One of the so-called Chennai Six, detained in India for four years on weapons charges, said he missed his eight-year-old daughter growing up.
Ray Tindall and five other men were imprisoned in 2013 on charges of smuggling weapons and ammunition.
The six, who were guards on a ship to combat piracy in the Indian Ocean, won an appeal against their convictions last week.
Mr Tyndall, who lives in Chester, also has a grandson he has never met.
But he vowed not to be a “prisoner of my past” and said the experience had made him tougher.
“I missed my children. Every event as they are growing up. My daughter was just four and starting school in Chester. She’s now eight years old. I’ve missed all that,” he said.
“I have a grandson I’ve not met yet, he’s seven months old.
Originally from Hull, Mr Tindall added: “I’m a strong Yorkshireman.
“I need to be the architect of future not the prisoner of my past.”
He kept fit in prison by running more than 7,000 miles.
Who are the Chennai Six?
Nick Dunn from Ashington, Northumberland
Billy Irving from Connel, Argyll
Ray Tindall from Chester
Paul Towers from Pocklington, East Yorkshire
John Armstrong from Wigton, Cumbria
Nicholas Simpson from Catterick, North Yorkshire
The men were working on the anti-piracy ship MV Seaman Guard Ohio, owned by the US-based company AdvanFort, when they were arrested in 2013.
They were held along with three Ukrainians, 14 Estonians and 12 Indians when customs officials and police found weapons and ammunition on board, which Indian authorities said had not been properly declared.
Initially the charges were quashed when the men argued the weapons were lawfully held for anti-piracy purposes and the paperwork, issued by the UK government, was in order.
But a lower court reinstated the prosecution and in January 2016 they were sentenced to five years in prison.
The former soldiers won an appeal against their convictions on 27 November.