->''"Those first few weeks home from the war, I moved through the house like an astronaut lost in an alien landscape. Everything looked strange. Smelled strange. Even in the air. My family were bizarre creatures I didn't know how to communicate with. Was too afraid to even touch or look at them for long. This is supposed to be my home, I had to keep reminding myself. Hoping it would eventually start to feel that way"''.
-->-- '''Frank Castle''', [[ComicBook/ThePunisherMAX Punisher Max]] #12, "Frank"

Known in real life as "Reverse Culture Shock" or "Re-entry Shock".

A character returns home after a [[TheQuest long absence]] and finds that they no longer fit in, either because [[FishOutOfTemporalWater their home has changed too much over time]], because [[CharacterDevelopment they themselves were changed]] by their experiences or both. In the second case, it can lead to a ButNowIMustGo sentiment. In less extreme cases, the character may eventually settle down again with some effort.

Prominent real-life examples are usually based on [[ReturningWarVet soldiers returning home]], most commonly from UsefulNotes/WorldWarI or UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar, or prisoners who find after serving their sentences that they can't adapt to life "outside". This is also relatively common among anthropologists and related fieldworkers who come home after a long stint in another society only to realize how bizarre their own culture really is.

Present in Western literature as early as in Creator/{{Homer}}'s ''Literature/TheOdyssey'', making it OlderThanFeudalism. Related to YouCantGoHomeAgain, NeverAcceptedInHisHometown, GoingNative, and possibly SoWhatDoWeDoNow. This experience may be part of causing the character in question to go FromCamouflageToCriminal. Occasionally overlaps with WhereItAllBegan. Contrast HomeSweetHome -- although this trope may also make the character realize that his home is no longer the place where he used to live.

Often, characters placed in this situation will choose to put themselves back InHarmsWay.

Has absolutely nothing to do with ''Literature/StrangerInAStrangeLand.''

'''WARNING: Below are unmarked spoilers aplenty!'''
%% ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out. Add context to the entries before uncommenting them.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Manga/BlackLagoon'', Rock returns to his home country of Japan during the Yakuza arc, but found himself unable to return to his family and old life after everything he's experienced since his departure.
* In ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'', Amuro Ray goes to visit his mother on Earth, and ends up shooting the Zeon patrol searching for him. His mother is dismayed by how much the war has changed her little boy, and they part less than amicably.
* In ''Anime/AfterWarGundamX'' Roabea and Witz have ADayInTheLimelight that ends this way. Roabea finds his first love dead and buried, leaving him no reason to ever return to his hometown. Witz, meanwhile, finds that his widowed mother has remarried and they argue bitterly over his being a mobile suit pilot. At the end, both of them decide their real home is the ''Frieden'', the ship they've been working for as HiredGuns.
* This happens at the end of Season 2 of ''Anime/MonsterRancher'', where Genki's sudden return to Earth after a good year or so in another world is portrayed to be as devastating as you would expect.
* Ayato in ''Anime/RahXephon'', at several points in the story.
* Part of Riki's CharacterDevelopment in ''LightNovel/AiNoKusabi'' after he had been absent from the slums for 3 years.
* Depicted in ''Manga/{{Inuyasha}}'' to some degree. Kagome has three friends from her school, and we see how she has less and less in common with them the once or twice per season she returns home; they're thinking of tests and cute boys, while her circumstances have her outgrowing normal high-school concerns. When she talks about her romantic troubles but leaves out the details, they think he's just hung up on his ex, while the truth is more like "his dead previous fiancee ''isn't'' dead, and we don't know which side she's on or what her complicated long-term game is, as if an ArtifactOfDoom-wielder who only gets more unkillable every week wasn't ''enough.''"
* Serves as the main barrier between Domon and Rain's ChildhoodFriendRomance in ''Anime/MobileFighterGGundam''. After an entire adolescence of TrainingFromHell in the mountains, Domon Kasshu gets to return home and find that, well, said home was basically razed to the ground by his apparently now evil older brother. Rain is all that's left from his former life, which would be more of a comfort if he had actually spent any of those ten years in the woods learning [[NoSocialSkills how to engage in basic conversation]].
* Part of the {{Deconstruction}} of [[spoiler: Homura's ability to go back in time to SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong]] in ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica''. [[spoiler: The multiple attempts to change Madoka's fate end up changing Homura's personality from a ShrinkingViolet {{Meganekko}} to a cold [[ShellShockedVeteran Shell Shocked]] [[AloofDarkHairedGirl Aloof Dark Haired]] MagicalGirl who grows more and more distant from the other four girls with each repetition of the timeline because of what she knows and what they don't. The original vulernable [[FanNickname Moemura]] is kept buried deep inside, only evident in select instances such as in Episode 11, when she tearfully laments to Madoka that while to her Homura was this mysterious transfer student whom she had only known for a few weeks, to Homura Madoka was ''everything'' because she had given up so much for her sake.]]
* This is the main conflict for the Genesect Army in ''Anime/PokemonGenesectAndTheLegendAwakened'', who were [[FishOutOfTemporalWater revived from 300 million year-old fossils]] and no longer fit in to the modern world.
* In ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'', Reiner Braun states that his driving motivation is to return to his hometown. When he finally ''does'' make it home, his family cannot comprehend what he has gone through. [[spoiler: In a family that ''fiercely'' supports the regime, he is forced to toe the party line or risk being turned on by his own family. To this end, he has to parrot the government's propaganda, smile while his family grooms his cousin to follow in his footsteps for their own benefit, and pretend to hate the people he once considered his dearest friends. While he clearly doesn't fit in anymore, leaving isn't an option either because his superiors will kill him and punish his entire family]].
* Subverted in ''Anime/TheBoyAndTheBeast'' with Kyuta after returning to Tokyo for the first time as an adult. He makes friends with Kaede to catch up on his studies and eventually reunites with his father to the point that he decides to [[spoiler:leave Jūtengai, his other home, forever]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In the [[ShowWithinAShow Comic In A Comic]] of ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'', the survivor of a pirate raid desperately attempts to return home to warn of the pirates' imminent arrival. He clearly goes insane in his certainty he will be too late, and fails to recognize his own family on return.
** One of the actors in TheMovie compared the superheroes' situation to 'War veterans trying to fit in with society'.
* Samaritan from ''ComicBook/AstroCity'' is a particularly extreme example - he was born in a desolate future where humanity was about to die out, and was sent back in time to our era to change history. He eventually ended up in a fight with a villain who [[CrypticBackgroundReference we assume]] had some sort of time-related powers, which got him sent back to his own time. He discovered that he'd succeeded in his mission, and that the future was now one where humanity was thriving, but the changes he'd made were so extensive that he'd become a temporal anomaly - the rest of his family were never born, and what was his home had become a taco stand.
** In a later story that tells of Samaritan's archenemy Infidel, the immortal Infidel traveled forward in time and built an empire in Samaritan's old world, only to be shocked and appalled at the ignominy when he finds that ''his'' home (which had been coincidentally built on the wreckage of Samaritan's) had ''also'' become the ''same'' taco stand.
* The Creator/DCComics villain Superboy-Prime spent most of his existence trying to return to his home universe where all these annoying super-beings only existed in comic books. He finally succeeded at the end of the ''ComicBook/FinalCrisis'' MegaCrossover. But when he got home, he discovered that his family and girlfriend had been following his "adventures" in the comics - all the atrocities he had committed, the tortures, the mutilations, and the at-least-eleven-digit body count he had racked up - and considered him a monster.
* The situation occurs in ''Comicbook/TheLifeAndTimesOfScroogeMcDuck'' by Creator/DonRosa. Scrooge leaves Scotland as a 13-year-old and briefly visits home when 18. In 1902, a 35-year-old Scrooge has earned a small fortune and attempts to resettle in Scotland. Having spent most of his life in the United States, South Africa, Australia and Canada, Scrooge has problems being accepted by traditional Scottish villagers. Soon Scrooge decides to return to the United States, this time taking his two sisters with him.
* In the "Threeboot" version of the ''Comicbook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}}'', Triplicate Girl comes from a planet populated entirely by duplicates of herself. At one point, she tried to go back, only to find that the selves that had remained on the planet were now afraid of her, because her adventures with the Legion had changed her so much that she was no longer identical to them and they now saw her as an outsider.
