Unless you’re a rock, any travel that you do will impact you in some way. You could learn you hate everything that’s not in your country. Alternatively, you could be awed by the differences. Either positive or negative, the consequence of travel exists. I believe, that whether you like it or not, you can never forget what you learned from those trips, nor can you separate its side effects from your post-trip life. Even if you hated everything abroad, you’ll be so much happier to be at home. If you loved it, you’ll be thinking about things you miss or the friends you made. Or maybe you try to follow your favorite traditions from abroad like taking a siesta or having afternoon tea.
Wherever I go, my experiences come with me. In this case, my experiences include travelling. I could see a jar of JIF peanut butter at my parents house and remember how difficult it is to find in Granada. (Note: difficult=impossible). Or, I’m in Ireland, loving the greenery, all the while knowing that this is what I’m going to miss when I move back to Madrid.
Travelling anywhere creates a web of memories, each one building off the other, with no way to separate one strand from the whole being. So that begs the question, once we travel, can we ever feel at home again? Are we going places and leaving little pieces of our heart in each one? I think we kind of can and we are. I’ve created many different homes for myself. Pieces of my heart and soul are left in every place I leave. I get that that sounds like the tagline of a cheesy Rom Com that’s set abroad, but that’s where I’m at. I can leave one home to go to another. And somehow, this isn’t troubling to me. At all. It’s incredible, really. What other part of ourselves can we leave in tens, possibly hundreds, of places and still survive? And how crazy is it that ‘leaving’ actually means staying? We leave physically, but stay there in our hearts and minds. I get fuller, richer, and learn more about myself with every place I leave.
Believe me, this process sucks, too. That awe and amazement took some time to change from fear, sadness, and frustration. The change can happen, though. But, that’s for another post.
Where have you stayed after leaving?