"Travel does not exist without home. . .if we never return to the place we started, we would just be wandering, lost. Home is a reflecting surface. A place to measure our growth and enrich us after being infused with the outside world.” —Josh Gates
The third time must be a charm, because the last two times I came home from living abroad I couldn’t go back quick enough. I craved the out-of-the-box perspective that came along with living in another country.
This time felt different though. It’s incredible to feel like you belong and are where you should be at exactly the right time. Serendipity is the best word I can use to describe my first two months being home. It was more than just being warmly welcomed by friends and family eager to hear about my travels—these are the things I did differently this time around:
I travelled for weeks before going home.
With time on my hands (and a generous credit limit) I went somewhere new every chance I got. I made it a point to visit friends in their countries whom I otherwise might not have had the time to see. I saw home through the fresh eyes of a traveller, seeing my friends in their element and experiencing new things for the first time. Home was just the next stop on my journey, only everyone was as excited to have me there as I was to be there.
I quit the job that I had moved abroad for.
I felt disposable and taken for granted during my second year as a teaching assistant. The staff wasn’t as friendly as the first year, nor as excited about working with Americans. I decided sitting in a classroom to observe wasn’t the meaningful experience that I moved to Spain for, and requested to leave a month early. Though I felt a huge amount of guilt at first, it was an exhilarating feeling to move on from something that wasn’t allowing me to grow as a person.
I had no fixed plans or next move, so I really lived in the moment.
Having no immediate fixed plans allows you to live in the present without the anxiety of the future. I promised myself I would tune into every clue and every feeling to guide me to my next move that fulfilled my financial needs, creative cravings, and yearning to make the world a better place.
There are many things I miss about living abroad, and I am certain I will find myself overseas shortly again. I've found that travelling is more about how we perceive our surroundings than the actual surroundings themselves. There is so much to learn, even in a place we've lived in for our entire lives, if we just keep an open mind.Add this article to your reading list