* It happens to ''[[ComicBook/Supergirl2005 Post-Crisis]]'' ComicBook/{{Supergirl}} when [[ComicBook/SupermanBrainiac she and Superman rescue a city full of Kryptonians]] which settle in a new planet. When Kara moves to ''ComicBook/NewKrypton'' she finds she's been living in Earth for so long that Kryptonians are "alien" to her now.
-->'''ComicBook/LanaLang:''' So what's it like over there?\\
'''Supergirl:''' On New Krypton? It's... different. Our people are happy there. The planet itself is beautiful, too, but... It's weird, but being around other Kryptonians like my mother, I'm really starting to feel... well...\\
'''Lana:''' Alien?\\
'''Supergirl:''' Some of them are so different from humans, Lana. They think differently, they speak differently, they... react differently. I've been on Earth so long, it's been hard for me to fall back into being "just another Kryptonian".
* Happens to Travis Morgan whenever he returns to Earth in ''ComicBook/TheWarlord''. These visits just reinforce Morgan's belief that the LostWorld of Skartaris is where he truly belongs.
* In the comic ''Film/{{Tron}}: Ghost in the Machine'' (a follow up to ''[[VideoGame/TronTwoPointOh Tron 2.0]]'', different continuity than ''Film/TronLegacy''), Jet is so shell-shocked by his trip through the computer and the [[GoMadFromTheRevelation revelation that Programs are sentient beings inside the system]] (and that he killed dozens of those and [possibly] ''some digitized Users'') that he ''refuses'' to touch electronics for the next six months, and Alan has to haul him to a shrink.
** Both the non-canonical ''Ghost In the Machine'' and the {{Canon}} comic ''Tron: Betrayal'' imply this happened to Flynn (who behaved erratically and vanished in both continuities).
* The page quote comes from Jason Aaron's ''[[Comicbook/ThePunisherMAX Punisher MAX]]'' story arc "Frank". Which details Frank Castle's experiences with this back during the period between his return from Vietnam and the death of his family. He struggled to be a normal family man again, but the whole time he desperately craved a return to [[BloodKnight war and violence]] in general. Parallels are drawn between this period in his past and the present, where he's in prison.
* ComicBook/CaptainAmerica is depicted this way in modern incarnations (especially his [[ComicBook/UltimateMarvel Ultimate]] counterpart). He was frozen in a block of ice during WWII and was originally thawed out in the [[UsefulNotes/TheSilverAgeOfComicBooks 1960s]]. As comics have continued however, the gap in between when he was frozen and thawed out has grown larger, spanning decades and decades, making Cap feel even more out-of-place with the current world and, in Ultimate Cap's case, [[ValuesDissonance its sensibilities]]. [[SubvertedTrope Regardless]], he's still looked up to as the pinnacle of heroism in the MarvelUniverse, and an example for all to follow.
** This also happens to Cap whenever he time-travels back to the 1940s. The casual racism and sexism of the era makes him feel entirely out of place.
* ''ComicBook/{{Nova}}'': Richard Rider had difficulties on returning to Earth after that ComicBook/{{Annihilation}} business. It didn't help that he'd returned right after ComicBook/CivilWar, and is disturbed by the news of everything that's happened (including that his former girlfriend died right at the beginning of the event). After an attack by a supervillain, followed by the Thunderbolts when he arrests said supervillain, where he's treated as the villain just because he's there, Rich finally decides to leave, announcing "I think the world's gone insane, and I want off". So, after one disturbing conversation with a psychologically damaged Speedball, he leaves.

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* In ''Fanfic/HeWhoFightsMonsters'' Tsukune comes home and realizes how much Yokai Academy has changed him when his mother comments on his constant tenseness and when he almost kills his old bully.
* Near the end of ''Fanfic/MakeAWish'' Harry returns to England and finds out after removing his disguise as Mr. Black that he needs another disguise to hide all the changes he's gone through over his summer.
* In ''Fanfic/PonyPOVSeries'', [[spoiler:Shining Armor, Minuette, and Cadence end up in a downplayed version of this trope after [[RetGone Makarov's demise]] triggers a CosmicRetcon that erases him from history. They awaken in a new timeline where much has changed due to the Hoovet Empire having imploded on schedule and Makarov's [[RealityWarper changes to the timeline]] being undone, but retain their memories (due to being ImmuneToFate, a Time Lord, and an Alicorn respectively). Downplayed, as they have new memories that help them adjust, but still takes some getting used to.]]
* In ''Fanfic/{{Intercom}}'', after spending time in her MentalWorld, Riley starts to feel this way about the physical world, due to how much nicer and more exciting the former is.
* In ''FanFic/WhyAmICrying'', Diamond Tiara moved from Ponyville to Manehattan when she was four years old; when she moved back three years later, she found that none of her old friends, including her best friend Apple Bloom, remembered who she was.
* In ''FanFic/TheUndesirables'', Sonata Dusk [[spoiler: returns to Equestria after a thousand years absence and has trouble adjusting to Equestrian society]].
* In ''FanFic/OriginStory'', Alex spends the first half of the story trying to find a way to get back to [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Buffy and the gang in Sunnydale]]. When she finally -- if involuntarily -- makes it back to Sunnydale, things have changed so much since the last time she was there that she no longer fits in. The fact that Buffy and her friends are paranoid about her because of her [[ComicBook/{{Superman}} Krpytonian powers]] is just icing on a sour, depressing cake for Alex. The fact that there is a Xander Harris in the group only compounds the issue.
* In ''[[http://archiveofourown.org/works/8793565/chapters/20159878 How the Light Gets In]]'' Laurel is resurrected after being dead for 7 months, and finds herself surrounded by people who had to learn to live without her. It is especially jarring with her family, she was married to and had a daughter with Dean; but (at first) can only watch as he and Thea (their nanny) interact with and care for her, using the co-parenting system they were forced to form when she was dead.
** The flip side is also explored. Her friends and family are overjoyed that she's back; but they and she are now so different from how they all were, that none of them quite know what to do. Thea at one point muses on how they felt all the grief and pain of her death, so what do they do with that now that she's back?
* Ash Ketchum in ''Fanfic/{{Traveler}}'' has trouble adjusting to being back in Pallet Town when he visits for the first time in months. At times, this extends to civilization in general as he's become so used to spending weeks at a time in the wilderness with only his Pokemon for company.
* In [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/6263444/1/Transition Transition]] Jinx and Raven are teleported to an GeniusLoci PleasurePlanet for six months, gain CosmicEntity level powers, and fall in love, meanwhile on earth the teleportation had several side effects such as: causing a tsunami that damages Jump City drowning Gizmo in the process, driving several people AxCrazy including turning Beast Boy into a KnightTemplar before JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope completely, almost driving Terra to suicide before being near fatally poisoned by Beast Boy and utterly crushing the Titans morale.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Gives ''WesternAnimation/TheLastUnicorn'' a very BittersweetEnding. The eponymous unicorn can't stay among humans, since so few are pure enough to recognize her and treat her as an intelligent being deserves, but her time as a human has allowed her to know love and hurt and joy, things normal unicorns never experience, so she'll never again fit in among the eternally unchanging, emotionless creatures that were once her own kind. Still, she thanks Schmendrick for the experience, with the claim that if she had to do it again she would. Also in the original novel.
* ''WesternAnimation/Madagascar3EuropesMostWanted'': Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman finally complete TheHomewardJourney. Unfortunately, their adventures throughout the series made them unfit at the Central Park Zoo. To make things worse, they're apprehended and trapped there with increased security measures, and the animal control officer who captured them still wants them dead. Fortunately, their friends come to their rescue, and in the end Alex and the gang decide they belong in a touring circus.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/TheBestYearsOfOurLives'' has this as its central theme, examining the lives of three soldiers after they come home and struggle to readjust after what they saw of the horrors of UsefulNotes/WorldWarTwo.
* ''Film/CastAway'': Chuck Noland comes home after years being stranded on an island to find that his friends had him declared dead and actually had a funeral, and his fiancee married another man.
* ''Film/HamburgerHill'': Sgt. Worchester monologues about how his experience with anti-war activists became his motivation to do another tour in 'Nam.
* In ''Film/ApocalypseNow'', Willard is in a very similar state and mentions how he couldn't adjust to life at home. Worse still, he's clearly not satisfied with living in the Vietnam War, becoming even more of a stranger to it by the end.
