I did feel like a complete loser at first (just being honest here) I am surrounded by a great support system and enjoy being back home.

  • We’ve got to see that the grass is green on our own side! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  • Sophie Lee

    I have stayed at home for all of my life and really thinking of moving to somewhere else

    xoxo, All about trendy hats