Of course there are hundreds (or thousands) of perks of being home – home-cooked meals, easy communication, cozy bed, lovely friends and just the comfort of knowing that you’re close to people and place you love.
But then…Why do I miss traveling so much?
After spending four months away from familiar buildings, faces, food and culture, I was initially happy to be back in my comfort zone. Now that I have resumed an endless cycle of work-eat-sleep, however, I would love love love to return to unfamiliar territories.
First and foremost, I miss exploring. I am not the type to just take off one day and venture out to mysterious neighborhoods, but as long as I have my map, I’m more than happy to take the winding narrow sidestreets.
Oh, I don’t know. How else would you find Waffle-bob Squarepants in the middle of Brussels?
Or these mega-cool Star Wars & Star Trek postage stamps in Madrid?
Besides discovering unique antique stores or tiny family-run restaurants with only three tables, meeting great people and making new friends also make me happy, fulfilled and content.
I may or may not stay friends with everyone I meet on the road, but at least for the brief few days you’re stuck with them in small hostels or extreme-euro dance clubs, everyone is simply BFF(aeaeaeae…).
Aside from incredibly friendly and wonderful hostel owners – Giuseppe, Andrea and Mabri, etc. – I remember having great conversations with and sometimes having awkward/hilarious encounters on streets with a Dutch kid, a Norwegian couple, girls from Wisconsin, crazy Brits on a bar crawl in Berlin, a couple from Texas… Oh, and of course, a BU ALUM! What a small world.
Regardless, transitioning from having nothing in common except for being in foreign countries together to being friends even for just 10 minutes. I miss that kind of interaction with people. The one where strangers just stare at you and bump into you on the T is no fun.
I also missing walking down the street and simply admiring the gorgeous architecture. Granted Europe is certainly a lot older than North America, the beauty of its buildings, churches, houses and schools is incomparable.
London Eye… (I know it’s not Gothic or romantic or whatever, but it’s pretty!)
And of course, the scenery beats everything, too. The beaches, the river, the park…
The view from Sacre Coer…
Nonetheless, something MORE beautiful than the coastline and architecture is food. Seriously, one of the best parts about traveling to new cities was trying out new dishes.
I had the opportunity to devour, er, I mean, savor, the best Bratwurst, the Currywurst, the freshest clams, the best pasta, the most delicious prosciutto, the white Sicilian pizza, the English breakfast, the richest Guinness pie… Ah, the list goes on.
Additionally, these fresh ingredients are all available at amazingly low price at markets – even including high-quality wine, cheese and meat.
Often I could have a full 3-course dinner for under 5 euros. Of course, it’s nothing fancy. It’s rather delicious sandwiches from a stand run by two brothers, then gelato and a glass of sangria. But those affordable items from friendly owners and chefs were so much better than five-star, $50 per dish food.
For example, a loaf of baguette, a big wheel of cheese and a huge basket of strawberries cost me 3 euros total in Paris, and don’t you worry, they were DELICIOUS.
Arancine, a fried rice ball with cheese or ham or even curry, is Sicily’s signature food. Big enough to serve as a whole meal, Arancine definitely counted as one of Sicily’s charms. And the best part… Only 2 euros. What? I know.
I would certainly hop on the plane and travel around if given a chance. I mean, why not? All these great food, architecture and people await.
Maybe, if I’m lucky, in the next five years or so, I’ll be able to afford (both time and money) to embark on a brand new adventure. Australia sounds just fine. Or the Middle East.