* A strange case in ''Film/TheShawshankRedemption'' finds elderly parolee Brooks unable to fit in outside the walls of the prison in which he's spent the better part of his life. Spotlighted when he writes to his friends on the inside, commenting on how he saw a single automobile when he was a boy...and now they're all over the place.
* In ''Film/{{Sniper}}'', Thomas Beckett tells Richard Miller that he's going to retire from the Marine Corps and return home, then details all the things he's going to do once he gets there only to find out from Miller that most of the places he talks about don't exist any more.
* ''Film/TheHurtLocker''. When Will James' tour in Iraq is finished, he's obviously out of place in his civilian life. The guy even has a hard time ''grocery shopping.'' [[spoiler:The movie ends with him going back to war, walking downrange in the bomb suit with a satisfied look on his face.]]
* In ''Film/TheColorPurple'' after a character returns from prison after so many years, she weeps after commenting that she doesn't know any of her friends or family anymore.
* In the French film ''Film/IHaveLovedYouSoLong'', a woman is let out of prison after serving 15 years for murder [[spoiler:of her suffering terminally ill child]]. When she is released, her father is dead, her mother is senile, her friends have cut off all ties to her, and her baby sister has almost no memories of her whatsoever. Despite this, the woman's sister takes her into her home and tries to become a normal family again.
* In ''Film/GetCarter'', Jack Carter returns to his home town of Newcastle to investigate the murder of his brother. Since he left, he's become a big-shot LondonGangster, so his relationship with the town is quite different.
* In the German film ''Film/{{Stalingrad 1993}}'', one Landser relates how he came back for R&R and just felt like he couldn't live a life away from the front anymore. He tells his comrades that he just asked that his wife be told he fell in combat so he would not have to visit her at home and she wouldn't have to worry about him anymore.
* In ''Film/MyFairLady'', after she's finally fed up with Professor Henry Higgins, Eliza returns to the old neighborhood after her blossoming into a lady, but no one recognizes her.
* In ''Film/ToughGuys'', Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas play convicted train robbers Harry Doyle and Archie Long who are released after serving 30 years in prison and they're shocked by how much the world has changed while they were in prison.
* ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' has the hobbits return to the Shire and share a drink at their local watering hole, looking completely alienated and distanced from the other hobbits. Sam more-or-less acclimatises, and ends up happily married with kids, but Frodo in particular is never quite the same.
* In ''Film/CinemaParadiso'', when Toto returns home from his conscripted service in the army, he has found that his home town is very different. Alfredo advises him to leave forever and he does, until Alfredo dies.
* In ''Film/TheStudentPrinceInOldHeidelberg'', Prince Karl Heinrich goes back to his old college after becoming King and finds out that nothing is the same anymore. The students no longer come to the beer hall where he used to hang out and have fun, and his old frat buddies now behave towards him in a stiffly correct manner, now that he's king.
* In ''Film/AmericanHistoryX'', the protagonist gets this feeling after returning home from prison. He is a changed person who does no longer fit in with his former skinhead gang and their racists ideology.
* At first this seems to be part of the CentralTheme of ''Film/TheWorldsEnd'': five friends return to the town where they grew up after being estranged from it for many years, and find it uncomfortable and hostile. They assume this trope is at hand until by accident they find that, in fact, [[spoiler: most of the townsfolk have been replaced by alien robots]].
* One of the themes of 1947 film ''Film/{{Crossfire}}''. Samuels commiserates with Mitchell about how hard it is to go back to ordinary civilian life after having spent years fighting in the war. Mitchell himself is feeling alienated from his old career as an artist and is very nervous about seeing his wife again.
* ''Film/LocalHero'': After spending several weeks in a charming small Scottish town, the main character comes back to his hypermodern Houston apartment and looks uncomfortable.
* Steve Rogers in ''[[Film/TheAvengers2012 The Avengers]]'' and ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier''. Like his comic counterpart, he wakes up in the 2010s after being frozen since WWII, and ''The Avengers'' shows him [[FishOutOfTemporalWater struggling to keep up with pop culture references, the changed values, and the overall strangeness of the world]]. While ''The Winter Soldier'' shows that Steve has started adjusting to the modern day, we're reminded that Steve is a soldier and a combat veteran who was forcibly thrust into (relative) peacetime, and he's dealing with the plight of many returned servicemen.
* Krall, the villain of ''Film/StarTrekBeyond'', is revealed to be a seasoned soldier and wartime leader who had trouble adapting when his culture transitioned from violent barbarism to peacetime, and eventually came to resent his own people. [[spoiler:''Krall is a human''. He was a MACO who fought in [[Series/StarTrekEnterprise the Xindi and Romulan wars]]; when the Federation was formed and the MACO's were dissolved in favour of the exploratory, non-military Starfleet, he became a starship captain.]]
* ''Film/TradingPlaces'': [[RagsToRiches After getting taken into the tutelage of the Duke Brothers (actually as part of a bet), becoming a wealthy commodities broker]], Billy Ray Valentine holds a party for his lower-class friends, but he finds he doesn't get along with them anymore, and he has them kicked out.
-->'''[[TheJeeves Coleman]]:''' Your friends seemed to enjoy it, I thought it was a great success.
-->'''Billy Ray:''' They weren't friends. They're a bunch of freeloaders, treating my house like a zoo.

[[folder: Literature ]]
* K.A. Applegate's ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}''
** Rachel in #48 ''The Return''. She has an internal monologue about how she feels isolated and apart even in a crowded school hallway.
** Jake, who can't relate to anyone after the war because they don't know what he's been through.
** Also, Tobias, as he's now a hawk, and since Rachel is dead, he has no more connection to humanity.
** And Ax. The things he's learned on Earth - the willingness to justify your actions to your subordinates, the acceptance of ''vecols'' as members of society - cause him to be seen as strange to other Andalites. Although, by this time, he's enough of a legendary war hero to get away with it.
* Thomas Wolfe's ''You Can't Go Home Again'' has elements of both [[YouCantGoHomeAgain that trope]] and this one.
* Elijah Baley at the end of Creator/IsaacAsimov's second Robot novel, ''Literature/TheNakedSun''. Partially undermined at the beginning of the third novel, as Baley realizes [[spoiler: he's not as foreign to the Cities as he had first believed]].
** He'd spent his entire life there, but his son (and many of the next generation of Earthers) will be.
* Creator/BillBryson's ''I'm A Stranger Here Myself'' (called ''Notes from a Big Country'' outside the U.S.) describes his experiences living in America after 25 years in the U.K. It includes such anecdotes as walking into a hardware store looking for Spackle, and realizing that he had never been a homeowner in his native country before and ''didn't know what the stuff he needed was called'':
--> "Hi, I'm looking for the stuff you use to fill dents in walls. My wife's people call it Polyfilla."
* Creator/LoisMcMasterBujold's ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'':
** In ''Literature/ShardsOfHonor'', Cordelia Naismith of Beta Colony gets hit with this trope, which directly results in her becoming Cordelia Vorkosigan of Barrayar. It probably would have been less awful if she hadn't been [[NotBrainwashed Mistaken For Brainwashed]] at the same time.
** To some extent, Kareen Koudelka returning to Barrayar in ''Literature/ACivilCampaign'' after her year on Beta Colony.
* In Creator/DavidEddings' ''Castle of Wizardry'', the fourth book of ''Literature/TheBelgariad'', the group visits the home farm of TheHero, and he realizes that he's changed so much that he can't really expect to return there after their quest is completed.
* This happens a lot in the works of Creator/WilliamFaulkner, but it's most prevalent in ''Flags in the Dust'', where Bayard has to deal with coming home from WWI when his twin brother...didn't.
* Creator/NeilGaiman's novels ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'' and ''Literature/{{Stardust}}''. In the latter, the protagonist has changed to such a degree that several townspeople can't recognize him, and they treat him with great suspicion.
** Also referenced in the Gaiman poem "Instructions", ''' '' "When you reach the little house, the place your journey started, you will recognize it, although it will seem much smaller than you remember." '' '''
* Griboyedov's ''WoeFromWit'' is all about it.
