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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Feeling Homesick While at Home

It'll catch me at random times, like standing in line at Starbucks or in my own kitchen. I'll sigh and desperately wish for some truly delicious coffee. It's one of the things I miss the most about Paris, and though we have a fantastic French bistro we go to for breakfasts sometimes, and they make a mean croissant, the coffee is just wrong somehow. While driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I long to jump into the nearest Tube station. To walk along the river and eat at that beautiful restaurant with the amazing views, to shop the outdoor market any day of the week instead of scheduling my days around them. 

It's not always about London or Paris, but usually. It's not always about food either, but again, it most often is. I guess taste is just as much an emotional trigger to me as other things. I have vivid food memories, probably because they combine taste and smell for a stronger connection. 

Do you ever feel homesick for a place that isn't home? The more places I go, the more often it hits me. It's not the hopeless sort of I'll-never-be-happy-again-until-I-sleep-in-my-own-bed kind of homesick that I once had when I was little, with days of crying and feeling nothing in my life was right at all and forcing my grandmother to call my mom and tell her to come get me from across the country, but those little tugs of longing for a different place I'd once been or a very specific meal or smell or view. Not that we don't have rivers in Portland, or open air markets, or good coffee. We have all of those things, but it's different. A friend of a friend says she calls it Nostalgia in the Moment and I think that's pretty beautiful.

I used to just go on vacation and come home and fall back into my life and the same things that I'm used to. Now I realize that I'm experiencing more. Getting more out of my vacations and fulling surrendering to my surroundings. Those weeks are now becoming a part of my life instead of an escape from it. Perhaps that makes me a bit more vulnerable, but I find that when I get back to those places I've missed, I get even more out of it. There's no taking it for granted they way that can happen. I want to suck as much out of each day as possible. 

this year, I'm finally getting back to a place that has pulled on me for quite some time, that I haven't been back to in two decades. Virginia may not sound exciting to most, and maybe it's not, but it was where I spent a good portion of my childhood and holds great memories. I'd forgotten about it for quite a long time, but in the past few years (five, probably), every time I've mentioned it as a potential vacation destination, because, you know, Busch Gardens is pretty awesome, I have felt a stronger and stronger longing for it to actually be true. I maybe shouldn't have stayed away for so long, but now I'm going back and immersing myself in old memories while making new ones. Should be interesting. 

I know this is normally not the kinds of posts I usually make (Don't worry, I'll be back to my regularly scheduled budget travel posts soon enough.), but this idea took hold of me, much like the memory of rich, bold coffee with real sugar or a properly-brewed cup of tea with cream, and I felt like maybe I'm not the only one who feels like this in their normal life, feeling an odd homesickness for somewhere only visited for a short time. And if I'm not, it might make others feel better about their own at-home homesickness as well.  If you are a victim, where do you long for or for what? Perhaps yours is a lovely stretch of beach or a slab of thick-cut bacon or the damp air of a particular foggy morning. 

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