I miss spinach. And sarcasm. And BOY, do I miss my Spanish capabilities circa Senior year of high school.
When travelling long-term, you really end up adjusting your habits and settling into a very different way of daily life than you may have been used to otherwise. Choosing to go on a long-term trip was not something I jumped at suddenly, yet the further and longer I go away from my comfort zone, the more I realize how unpredictable long-term travel can be to prepare for. And I am not talking only about material things (although I fantasize about a night’s sleep on my parents’ plush, cool, puppy-cuddled couch), but adjusting to being in a new place, or moving through may new places, comes with a lot of adjustment and changes in habit. My preparation for this trip came with as much mental effort as it did physical. I have (so far) come up with my top list of things to be missed while travelling.
- SpinachNo, I am not saying that when you travel away from home you will automatically start craving leafy greens. However, travelling away from home and into a new place, culture, or region comes with new foods and changes in agriculture. Because of this, your diet will change based on what is available. Sure, that time you went to Singapore and absolutely LOVED the Rojak will forever be ingrained in your mental travel diary, but venturing somewhere that may require you to live off of beans and rice for months is going to change your digestive tract a bit. I am from California, and I realize how spoiled we are to have anything we crave at our fingertips. Especially fresh fruits and vegetables. So when I have been in Central America for a few months and the best thing I can find to satisfy my fruit and veggie cravings is a tomato, you enjoy it with great thanks. (I am being dramatic, we have great pineapple and papaya too).
- My Yoga Mat
I realize not everyone does yoga. For me, I am having a really difficult time keeping up my practice without my mat. For anyone else, I simply mean to say that keeping up with any regular physical activity can be a challenge. While travelling, you want to enjoy every moment you have in a new culture, seeing new places and meeting new people. Keeping up with your workout regimen may not stay as a priority. But, keeping up with that hobby or workout can be important for keeping you sane and comfortable. With everything else around you changing, keeping something as a constant can really help with adjustment as you move from place to place. Whether it is reading a good book, or simply finding a place to go for a short jog once in a while, keeping up with something that was a regular activity for you before you left home will help with adjusting to your new surroundings.
- Sarcasm and Hugs
Leaving the comforts of a job you love, friends you adore, and a close and supportive family is something that many people may take for granted until they are not close at hand. When you travel to another country, especially one that primarily speak a language that is not your native language, communication can sometimes be a bit difficult. Not just “where is the store” difficult, but finding the deeper connections with people as you make new friends. For me, this means my sense of humor needs to be thought out before I just blurt out strange anecdotes or fire off sarcasm as I am used to (I am having such a hard time!). Mainly, this is because when translating things to another language, humor is not always relayed the same way. This also has to do with being more intentional with communication as you make new friends. When you fall into comforts of old friends and close family, you may not always remember that words you use can be received in a way that was not meant to be. Using this time away from my comforts and loved ones forces me to be more intentional with my communication. My closest friends are no longer close to me geographically, so I need to reach out and contact them on purpose, instead of just expecting to bump into them when I always do. With new friends I am making, I get to be more clear with my communication in the sense that I say what I am feeling in a very child-like way (I am very much like a child in my communications in Spanish as it is: No me gusta. ¿Puedo jugar? Tengo hambre.) This is something adults could use more. Clear and intentional communication goes a long way. My clear and intentional communication today: I miss you mom. I am having a great time still, but would love a hug because who knew I was such a touchy person? Hugging acquaintances is not a big thing here.
So you are a little uncomfortable. Big deal. Nothing will replace this time, these experiences, and this growth. 🙂
What do you find you miss the most when you are away from home?