** ''Literature/TheDeathOfTheVazirMukhtar'', which is about Griboyedov, is all about it too, at least in the first half.
* In Joe Haldeman's novel ''Literature/TheForeverWar'', the main character, a soldier in the war, repeatedly deals with culture shock because, thanks to TimeDilation, time passes more quickly on Earth than it does for him. During the novel, the main character experiences four years, but centuries pass on Earth. WordOfGod says that the novel was inspired by the author's experience of fighting in UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar and then returning home.
** Played to devastating effect with Mandella and Potter's return to Earth after their first tour of duty, during which thirty years have passed on Earth. [[spoiler:Mandella's father is dead; his mother is dying of cancer which TheGovernment's socialized medicine system refuses to treat because she is not worth it, and she has taken a lesbian lover. Potter's parents are forced out of their home for defying government regulations, and end up on an agricultural commune under assumed identities. They are killed by raiders looking for food while Mandella and Potter are staying with them.]] Needless to say, [[ButNowIMustGo the two re-enlist in the Army and get off the planet]].
* At the end of SimonHawke's first ''Literature/TimeWars'' novel, ''The Ivanhoe Gambit'', Lucas is discharged from the [[TimePolice Temporal Corps]] as a reward for his actions. He finds he doesn't fit into 27th Century civilian life any more, and re-enlists at the start of the second book, ''The Timekeeper Conspiracy''.
* Creator/RobertAHeinlein uses this trope in some of his juvenile ScienceFiction, when the protagonist has learned and grown from his (it's almost always a male) experiences, but the people back home have not.
** ''Literature/GloryRoad'': A non-juvenile example. The protagonist eventually returns to his home world after his adventures, finds life too tame (in one example, EternalSexualFreedom is averted), and in effect signs up for another hitch.
** ''Literature/SpaceCadet'': The protagonist, on returning from the [[SpacePolice Patrol's]] BoardingSchool on leave, has it brought home forcefully to him that his family is deeply ignorant of the realities of space travel and the [[SpacePolice Patrol]], and that they don't want to change any of their ideas.
** ''Literature/TunnelInTheSky'': The protagonist's parents became {{Human Popsicle}}s not long after he left for his final exam in Survival (a prerequisite for all of the professions connected with space exploration and colonization), because his father had an illness that ''just'' outside the current medical state-of-the-art's ability to cure. When he finally comes home some years later (the exam went bad in a big way), his parents can't quite wrap their heads around the fact that he's legally of age. (He was just shy of it when he took the exam, for which he had to get his legal guardian's permission. Fortunately, his parents had already made his big sister his guardian in preparation for their entry into cryogenic stasis, and she was in favor, so signed permission.)
* Creator/{{Homer}}'s ''Literature/TheOdyssey''. In this case, a spell was actually placed on the land so that Odysseus wouldn't recognize his homeland until he asked someone where he was.
* In Creator/DianaWynneJones's novel ''Literature/TheHomewardBounders'', [[spoiler:Jamie jumps to modern-day Earth after having walked the bounds for some years...and discovers that it's actually his own homeworld, just a hundred years on, and the boy he's made friends with is actually his own great-nephew.]] Heck, [[spoiler:Him deciding that modern day London wasn't Home anymore was a major plot point.]]
* Creator/AndreNorton examples, often involving a RipVanWinkle situation:
** The short story "The Long Night of Waiting": Two nineteenth century kids were accidentally swept into AnotherDimension through a CoolGate. They returned to find that [[RipVanWinkle roughly ten years]] had passed for every day they spent on the other side, and it was now the late twentieth century. They went back through the CoolGate, since it was closer to the life they were used to and they now had some friends there.
** ''Literature/AndroidAtArms'': Several important persons from various species and cultures awaken on a PrisonPlanet and learn that they have been kidnapped, and apparently kept as {{Human Popsicle}}s and replaced with {{Ridiculously Human Robot}}s. It is established right away, from the most recent dates each can remember, that for some of them many years have passed, and ''all'' of them were abducted in the midst of time-critical situations. The protagonist (one of the more recent abductees) returns home to find that years have passed, and that his double is now in charge.
** ''Literature/DreadCompanion'': A governess and her charges go through a CoolGate and return to a RipVanWinkle situation.
** ''Judgement on Janus'': After recovering from the Green Sick, Ashla attempts to contact her beloved younger sister, but learns that the physiological and psychological changes wrought by the illness are such that her sister no longer recognizes her, and that she cannot see her old home as home anymore.
* For that matter, Rip Van Winkle himself in the Washington Irving story of the same name.
* A recurring theme in the works of K.J. Parker. Parker ''loves'' to deconstruct the "local boy comes home and makes good" cliche.
* In ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' ending, this happens to all of the hobbits in varying degrees. Frodo has the most problems with the "happily ever after" part, although Pippin and Merry also have trouble with staying in the Shire for long, and in the end they spend their last years with Aragorn in Minas Tirith. Sam is the only one who seems to fully fit in again, but after his wife dies, he follows in Frodo's footsteps and sails away to the Undying Lands in the True West. [[http://spontaneousderivation.com/2010/10/09/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-in-fiction-part-2-babylon-5-and-lotr/ Some fans]] believe Frodo had PTSD. Tolkien was a veteran of UsefulNotes/WorldWarI.
* For that matter, ''Literature/TheHobbit'' hints at the same problem for Bilbo, and the opening of ''{{The Lord of the Rings}}'' even more so. His experiences with the Dwarves and Smaug ensured he never quite fit in with the hobbits again, and when he abandoned the Ring, he left the Shire for good, living the rest of his life with the Elves. First in Rivendell, later in Valinor.
* The Sebastion Barry UsefulNotes/WorldWarI era novel ''A Long Long Way'' uses both the changed protagonist and changed home themes. The hero is an Irish soldier on the Western Front who returns on leave to find Ireland utterly altered by revolution.
* Creator/TimothyZahn's ''Literature/TheCobraTrilogy'' deals with a group of cybernetically-augmented soldiers who meet with trouble when the war is won and they try to go home (partly because the changes include [[DamnYouMuscleMemory unalterable reflex actions]]); the first installment was a story ironically entitled "When Jonny Comes Marching Home."
* In ''Literature/AllQuietOnTheWesternFront'', written by UsefulNotes/WorldWarI survivor Erich Maria Remarque (see the pattern here?), the main character Paul Baeumer visits his home to find that he actually longs for the front. In a letter to his mother, he writes that it "now feels like I am really returning home".
* In ''Literature/TheDemonata'' by Darren Shan, the second book ends with Kernel returning home...however, due to time running differently in the [[AlwaysChaoticEvil the Demonata's]] universe, his parents had accepted his and his [[spoiler: magically-transformed not-in-any-way-a]] brother's deaths years ago, and in the end he leaves again.
* Happens twice in Shan's [[Literature/TheSagaOfDarrenShan first series]]. The first is when, in book eight, Darren returns to a city he met his first girlfriend in, but doesn't fit in (though it's implied that 1. the city isn't in the same country that Darren is from, due to the accents school students use 2. when he's going back to school, as a fifteen-year-old, when the last time he was in school was the age of twelve, i.e. fifteen years ago, he ends up looking like an idiot. Plus, being a vampire prince who has spent almost a decade doing vampire-y things probably hasn't helped him fit in to humanity well.)
** The second is in book eleven: Darren goes to his own hometown and sees his sister and other people, and decides it's better to not get involved in the lives of his former family and friends. Still, that doesn't stop the villains...
* Teppic in ''Discworld/{{Pyramids}}'', who finds it difficult getting used to the ways of Djelibeybi after being educated in Ankh-Morpork, and at one point refers to Ankh as "where I come from". In fact, he's the TropeNamer:
-->Teppic stared at him and thought "I am a stranger in a familiar land."
** Comes up a number of times in the books. The oft-quote reply is "you can't cross the same river twice".
--->'''Ridcully:''' Why not? This is a ''bridge''.
::: Another involves experiments with long-legged wizards and small rivers.
** An early book mentions that wizards often relish the chance to go home again... and meet every bully who wronged them, and get some magical payback.
* Brian from the ''Hatchet'' series, after being forced to survive in the woods decides the woods are better when he goes home.
* ''Literature/TheCountOfMonteCristo'': Edmond Dantes spent nearly fifteen years locked away on a prison island. Even though the point of his ruse as The Count was that none of his targets would know who he was till their end, even Mercedes has trouble recognizing him at first glance. It doesn't take her long to see through it, but nobody else does.
