It's not only about traveling
Last week I went for a drink with my brother.
We sat down on a terrace near my place, it was warm weather, a mild breeze was blowing and the weekend had just started so it felt great being there.
I moved back to my hometown in Spain very recently after spending the last 7 years away. Since he'd never left this city besides the occasional travel, at some point I got curious and asked him the question: Have you ever wanted to live somewhere else?
He looked at me knowing where my question came from, we've had such different lives and while I have been moving places often, he is pretty comfortable staying put.
What for? this city is paradise. It's safe, we are in the north of the country so the weather is mild throughout the year, we have social security, great food, we are surrounded by mountains if you want to go hiking and in front of the ocean if you want to enjoy the beach and water sports. Salaries are not that great but the quality of life is amazing. Sure, the city can feel static sometimes, and there is not much to do compared to Madrid, but it makes up for it in every other aspect, I don't feel the need to travel or move.
Now that's what I call hometown love. I also think that he is fundamentally right. I am fortunate enough to have grown up in an incredibly beautiful region of an incredibly beautiful country. As a kid we would often go to the forest and the beach, we tend to spend a lot of time outside because the weather is pretty friendly all year round.
Moreover, despite the fact that I enjoy traveling, I have changed my perception of it. Going to a place for a very short period of time and trying to crunch as many sights and experiences as possible in the shortest period of time no longer interest me that much, although it is still enjoyable from time to time.
What I meant by "moving" was trying to convey the feeling of unease that comes from being in a context you're not acquainted with, so you need to relearn everything and no interaction with the environment can go on autopilot.
There are of course different degrees if you move to a place where the culture, social contracts and what say, the population is similar to where you come from, the leap is going to be smaller.
I'd argue one of the most "oh boy this is so different from home" is when I was some time ago in a food court in Hong Kong and sat down at a table to eat. I looked around and I thought to myself I really love this feeling.
Living in a variety of different places and getting to make friends, party, deal with paperwork, etc.. exposes us to so many stimuli that change us, even so inadvertently.
And that's amazing. When you come back you come back different.
- 5 toasts