Everyone, myself included, says traveling has ‘changed them’ in one way or more. I’m sure a lot of people are sick of hearing this, but travel doesn’t just change you in this cliché little ways that are commonly bragged about.
Sure, we had crazy experiences. We may have had nights where we didn’t get home from the club until 9 am or slept in a train station one or two times.
Sure, we got to experience other cultures. We have tried new foods, maybe eaten something we shouldn’t have and as a result learned some basic survival skills like how to outlive food poisoning while in the Czech Republic.
But there was a place we left long ago…home. Leaving home might be what changes you most.
As someone that studied a full 12 total months abroad during college, leaving home sure isn’t easy, but it’s easy to pretend that it is. After all, we are having the time of our lives. But it gets difficult when you miss a big event or when a tragedy strikes and you can’t be there for the ones you love.
It is so, so hard. And us that have left home, we want you to know that.
I can’t stress how badly I want you to know that I love my home.
America has it’s fucked up moments but so does everyplace else in the world. This is another valuable lesson traveling teaches you. I don’t ‘hate America’. More friends and even family than I can explain have asked me in all honestly if I hated America and if that’s why I have chosen to travel or to take my studies elsewhere for brief periods of time.
The truth is that I want nothing more than to wake up to the smell of Sunday mornings: fresh bagels, mom whisking up scrambled eggs and brewing cups of coffee. I’d go on to sit outside with my parents while my dad and I pretty much devour every last bit of food. Going hiking with my sister and pushing my baby brother on the swings are other minute things that make me smile just thinking about them.
These are the things you learn to appreciate more and more as you return home. You realize how amazing your life is even though you aren’t sky-diving in the Swiss alps or snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef.
Going places that are less fortunate than where your home is or going to a city you wouldn’t even think could be so under privileged truly makes you appreciate the life you have. If you’ve ever felt unsafe or scared for yourself or for the habitants of a city you’ve visited, you can understand that home is a place you feel safe.
Home is a place that you are so fortunate to return to.
Humbling is the experience of travel; it makes you not only momentarily grateful, but eternally grateful.