* ''[[Literature/LandOfOz Oz series]]'': Ironically, Dorothy Gale fell to this trope. The longer she stayed in Oz, the harder it was to go back to Kansas. Eventually, instead of having to choose between Em and Henry in Kansas and the wonders of Oz, she [[TakeAThirdOption brought Em and Henry to Oz]], where Ozma set them up with a little patch of farmland in Munchkin Country.
* ''Literature/{{Moonraker}}''. Literature/JamesBond experiences this while in the posh gentleman's club Blades, imagining that his work as a ProfessionalKiller has somehow made him 'un-English' and that the other club members can perceive this.
* Happens to Graystripe twice in the ''Literature/WarriorCats'' series - once when [[spoiler:he comes back to [=ThunderClan=] after having left to raise his kits in [=RiverClan=] (where their mother had lived)]], and once [[spoiler:when he is captured by Twolegs and is thought to be dead for over a year]]. Both times, though, it eventually fades away.
** Also happens to [[spoiler:Hollyleaf, when she returns after a year of having been thought of as dead, and then is instantly revealed to her Clanmates as a murderer (though her family covers for her, claiming Ashfur attacked her.)]]
* Happens three times in ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy''. At the end of ''Literature/TheRestaurantAtTheEndOfTheUniverse'', Arthur arrives home on Earth a few million years in the past and remains stranded in a cave for several years. In ''Literature/SoLongAndThanksForAllTheFish'', he arrives again to find the present-day Earth exactly as it was before the Vogons destroyed it, save for the absence of any dolphins, and then again in ''Literature/MostlyHarmless'', he he travels to the sector where the Earth was only to find a ''CrapsackWorld'' by the name of Now What, with identical continents and extremely violent wildlife.
* In Creator/JohnHemry's ''Literature/TheLostFleet'' novel ''Invicible'', Duellos talks with Geary about how he got this when on leave. Geary, having been asleep for the last 100 years, dwells on the subject several times while trying to get the fleet home, knowing full well he just won't fit in even on his home planet anymore.
* One of the In-Universe folktales from ''Literature/WatershipDown'', ''El-ahrairah and the Black Rabbit of Inle'', El-ahrairah returns from his adventure to find that full generations of rabbits have come and gone since he left and no one is left in his warren who remembers him or appreciates what his generation has done. There's a clear soldier-returning-from-the-war symbolism here as well.
* At least two occasions in the Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse deal with Luke Skywalker going back to Tatooine and seeing his old friends. [[YouCantGoHomeAgain He can't go home]] and his closest friends, Biggs Darklighter and Janek Sunber, have left and died, but he has some others. However, he was always kind of strange, by their standards, and none of them ever want to get out into the galaxy - returning, he has even less in common with them than before.
** In ''Rebel Force'' he has to confront the fact that they just aren't inclined to believe any of his stories - the 'Wormie' kid they always derided for being an unrealistically big dreamer doesn't impress them. Leia has to bully and berate them into helping him, and he sees that they're more willing to think of ''her'' as someone amazing than they are to think of him. By then it's really sunk in that they will never really like him, and he thinks she's amazing too, so he's content to sit back.
** During ComicBook/MarvelStarWars, while he's there one of his old friends ''sells him out'' and tells him out of guilt before he can be ambushed, then defensively says that he doesn't know what it's like, trying to make it on Tatooine.
* Happens at the end of ''Literature/DeGoudenDolk'' (The Golden Dagger), an adventure novel by Thea Beckman. After spending years of fighting in the second crusade, protagonist Jiri Rambor finds life in his old village boring and uneventful after his return.
* In Lovecraft's story ''The Lurking Fear'' we learn about a man named Jan Martense, who after 6 years in the army and exploring the world did no longer fit in with his isolated and xenophobic family.
* Reggie goes through this when he returns to the family manor in ''Literature/PhoenixAndAshes'' after being in the front lines of UsefulNotes/WorldWarI.
* In Creator/HarryTurtledove's ''[[Literature/{{Worldwar}} Homeward Bound]]'', this happens to the Yeagers (Sam, Jonathan, and Karen) after the FTL-capable ''Commodore Perry'' brings them back to Earth 30 years after they depart on the SleeperStarship ''Admiral Peary'' for Home. This is also the case for members of the Race who have spent any lengthy period on Earth, as the lizards are not used to change (their empire having remained largely unchanged for the past 50,000 years).
** It's mentioned that members of the Race have a support group of sorts for those who have travelled the stars.
* Margaret Hale from ''Literature/NorthAndSouth'', on returning to her hometown after an absence of three years.
* This happens in the Creator/StrugatskyBrothers' Franchise/NoonUniverse with astronauts leaving on relativistic trips to other stars. One returning astronaut hooks up with a girl after coming back, who finds it weird that people used to cook for themselves instead of going out to eat every day. Nobody has a kitchen in their home anymore, apparently, although the astronaut orders an automated kitchen only to accidentally get his neighbor's washer/dryer.
* In Creator/MikhailAkhmanov and Christopher Nicholas Gilmore's ''Literature/CaptainFrenchOrTheQuestForParadise'', the titular character's backstory involves feeling this way after his historic relativistic flight to Alpha Centauri back in the 21st century (the events of the novel take place 20,000 years later). The original mission plan was to survey the system and return to Earth with a detailed report. Instead, French chooses to send a brief report via radio and continue to other star systems before finally returning home. However, his ex-wife and daughter are long-dead by that point (they would've been alive if he'd returned as planned), and everyone treats him as a hero. The success of the new drive system results in government-operated space programs shutting down and private enterprises taking over. French ends up a hero without a job or any family or friends he recognizes. He finally decides that enough is enough when his ship is about to be sold at an auction. He absconds with the ship and sets course for the first extrasolar colony, pioneering space trade.
* In ''Literature/TheSatanicVerses'' Saladin Chamcha experiences this on a brief visit to his home in Mumbai, having spent most of his life in England.
* Irene Kampen[[note]]best known for ''Life Without George'', the book that became ''Series/TheLucyShow''[[/note]] got a taste of this and wrote about it in ''Due To Lack of Interest Tomorrow Has Been Cancelled''[[note]]an environmental slogan from the 60s, referring to a predicted "[[GlobalWarming complete environmental breakdown]]"[[/note]]. Her AuthorAvatar left college in 1943, and returned to complete her degree in [[TheSixties 1969]]. Her old dorm is now the Creator/AynRand Co-Educational and Residential Eating Co-operative House, her old church is now a fish-shaped monstrosity on the far side of town with screeching liturgical music by a folk rock band called the Risen Dead, and people greet each other with "Good love everywhere". She adapts, after a fashion, and even writes a bit of graffiti ("Gaudeamus Igitur") on the construction fence before leaving.
* Deconstructed in ''Literature/EastOfEden''. Seeing Lee's struggles in trying to fit in, Sam Hamilton suggests perhaps he might go " back" to China. Lee reminds him that he was born in Grass Valley, CA, grew up in California, and went to University of California, and he DID try going to China, only to find that he fit in less there than he did in the States because things changed so much since his father's time.
* In ''Literature/{{Uprooted}}'', the wizard-lord known as the Dragon picks one girl from the surrounding villages to be his companion for ten years, after which they are free to go. They come back in fine clothes with fine manners and a generous dowry (enough to overcome the assumption that they must be DefiledForever). But they never stay more than a month. Part of it is from the ten years in isolation, but they've also forgotten how to live near the malevolent Wood without being afraid of it. [[spoiler:This is because the magical effects of drinking from the Spindle river's watershed have faded.]]
* Creator/JoWalton has a short story, "[[http://www.strangehorizons.com/2000/20001023/relentlessly_mundane.shtml Relentlessly Mundane]]". Three college kids spent a year fighting evil in a magical world. That was fifteen years ago, and they're still existing in a painful SoWhatDoWeDoNow situation, alienated and heartbroken with its loss.
* Barbara Newhall Follett's novel ''Lost Island'' ends this way, with Jane's unwanted rescue. Follett wrote two endings, both terribly depressing, but in both Jane is determined that she will "stage another rebellion" in the future.
-->She was conscious that a few floating ragged streamers of rainbow still clung about her. She must carefully strip them off now, and put them into the trash-basket. In a few minutes it would be time to sally out to work. And you couldn’t go to a respectable job in a bookstore with rainbow rags drifting about your shoulders, or star-dust in your hair . . .
