(Just found this on my phone- guess I wrote it half a year ago.)
In this world you will be as aliens and strangers.
“You’re always traveling? Don’t you get tired? Don’t you miss home?”
We get these two questions a lot.
A lot. Like a lot. They’re completely normal and valid, of course. I’d be asking them too, if the situation was flipped.
Yes, we do get tired. Super tired. And yes, we do miss home sometimes. (Mostly my mom though. 😂)
“Home” just means the entire US to me- the country I was born in. There’s no one place in there I’d consider returning to as my home. I never really “clicked” with where I grew up- although I’m very thankful to have grown up there.
I suppose I can travel as a nomad because I don’t belong anywhere. (I don’t mean that in a sad way. There are many who are the same.) No place in particular especially calls to me. There’s no strong tie or reason to stay in any one place. And so I’m free to wander- being pulled back to nowhere, only exploring forward.
It’s pretty cool to be a stranger looking in; sometimes it’s very isolating.
Most people want to return home to a place they know and understands them after time exploring.
In that way, I’m sure I’ll always connect with Americans more than anyone- we speak a common culture.
But when you don’t have friends, family, or work concentrated in any certain area, you don’t have a base. Or at least don’t need one.
Sure, you could plop down just about anywhere and integrate into the community around you. That’s an option that stays open to us, and other travelers.
But even those who have done so, living abroad in one place for decades, sometimes move home to their native county again in the end, to fully and finally feel understood and able to understand the culture.
I didn’t mix well in the culture I grew up in. My outside environment was southern falseness; I grew up in NC. My home environment was northern directness, as my family hailed from Boston. Two completely opposite American cultures: I didn’t fit in with either of them. I didn’t care for the empty small talk and guessing games native of the south. But my shy, quiet self never identified with the bold, outspoken ways of the yankee trading northerners either.
So far, I think I’ve identified with the Malaysian culture more than any other we’ve explored. Who woulda thunk, right? Polish and Romanian would come in next, respectively.
When we told our friends and neighbors we’d be leaving to travel the world, the majority replied with “why?” Why would we conceivably want to leave a comfortable life?
The perspectives from people we’ve meet on the road have been much more encouraging. They get excited about exploring, about asking questions, and taking risks. Turns out this world is more open and accessible then we often factor.
I hadn’t heard about all the options there are abroad. I was only given the “go to a US university- maybe study abroad for a semester-” option. If university isn’t ideal for you, there are thousands more options than hurling your prime years into debt and a pile of worksheets.
I feel I’ve attained better than a phd level of education by traveling the world for 3.5 years. There’s so much you learn by experiencing in person rather than through research or study alone.
We’ve been able to pick up skills along the way too, such as diving (my mom is an advanced open water diver now!)
Being an English teacher would be considered a “failure” job to the successful, and to my extended family. But it’s incredibly rewarding and I love it. I remember decidedly as a child that I wanted to work in or start an orphanage, a loving and enabling one, when I grew up.
(And apparently my musing or the bus ride or whatever ended here. 😂 En fin, I don’t have any desire to return to the US, but I do think having friendships and a community is super important. For this reason, we will likely stay in one country for an extended time soon. We have a couple countries in mind… stay tuned. 😉)