Going abroad is a magical experience. Whether it’s for two weeks or five years, the time you spend away from home is important and will not only change you, but everything you once thought, knew and believed. You can’t live in another world without starting to reevaluate your own.
Those who have never traveled, never stepped outside their own town, city or country have yet to develop the keen awareness that comes with looking at something from the outside in. They’ve only ever seen their lives from the narrow perspective of their undisturbed point of view.
They’ve never had the opportunity to look at their lives from a place thousands of miles away, missing them and understanding them in a way they’ve never known before.
They’ve never seen different worlds, with different ways of living and existing. They’ve never felt like a foreigner, a third-rate citizen or an immigrant.
They’ve never felt the sting of not being able to converse or the exhilaration of discovering a new favorite food. They’ve never learned new words or new religions, appealed to customs outside their own or followed unknown laws. But most importantly, they’ve never felt what it’s like to come home.
Coming home is an important step in the traveling experience, as everything new and exciting you learned is suddenly applied to your old surroundings. Your old life is suddenly ripe for evaluation as the newness of it shines like a bright penny on the sidewalk as you step out of the airport.
You have new feelings about it, judging it against the momentary life you experienced abroad and the nostalgic feelings you carried around with you. Because traveling changes you, and the more you leave, the more clearly you see home.
Your family's love
It takes going far, far away to see how much you truly miss home sweet home. Only once you’ve left home, the comforts and the norm of it all, do you realize how attached you are to it. Suddenly your mom’s cooking doesn’t seem boring and dull, but comforting and warm.
Your dad’s lawn mowing isn’t a distracting noise, but a familiar song whose tune you’ve missed. Your brother's soccer games and your sister's piano recitals are no longer chores, but quality time spent with the people you love.
The trivial, boring, unanticipated parts of your life become sweet reminders of why you call this place home.
The pointlessness of grudges
Drama becomes a thing of the past once you realize how insignificant it is in the scope of the entire world. Once you’ve crossed oceans, walked in third world countries and experienced a revolution, the petty problems of your simple past become reminders that life is too short to be wasting it with silly drama.
The problems you had with your parents, friends or coworkers become irrelevant and unimportant in the light of everything you’ve seen and done.
The comforts of home
Contrary to the popular belief, you can go home again. Things may have changed, you may have changed, but home is always home.
Seeing the world and experiencing everything it has to offer is great, but knowing that the comforts of home will always be there when you get back is a feeling that even seeing the Sistine Chapel or the Eiffel Tower couldn't compare to; home is home and nothing will replace that, even the greatest places in the world.
Those things you can't live without
Whether it’s peanut butter, Netflix or your mama’s cornbread -- some of those underrated items you took for granted for so long become things you suddenly realize you could never live without.
When you cannot get them, their value increases from something you never thought twice about to something you will never leave behind again.
It’s a beautiful thing to see things in a new light, to appreciate something solely because you know it’s no longer a commodity, but a part of a home that can't be replaced.
The beauty of communication
Once you’ve experienced life as a third-rate citizen, unable to communicate more than a few idioms and commands, you realize what a thrilling and powerful thing it is to say what you mean to say.
The ability to communicate with the people around you, to feel like a real citizen, whose thoughts and stories are clearly expressed and received, is a feeling that was previously unappreciated and unnoticed. Coming home, you are reintroduced to the luxury of speech and your ability to partake in it.
The world in which you live
Perspective, perspective, perspective. That’s what traveling’s all about, right? They’ve invented words to describe people who cannot leave their predisposed notions about other countries and cities, and words for those who do understand the importance of leaving your old views behind.
There are books written and movies made about the necessity to change your perspective, to see the world on a larger scale and reevaluate everything you once held as true and good.
The important part about leaving home is understanding that home isn't home to everyone and your customs, ideals and opinions are as significant as those tiny dots of people you could barely see from the airplane.
Coming home from an exciting trip abroad tells you a lot about yourself, but what's more important is the recognition that you are independent and nothing is beyond your reach.
Once you’ve conversed in other languages, eaten food you couldn't pronounce and have met strangers on trains, you become keenly aware that the world really is your oyster. The independence and satisfaction that comes with crossing oceans and walking new lands are important feelings that will stay with you long past your return.
Now that you've done all that, everything else seems like a piece of flan, gâteau, bolo or good ole' American birthday cake.
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