* Tom Hauptmann gets a huge dose of this after time-traveling via TheSlowPath in ''Literature/CallahansCrosstimeSaloon''. He was imprisoned for a decade in a South American dictatorship. When he gets home, he has to deal with all of the accumulated cultural upheavals of the 60s at once -- and it's an added challenge for him as he started out as a priest.
* One of the characters in ''Literature/DebtOfHonor'' is Chester "Chet" Nomuri, a fourth-generation Japanese American serving as a CIA field officer in Japan. His narration comments several times on how different his ancestral homeland is from his place of birth.
* This is the premise of the novel ''Literature/BackHome'': an English girl who was evacuated and sent to America during World War II returns to England after five years and experiences culture shock.
* Eragon from ''Literature/TheInheritanceCycle'' decided that, after all the adventure and glories he'd enjoyed as a dragonrider, he can no longer settle back as a farmer in Carvahall. In fact, he decided to leave the continent altogether to train a new generation of riders.
* ''Literature/EveryHeartADoorway'': A story about children who go other, fantastical, worlds and adapt, and then they face this trope if they return:
--> An Underworld ... [t]hat ... was accessed by walking through [[MagicMirror a special mirror]], [[{{Lunacy}} under the full moon]]. The girl we lost to that world was home for the holidays when the door opened for her a second time. Her mother broke the glass after she went through. We learned later that the mother had also been there—it was a generational portal—and had wanted to spare her daughter the pain of returning.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/ThirtyRock'' plays this for laughs when Tracy tries to make his act more current by going out among the people to try and reconnect with his roots.
-->'''Tracy'' ''(in the middle of New York City)'': Does anybody want to be my friend?
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Theon's fellow ironborn reject him for living on the mainland for ten years. He goes to great lengths to prove himself to them, but it only eats away at his sanity and ruins his life.
** Upon his return to King's Landing, Jaime immediately feels out of place after everything he's been through. On top of that, while his return would have been huge news, no one even recognizes him due to how different he looks. Cersei almost immediately notices his less cocky, more contemplative demeanor (along with his missing hand).
* Teal'c in ''Series/StargateSG1'', at times when he briefly returns to Chulak.
* On ''Series/BoardwalkEmpire'', Jimmy Darmody and Richard Harrow both return from the First World War and have trouble fitting in to peacetime life, both ending up in the bootlegging trade.
* Sam Tyler in ''Series/{{Life On Mars|2006}}'', who finds himself [[spoiler:unable to readjust to life in the present, after waking up from his coma, to the point that he doesn't notice any pain when he cuts his hand open, and ends up committing suicide to return to the life he had in 1973.]]
%%* Richard Mayhew in ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}''.
* The castaways of ''Series/GilligansIsland'' were returned to civilization in the 1978 reunion movie ''Rescue from Gilligan's Island.'' The Skipper, unable to get an insurance settlement unless the passengers of the "Minnow" attest that the shipwreck was not his fault, travels with Gilligan to visit everyone. They find that returning to normal life has not been easy for their friends. Ginger is upset that raunchy movies have replaced the glamorous ones from her time, the Professor's inventions have been created in his absence (and he's being pressured to spend all his time raising funds for the university), the Howells have moved beyond their wealthy society friends and Mary Ann has outgrown her fiance.
* Rose Tyler from ''Series/DoctorWho'' [[spoiler:after the Doctor tricks her into going home to save her from certain death.]] Also his former companion Sarah-Jane Smith, who complains about how hard it was just waking up every day and knowing she'd never see the grandeur of space again.
** It is even more prominent with Donna. It only took one adventure with the Doctor, maybe for about an hour, for her to get hooked. While she declines to become his companion, she soon regrets it and goes looking for him to see if the offer still stands.
** This trope seems to be pretty widespread, as it's a recurring theme in the new series that you can't just go back to normal life like nothing had happened. However, this leaves the ex-companions as quite a badass force in protecting the Earth when the Daleks return.
* Odo in ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' - spends years trying to find the race from whom he was parted as an infant, and then when he finally does find them, they're the enemy of everything he holds dear.
** After being an exile for the entire series, the series finale has Garak finally able to stand on Cardassia without fear of being arrested or killed. [[spoiler:Only now that the Dominion has bombed the crap out of the planet and its government is in shambles, Cardassia is no longer the Cardassia he left, and when it does get back on its feet it will be a completely new Cardassia. Garak hates the irony of it.]]
* In ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'', [[RaisedByNatives Worf]] finds that his humorless dedication to honor and duty has little to do with how Klingons in the Empire conduct themselves.
-->'''Worf:''' Klingons do ''not'' laugh.\\
'''Guinan:''' Oh, yes they do! Absolutely they do! '''''You''''' don't, but I've heard Klingon belly laughs that'd curl your hair!
* ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise''. The episode "Home" is a BreatherEpisode showing what happens after Enterprise returns from saving Earth in the previous season. Captain Archer and Subcommander T'Pol in particular find it difficult to adapt to the expected norms. Earth too has changed, with increased hostility towards aliens that becomes a plot point later in the series.
* Happens more than a few times in ''Series/TheTwilightZone'':
** In one episode, a man takes his bride-to-be back to his hometown, which is slightly different than he remembered it. No one recognizes him. Someone else is living in the family home. He finds out he's [[spoiler: a robot]].
** In another episode, a man wakes up after a night of drinking. When the woman next to him wakes up, she has no idea who he is, although he insists he's her husband. He spends the rest of the episode trying to prove who he is. In the end, [[spoiler: he finds that he exists again, only his wife looks completely different]].
* When Adrian Series/{{Monk}} gets re-instated with the SFPD he finds that just about nothing is familiar.
* John in ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' when they finally get back to Earth in season 4. It's a combination of the world changing (his father points out 9/11 as a reason why countries can't cooperate the way John wants) and John being a completely different person due to his travels. This is partly why he leaves with Moya again, the other part being that Earth is in danger if he's there (and even when he's not, it turns out).
* Lucius Vorenus in ''Series/{{Rome}}'' returns to his home and his family after being away for 7 years on military service. He found it difficult to re-adjust to civilian life while kept getting in conflict with his wife. Things got better for him, [[spoiler: though not for long]].
* ''Series/OnceUponATime'': Most of the characters either had [[IdentityAmnesia fake lives]] in Storybrooke or were frozen but conscious in the Enchanted Forest. [[Literature/SleepingBeauty Aurora]] was in her DeepSleep for the entire length of the curse, so she has no idea how to handle the new, curse-ravaged forest, and she doesn't have the extra twenty-eight years of experience like her (fellow fairytale) companions.
* The pilot of ''Series/{{Defiance}}'' starts with a boy looking up as the Votan ships are descending to Earth. Fast-forward 33 years to an AfterTheEnd partially-terraformed Earth with humans and the Votan races attempting to coexist. The protagonist, Nolan, arrives to a town called Defiance built atop the ruins of St. Louis (the Arch is still there). The ending of the pilot reveals that Nolan was the boy, and he was born and raised in St. Louis.
* Towards the end of the second season of ''Series/AgentsOfShield'', Skye's father takes her to his home town of Milwaukee. He talks about all the things he had planned to do with her had circumstances allowed him to raise her there as he had originally planned before they were separated while she was in infancy. Then it comes out that the last time he had spent more than a few days at a stretch in his home town was before he met Skye's mother (and Skye is ''twenty-six''). The first disconnect was when he realized that his favorite bakery was now a currency exchange.
* Strangely averted in ''Series/IronFist''. American Danny Rand is caught in a plane crash in the Himalayas at age ten and spends the next fifteen years living in a extra-dimensional monastery. When he returns to New York he seems to have no issues re-adapting, even able to deal with situations that he would have previously been too young for (such as driving) or with high level technology that would not have existed at the time (such as smart phones).
* On ''Series/TheAmericans'' this is responsible for a lot of the disconnect between Philip and Elizabeth, Soviet spies living in America. Philip recognizes that the decades he spent in America not only changed him but also changed his home country. If he ever goes back, he will not fit in and might not like the country the Soviet Union has become. Elizabeth is more of a zealot and refuses to consider this, holding on to an idealized vision of the Soviet Union that never really existed. As the show's timeline approaches TheGreatPoliticsMessUp, this conflict escalates with Philip giving up on the spy game and fully settling into his American life while Elizabeth becomes more fanatical in her views.

