I didn’t get people who loved to travel. The word ‘wanderlust’ meant nothing to me, pictures of countries and beautiful places on my Facebook newsfeed didn’t move me, and I had no desire to leave the haven of my hometown. My mother used to call me a ‘comfort creature’; I felt most at ease in my own space, at home, and the idea of travelling anywhere outside of my own country would literally break me out in a sweat.
Now, 22 flights in a one year period under my belt, and having lived in 3 countries, I’m more unhappy than I could ever imagine myself being.
Returning home after a year of travelling was not what I expected it to be. I had changed so much, seen so many things, met people from every corner of the globe and been through hardships not many other young people my age had been through. My perspective had gone from a magnifying glass on a speck of dust to what felt like viewing the universe through a telescope. I had grown, changed, and what once was the girl who couldn’t knock on doors and talk to strangers became the girl who could walk into a room full of people and introduce myself by name to every single person.
I felt like a different person; I had shed the skin of the shy, anxious creature I was before and had returned strong, with a clear idea of who I was and what I wanted out of life. And yet when I came home, nothing had changed. People were still in the same relationships, doing the same things and for them, not one single thing in a whole year had changed.
The hardest part about this was that they couldn’t see or understand who I had become, what I had been through and just how different I felt.
I couldn’t help how frustrated I was; it almost felt as if people were completely undermining the difficulties I had been through. I felt as if they expected me to be the same person I had been when I left. I felt like screaming ‘can’t you see how much I’ve changed?!’. I had dealt with awful flatmates, death, being on the brink of poverty and damn near starved due to lack of food and yet no one could see how much these experiences had affected me and changed me as a person. After just a few short weeks back home, I itched to get on a plane again, somewhere new, with people who had similar experiences to mine.
I think this is why, as travellers, we all ache to run away again. We discover that happiness isn’t found in the comfort of our bedrooms, but in meeting new people, experiencing new places and cultures. Our happiness is found when we begin to finally figure out who we are, coming into our own and the only way to get there again is to hop on a plane and go somewhere new.