Originally Posted by explanade
Is it possible that the locale is contributing to this sense of frustration?
That part of the country is known to cause SAD ...
Excellent point. In fact, I moved to Seattle a decade ago and lived there for 2 years. In the second year, I felt as if I was just not interested in going to work anymore. There were days when I didn't want to get out of bed. It was around that time that I had started reading this forum, and, I was bitten by the ER bug. So, I blamed it all on the work environment and my desire to get out of corporate life.
And then I had the opportunity to move to SE Asia, more or less doing the same work with the same company. Within a couple of months after the shift, my mood lifted and I felt a lot more enthusiastic, filled with joie de vivre and what not. Only then did I realize that what I was feeling in Seattle was SAD and not simply allergy to work. :-)
All that said, I'm also in the same boat as the OP. After 8 years working in Asia, traveling around the region to interesting places, I'll be returning to the US for good early next year. However, I decided to take some time to travel around the world since leaving work at the beginning of this year. That has helped me in an unexpected manner. Traveling for pleasure (i.e. not on a job) enabled me to spend considerable time (1-3 months) in each of the location I have visited/am visiting. I feel satiated with all the culture/history/language/exotica that has been thrown at me and feel like gotten the urge to be in exotic locales out of the system. I feel ready to settle down. Hopefully, that shifts my motivation from the exotic life abroad that I'm used to (my comfort zone), to a stable or settled life back in the states (figuring out a new way of life).
Many other points brought up in this thread will help too. Appreciate everyone's suggestions and thanks to the OP for the forthright question.