* The theme of "The Way Life's Meant To Be" by the Music/ElectricLightOrchestra, from their album ''Time.'' Done with the assistance of TimeTravel.
* Music/SonataArctica's "Replica" has a ShellShockedVeteran returning home from the war and not being able to live his own life anymore.
* The Charlie Daniels Band song "Still in Saigon" tells of a ShellShockedVeteran who has returned home from [[UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar Vietnam]], and has flashbacks to his Vietnam service triggered by otherwise ordinary events.
* The Atlanta Rhythm Section's "Homesick" is about the "native son of a foreign land" who's "lost in yesterday".
* Paul Williams knows that this is what he would be in "Where Do I Go From Here":
--> ''If I knew the way I'd go back home\\
But the countryside has changed so much I'd surely end up lost
--> Half remembering names and faces
--> So far in the past
--> On the other side of bridges that were burned once they were crossed''
* In "The House That Built Me" by Music/MirandaLambert has the narrator has come back to her childhood home in order to find herself, but the home itself is now owned by someone else. She asks the woman living there if she can come inside and relive some memories.
* Comes up in a lot of songs by Bruce Springsteen, particularly "Long Walk Home".
* Music/{{Keane}}'s "The Boys" (ironically on the album titled ''Strangeland'') nearly states it word for word:
--> ''"We did some things we didn't understand''
--> ''And now we feel like strangers in our own land"''
* Music/SocialDistortion 's "Story Of My Life":
--> And I went down to my old neighborhood
--> The faces have all changed, there's no one left to talk to
--> And the pool hall I loved as a kid
--> Is now a Seven Eleven
* Alluded to in the Music/AlStewart song "On the Border":
--> In the village where I grew up
--> Nothing seems the same
--> Still you never see the change from day to day
--> And no-one notices the customs slip away

[[folder:Other Sites]]
* ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'', [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-1272 SCP-1272 ("Slow-Motion Catastrophe")]]. When the SCP teams that were sent inside SCP-1272 finally emerge centuries later, they are expected to experience readjustment shock, including wondering what has happened to their relatives (who are probably all long dead).

[[folder:Religion and Mythology]]
* In Literature/TheBible, after the Babylonian exile.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* A major theme in the ''Underground'' roleplaying game from Mayfair Games. A Player Character begins as he's discharged from service as a genetically enhanced warrior conditioned to think of himself like an ultraviolent superhero, into a decaying ruins of American culture with civilians who fear and hate them and a corrupt and totalitarian government (an intentional reference to the state of Vietnam veterans coming home after the Vietnam War).
* In ''TabletopGame/ChangelingTheLost'', every Changeling is a former human who was kidnapped into the LandOfFaerie and transformed by their time there. After escaping, they often find that the world has changed in their absence -- some some of them have been gone for [[FishOutOfTemporalWater several decades]], even if their time in Arcadia [[YearOutsideHourInside wasn't that long]] -- to say nothing of their own new powers and insight into the supernatural world. Even when YouCantGoHomeAgain doesn't apply, trying to return to their old lives usually ends awfully for them and the {{Muggles}} around them.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The original ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}''. Though perhaps in this case, it's not so much [[spoiler:the Vault Dweller himself that has the problem, it's the Overseer telling him he could inspire some of the younger Vault dwellers to leave themselves, so the PlayerCharacter has to leave for the good of the community. If you have negative karma (possible) or the otherwise entirely useless "Bloody Mess" trait (you always see the most gruesome death animations) you are given the option to shoot him in the face at that point. Otherwise you leave quietly.]]
** Lampshaded in the sequel, ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'', where [[spoiler:GirlNextDoor and possibly {{High School Sweetheart|s}} Amata calls the Lone Wanderer back to help her into stopping an outright civil war in their community, then, quoting almost verbatim the Overseer from Fallout, blames the civil war on him, banishing the Lone Wanderer forever. Owing to the sandbox quality of the modern Fallout games, you can still shoot her in the face]]
*** At least, if [[spoiler: Amata's dad, the Overseer]] is killed. If [[spoiler: he instead is talked down, not only is the nigh-verbatim quote from the Vault Dweller's Overseer left unsaid, but Amata's phrasing indicates that she herself doesn't blame the Lone Wanderer for the civil war -- she just believes that ''others'' do, and that the Wanderer's presence will keep wounds open and increase tensions at a time when stability is critical for the Vault]].
** This is effectively the plot in Fallout4: Vault 111's theme was cryogenics research, and the player character was used as a test subject for over 210 years. When they come back to their hometown just a mile away, it's destroyed beyond restoration and has to be scrapped to do any good. Even then, some of their friends and family survived... but most of them have been changed by the wasteland, most importantly [[spoiler:their son, who was raised by MadScientist isolationists and has been terrorizing the wasteland in a well-meaning attempt to save the best of humanity (who are literally detached from the outside world and not exactly going anywhere in their progress). Also, even if you support him, he has stage-three cancer; bringing him back with superscience would REALLY warp his mind into something irredeemable, so he's a dead man.]]
%%* 3 in ''VideoGame/ThreeInThree''.
* Link in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime''. After being in limbo for 7 years he's grown up only to find that all his friends haven't. Turns out he's a different species to them anyway. They don't recognize him and many of them actually miss the child Link that left. Link seems to decide not to tell them (though Mido might know).
** Also the start of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask''. Unable to cope with the memories of his future self and saving the world after the reset, he left everything he knew in Kokiri Forest to find Navi again.
* In ''VideoGame/JakIIRenegade'', Jak and Daxter [[spoiler:are in their old homeland only hundreds of years in the future. This actually turns out to be Jak's real time as the whole game revolves around making sure his younger self gets sent back in time to help fulfill [[YouAlreadyChangedThePast The Prophecy]].]]
* ''Franchise/DragonAge'':
** The original ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' had a mild example, or at least one that's not drawn as much attention to: if you befriended Sten and speak to him after defeating the Archdemon, he'll suggest that Seheron might not be quite the same to him as it would have been, since your adventures have changed his view of the world somewhat. This is ''especially'' true if your Warden is a female mage, since Qunari believe [[StayInTheKitchen women are not competent warriors]] and [[AntiMagicalFaction mages aren't even people]], and you've just killed ''both'' of those ideas. [[WordOfGod His writer Mary Kirby]] says he may even have had to spend some time with the [[CulturePolice Ben-Hassrath]] for all the strange ideas he's picked up (though ''ComicBook/ThoseWhoSpeak'' shows he's reintegrated pretty well, if [[spoiler:being promoted to Arishok]] is any indication). If you didn't befriend him, he'll just be happy to be able to go home and get away from Ferelden's strangeness.
** ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'': All that's left of what Hawke's mother had in Kirkwall is a bitter brother to remind her of what she'd lost. When Aveline asks Hawke about returning to Lothering, he/she can reply that it's no longer home.
* ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'' has an odd example. Within the first half hour, the hero gets sucked into an alternate dimension where he died as a child and everything's different...except that the next 20 hours of the game are in Another World and it takes that long to gain the ability to return to Home World. The player never really gets the opportunity to explore Home until then. Serge is a HeroicMime, so we don't know his thoughts on this, but meta-wise this trope is in force for the player. However, since the first time you get to properly explore it is after [[spoiler:getting body swapped with your nemesis Lynx, who is feared throughout the land]], its something of an example for him as well.
* Prince Keifer in ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVII''. He had a fantastic adventure TrappedInAnotherWorld in a spinoff game years earlier, and ever since then has been struck with a lust for adventure and wandering which proves quite problematic for somebody trapped in palace life in a world with only a single, perfectly peaceful and rather small island. To say that he JumpedAtTheCall is an understatement; the only reason anybody ''found'' the call is because he spent the years between the spinoff and the game proper going over the island with a fine-toothed comb for something interesting.
* ''VideoGame/BaldursGate2'' has an example of this in the epilogue for one of the characters: [[spoiler:Imoen briefly returns to Candlekeep, but finds it smaller than she remembers, and goes on to adventure with various other famous heroes in the setting.]]
