One of the things I discovered after traveling so much and finally living overseas was that I never felt like the USA was my home again. It’s hard to describe to most people because it is not like going on vacation for a couple of weeks and returning to your life. When you live overseas, you begin to integrate into a different culture, learn the language, the customs.
Without you realizing it, you start to unconsciously give up the parts of yourself and your culture that you liked less in favor of adopting new ones. Then, one day you return home and you’re some kind of strange hybrid who doesn’t quite fit in there anymore. For that matter, you could return overseas and you wouldn’t quite fit there either.
Sometimes, I imagine that to truly feel at home anywhere again, I’d have to create my own hybrid community.
When I travel I often like to take a look at what I think each culture does really well or way better than the culture I came from. I imagine that in a perfect world we’d be open enough integrate those great learnings into our own society, regardless of source.
It seems to me like countries are a bit like sports teams. Each one wants to say they are the best and each has their die hard fans. In reality each country (or sports team) has their strengths and weaknesses and none are perfect.
But herein lies the problem. When you try to reintegrate into your own country again you’re filled with ideas that are either misunderstood or plain unwelcome. Unfortunately (or fortunately), once you open up your mind like this, you can’t un-see it or un-think it. It becomes a part of your new reality.
I would like to feel “at home” somewhere, but I start to wonder if home will never be a place anymore and if instead that feeling will come from the connections I make with people I meet along the way.