Anyone who’s caught the travel bug knows the feeling: that itch to explore, to experience new places, to expand your world beyond the monotonous rhythm of day-to-day life. For those with wanderlust, a full year spent in the same country seems like an eternity, a purgatory sentence to homogeneity.
By no definition would I be considered a nomad, and my travel resume dwarfs in comparison to my bucket list. But I oftentimes find myself homesick for places I’ve never been, yearning to throw myself into a new culture and break free from the very location I call my home.
Physical home, yes. But emotionally, my heart seeks comfort in what, for many others, would cause anxiety: the muffled sounds of languages I don’t understand, noises I’ve never heard, smells I’ve never encountered.
What may begin as the initial apprehension of the unknown is soon replaced with familiar streets, smiling faces and humorous stories from the locals. Quite quickly, those unfamiliar smells become memories of foods you can’t live without, and those undecipherable sounds start to make sense.
For anyone who’s spent more than a mere holiday immersed in a new culture, this comfort – the feeling of belonging in a place that may have once seemed foreign – is the ultimate travel high. It becomes home.
In fact, you begin to take this different world for granted – the new people, new sites, new foods, new sounds – which, of course, are not so new anymore. The wanderlust sets in – and you begin to feel the itch.
So you travel again. You become part of another world. And it becomes part of you. Each of these places becomes but a mere thread of the quilt you’ve knit for yourself.
Wherever you call your home, these places, these experiences, these people will be with you. Homesickness will set in, but you won’t be yearning for the familiar, the safe, the homogeneous.
Rather, you’ll miss each one of these places that have become a part of where you’ve been, what you’ve experienced, who you are. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll have played a little part in making them who they are, too.