* Invoked in ''VideoGame/{{Bloodborne}}'': You're tasked with defeating the spawn of the Old Gods so that you can get out of the EldritchLocation you're stuck in and go home... but you might learn too much. The more "Insight" you obtain, the more your character comes to understand a smidgen about how these incomprehensible beings work and gain ThroughTheEyesOfMadness. Your character may become enthralled by the pursuit of occult knowledge, or fearful that these creatures will devour humanity if they are not hunted down and chased out of the universe. If you choose to stay after your quest is done, Gehrman decides to mercy-kill you because only a madman would willingly continue to murder and be murdered by an endless slew of {{Eldritch Abomination}}s while they are subjected to daily MindRape. In the ending where you don't, it's revealed that you were adventuring in your home town all along; just in astral form and subject to YourMindMakesItReal eldritch vision.
* In ''VideoGame/LifeIsStrange'', Max feels this way after returning to her home town to attend a finishing school 5 years after moving away. Not only doesn't she know anyone too well (mainly staying in her room, and barely getting to know her dorm-mates), but she's too afraid to contact her former best friend Chloe (because of the guilt of failing to stay in contact after the death of her dad, who Max was also close to). As much of the game is spent showing her rediscovering the town and reconnecting with Chloe (now a rebellious, blue haired TheLaddette stoner, although just as energetic as she remembers) as investigating the supernatural happenings.

* In ''WebcomicQuentynQuinnSpaceRanger'', thanks to temporal dilation, quirks in various forms of FTL travel, gravity wells and other {{Negative Space Wedgie}}s, it's essentially the default outcome for all members of the Space Ranger Corps.
* Hudson in ''Webcomic/TheLydianOption'' attributes his return to the frontiers of space to a feeling that he was an outcast after human rights protests against actions he participated in during the Spiral War.
* In ''Webcomic/NoRestForTheWicked'', [[http://www.forthewicked.net/archive/03-71.html after their rescue, the children still realize their father abandoned them deliberately, and are giving him wary looks in the midst of the embrace.]]
* At the end of ''Webcomic/{{Inverloch}}'', [[spoiler:Kayn'dar recovers his identity and reveals that he's capable of healing Severed elves. Lei'ella, who was exiled when she was a preteen, finds that she's long since accepted mortality and doesn't want to tacitly support the people who exiled her by erasing what made her different, so she stays as she is and joins human society with Varden]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* This happened to [[spoiler:Adam Dodd]] when he finally arrived back home after winning season one of ''Roleplay/SurvivalOfTheFittest''. He eventually moved across the country as part of his attempt to cope with his experiences on the island.
* The amateur film [[WebVideo/MarbleHornets Alex Kralie]] wanted to make was about this trope. It soon became apparent that he had [[Franchise/TheSlenderManMythos bigger concerns]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'' episode "Buster's Back", Buster Baxter returns to Elwood after traveling with his father, a pilot. When he came back, a lot of things had changed, including his friends loving a clown show they all hated before he left.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' has this as the theme of the series finale ("Things Change"). After spending most of the season on the road in a HeroesUnlimited plot, they come home to find all their favourite stores are gone and a monster the likes of which they've never seen is on the loose. Oh, and [[spoiler: there's a dead ringer for Terra wandering around who wants nothing to do with the hero life.]]
* Zuko lives this trope for the first half of Season 3 of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender''. While it wasn't exactly his home, Aang was rather alienated by the changes made to the Northern Air Temple so refugees could move in, but came to accept that it's their home now.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'', it is revealed that Green Lantern's greatest fear is that this has happened to him, and that he's become nothing more than an extension of his ring.
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' where a man was frozen in ice for [[spoiler:three]] years and can't adjust to life in 1999.
** He even can't go back to his wife, as she is now happy with her new husband and [[RuleOfFunny their 8 and 13 year old sons]].
* WesternAnimation/{{Garfield|AndFriends}} once found the now abandoned restaurant where he was born and found out his mother and her family still live there but he no longer fits.
* ''90 Day Wondering'', a Creator/WarnerBros [[WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes cartoon]] sponsored by the U.S. Army is about a soldier who returns home to civilian life and finds that his old friends are nowhere to be found, all of the girls that he knew are now married and off the market and that there's no place for him in his hometown anymore, so he decides to reenlist.
* Pretty much the upshot of the WorldHealingWave in ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated''. After all, what good are mystery solvers in a town without mysteries? Fortunately, Creator/HarlanEllison shows up to give them purpose in their lives again.
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' has Lapis, who in her debut used the world's oceans to try and build a pillar to return to her home planet. [[spoiler:After Steven heals her gem, she regains her wings and is finally able fly back to her home. But when she does, she finds that Homeworld has exponentially changed in the 5,000 years she was gone. Homeworld had advanced too far for Lapis to the point of her being unable to fit in.]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Very notably, explorer Marco Polo experienced this. He left home at 17 to explore Asia with his father and uncle and didn't return for almost 25 years. He barely spoke his own language anymore and of the family that was still alive, most of them thought he was already dead or didn't recognize him.
* This is the origin of the common expression, "You can't go home again." Your "home" will change in your absence and will never be quite the same as you remember.
* Returning military veterans (not just [[ShellShockedVeteran combat vets]]) often feel this way when they separate from active duty. It's not a coincidence so many of the Literature examples above were by veterans. One [=WWI=] song fits the emotion: " “How Ya Gonna To Keep 'Em Down On The Farm? (After They've Seen Paree?)”
** This can apply among personnel who aren't separating or retiring, but just coming home for a visit after joining the military. Even after a boot camp that may only last 2-3 months at most, they find that the experience has changed their outlook so much that they feel a definite disconnect with people they know. They're not interested in hanging out with their buddies all night drinking, because getting arrested for a drunk and disorderly now has ''serious'' consequences when your commander or first sergeant finds out. Their worldview has changed, so now they may or may not agree with the opinions of friends or family members. The list goes on and on...
* Similarly, prison inmates, especially those that were in long enough that modern technology has changed the landscape since they went in (automobiles, computers, etc.)
* People who emigrate to another country will get this feeling after returning to their original country after many years. The language and customs have changed enough that you have a hard time communicating even if you are still a fluent speaker.
** Potentially taken UpToEleven if: a) their home country is not known to be embracing diversity/individualism; and/or b) the person lived abroad during their childhood years.
* Step 1: Go to college. Step 2: Graduate, drop out, or transfer. Step 3: Wait two/three years. Step 4: Come back and watch as you recognize barely ''anyone''.
** Alternatively, if you attend college well away from where you grew up: Step 1: Go to college. Step 2: Graduate. Step 3: Return to your home town.
** This was one of the reasons for the decline (and eventual abandonment) of many of Newfoundland's tiny outport villages: kids went away to school in larger communities, and after working and living there for a while had no interest in returning to an isolated existence.
* Some colleges actually put together pamphlets and other resources to help exchange students cope with "reverse culture shock" or "reverse homesickness." When a student spends a semester abroad, it's often enough for them to put down a certain amount of roots, so when they come back home, they miss it. A semester is also enough for some major changes to happen: this troper came home after half a year to find her street was turned into a one-way street, there's a new roundabout nearby, half of the city is dug around for a new freeway and [[BreadEggsMilkSquick her parents divorced]].
* Taken UpToEleven when the Jews came to settle in what eventually became Israel. Now just imagine what might happen if the Roma people ever decide to go back to Punjab...
* Another college example: coming from a lower-class background. Over time, trips back home will become more and more alienating as you no longer quite fit with the people around you.
* This can happen if a DisappearedDad or MissingMom makes a sudden return.
* Modern communication technology has changed this somewhat, but visiting home in a rural area after being in a more urban environment for a period of time, for whatever reason, often caused this: you often don't even have minor things like ''popular entertainment'' in common anymore. Before satellite TV and radio and widespread internet connectivity, people at "home" wouldn't have had as many options to be exposed to different genres of music, TV shows, and movies.
* Anyone who manages to wake up after spending a long time in a coma or vegetative state.
* This is likely to be the case for anyone who goes on an extended space mission. For example, a round trip between Earth and Mars would take at least 26 months with modern technology. Unless we somehow manage to [[FTLTravel break the light barrier]], a journey to the closest stars would last many years. Add to that the effects of time dilation, which would make the passengers age much slower than the people back on Earth.[[note]] One variation of the twins paradox describes one twin going on a ship travelling at light speed while the other stays on Earth. The twin on the ship ages 5 years while the twin back on Earth ages by 140 years.[[/note]] The inevitable shifts in humanity and society would pretty much make the astronauts aliens on their homeworld.