I’m sure you’ve heard it before: an expat waxing lyrical about all of the wonderful things back home that they miss. As an expat myself, I know I have done this on many occasions, probably driving those around me crazy.
When we first left Australia to travel the big wide world, there were a few things I missed the most: wakeboarding, which I’d just begun to learn; pristine beaches and good, fresh groceries. I remember when we first moved to Canada I wanted to embrace the Canadian culture by making a pumpkin pie to celebrate Thanksgiving. Not content to buy a pre-packaged pie crust and a tin of pre-spiced pumpkin, I strode purposefully to the IGA only to be reduced to tears by the price of butter and noticeable absence of all fresh spices. To replace wakeboarding, I began snowboarding frequently in Canada, toting my board to work and catching the bus to the local mountain for a spot of night boarding with panoramic views of the city and beyond. I enjoyed it (apart from the injuries) but always declared wakeboarding the superior sport. I also mocked the ‘wonderful’ beaches of Vancouver, which were nothing like the ones I had loved back in Adelaide.
Two years after arriving in Canada I left Vancouver for the UK with mixed emotions. I was looking forward to London but I knew I would miss so many wonderful things, such as the beautiful mountains, the stunning city skyline, day trips to Whistler, cinnamon rolls and Commercial Drive, where I had eventually found stores that sold fresh produce.
Since living in London I have loved it and have tried to embrace all that living in this country is about. Predictably enough, I miss many of the things I found so hard to adapt to in Vancouver: catching the bus to snowboard after work, weekend jaunts to Seattle and the beautiful sunsets over English Bay. I don’t miss the price of butter, but most of my memories of that two year period are very fond ones.
My point, after all of that reminiscing, is this: when leaving a place behind there will always be things that we miss. If I was to leave London tomorrow I would dearly miss my runs in Hyde Park or along the river, the cozy pubs in my area, the hustle and bustle of central London at the weekend and the sea of half-naked bodies covering any grassy area on a sunny day. So instead of focusing on all of the things I miss about Canada and Australia (and any other country I’ve visited and fallen in love with) I am learning to appreciate what I have here. Instead of wishing for what we had before, why don’t we all try to wax lyrical about the here and now? It’s not necessarily better or worse than anywhere else, it’s just different. And isn’t that why we travel anyway, to experience those differences?
Have you, like me, regaled those around you with stories about the wonders of ‘back home’? Or have you been on the listening end of one of these rants? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below: