It was my birthday yesterday and as usual I received lots of special, sweet messages from my family and loved ones all around the world, without actually getting to celebrate with any of them. I have always been grateful for the lifestyle I have had, and I always will be. In fact, if I hadn’t lived in so many different countries my whole life I would have never many many of the incredible people I have the privilege of knowing today, but it’s always a trade off.
People these days seem to idolize travelling, as if it were the be all and end all of life. In New Zealand and Australia going on a “Big O.E.” is practically a ritual. I even remember having a conversation with an old friend where he said he wanted to travel on his own, and when I asked him why he said because it seemed like the “normal” thing to do, and he felt less interesting for not doing it. We may not realize it, but there actually is a ridiculous amount of pressure out there to travel these days, and although it might be great for those who enjoy it; it’s certainly not for everyone one.
Somehow, once you start travelling, you never feel quite as whole as you once did. That seems like a strange statement to make, I know; but what many people don’t realize is how much you wind up missing the things you experience and the people you meet. You never again feel the bliss of not missing someone, or something.
On the other hand you are enriched, by the people you meet, by the food, the language, the culture. You grow in an entirely new way, without all the history and labels that you had to carry with you everywhere back home. You begin to understand the true meaning of freedom, and anonymity. Entering a new city of country is somewhat like re-entering your childhood; having to learn how to walk through new streets, where to buy all your daily needs, what restaurants have the best food for cheap… Then you realize everything from home that you had always taken for granted; that bar of Whittaker’s chocolate you used to munch on whenever you were sick, the feijoada you used to have every Saturday, the chips mayai your mom would make on Friday nights, the Sunday your roast your entire family would get together to enjoy. Yes, I associate most of my nostalgic memories with food and will assume everyone else does too.
You don’t have to travel to be interesting. In fact, those I know who lived in one place their whole lives are some of the most interesting people I know. I think it’s important to realize that travelling isn’t for everyone, and that it doesn’t make you better than those who don’t, it just makes you different. Actually, that applies to a lot of things in life; you might LOVE extra-buttery popcorn, while your best friend will only touch caramel corn. We need to learn to accept that travelling might not be for everybody.