INSPIRATION NEW ZEALAND

HOW TRAVELING HELPED ME DISCOVER WHAT HOME MEANS TO ME

August 4, 2017
HOW TRAVELING HELPED ME DISCOVER WHAT HOME MEANS TO ME

“Home” in some ways is a very abstract concept. What does home mean? Is it the place we live, the place we have spent the most time, or is it the place we feel most attached to?

Home is a place that is tied to you through no choice of your own. Places you travel to, you choose to be at, so the feeling can be very different. Some people associate this different feeling with the positive emotions brought by travel. These people seem to think they have found their home thousands of miles away from anything they grew up with. For me, this could never be the case. Here is why.

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For me, “home” is, and always has been New Zealand, though no particular town or city here. I have been exploring my home since a very young age. I always liked it here and had no complaints. But until I travelled, I never realised just how much I loved it.

HOW TRAVELING HELPED ME DISCOVER WHAT HOME MEANS TO ME

AWAY FROM HOME

The first big trip abroad I did was when I went to Europe and spent most of my time living in Spain. The trip was amazing and I learned so much. But one of the most important things I learned, something I had never realised before, was that New Zealand is really my home.

HOW TRAVELING HELPED ME DISCOVER WHAT HOME MEANS TO ME

Spain is an amazing country, but with a culture so different from my own, I couldn’t help but notice the differences. The way they talked, the food they ate, their architecture, their timetables, and even what side of the road they drove on was all completely different to what I was used to. None of the differences were necessarily bad or good. But in Spain, for me, everything was unfamiliar.

HOW TRAVELING HELPED ME DISCOVER WHAT HOME MEANS TO ME

I started to travel around and of course met people from all around the world. Everyone I met wanted to know about New Zealand. The more of these people I met, so different and unfamiliar to me, and the more I talked about my culture and my country, the more I started to feel something strange. Identification with a place. Pride of my nationality. Something that made me unique from all the people from other countries.

HOW TRAVELING HELPED ME DISCOVER WHAT HOME MEANS TO ME

After a while, I started to crave “home”. Not only friends and family, but ways of life, landmarks, language. I missed the wide, open suburban streets, the gas station pie, the Easter egg hunts and the dairy lollies that at home I was so used to. I missed hearing English in my accent and the fish and chips on the beach.

HOW TRAVELING HELPED ME DISCOVER WHAT HOME MEANS TO ME

RETURNING HOME

When I got home, it was a huge relief, almost like a weight off my shoulders. I was back to my home, to things that I was so used to that I hadn’t even known I’d miss them. I suddenly felt that I was in the place I belonged. People around me finally talked like me and thought like me. People drove on the left side of the road and worked in New Zealand dollars. After six months of being a stranger in someone else’s land, everything finally made sense.

HOW TRAVELING HELPED ME DISCOVER WHAT HOME MEANS TO ME

So for me, home has always been the same place, but travel helped me to realise what it is. Travel helped to reinforce that I do have a home which I identify with. Home for me is familiarity. Before I left to travel, I couldn’t really tell you what the word familiarity meant. But after I got back and saw everything again for the first time, I can tell you that that word means more to me than any other.

Has traveling helped you appreciate where you are from? Please share in the comments below! Read Next > Taking The Leap To Travel Solo

By We Are Travel Girls Contributor Suzie Kelsey of TheWanderingLinguist.com
Connect with Suzie Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

HOW TRAVELING HELPED ME DISCOVER WHAT HOME MEANS TO ME

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12 Comments

  • Reply thepetiteexplorer August 5, 2017 at 6:47 am

    I can completely relate to this post. I never felt like the UK was my home. However, being in Korea for a year I’m missing it more and more. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to understand what’s going on around me and with people more like me culturally. I was always a bit embarrassed of being British but I’m slowly coming around!

    • Reply We Are Travel Girls August 5, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Pleased to hear that you enjoyed this post, and as a Brit too I can relate to your comment! Becky x

    • Reply Suzie August 14, 2017 at 7:09 am

      Haha that is a good thing! Learning to be proud of where we are from is important. 🙂

  • Reply Arun August 7, 2017 at 11:39 am

    The culture and environment one get in their country are difficult to find in other places. Each country has their own speciality and culture. I have never been to New Zealand but I have heard from my friends it,s really beautiful place.

    • Reply We Are Travel Girls August 12, 2017 at 4:31 am

      Thanks for reading and commenting Arun!

    • Reply Suzie August 14, 2017 at 7:07 am

      That’s exactly right Arun. And your friends aren’t lying! Any plans to come to New Zealand? 🙂

  • Reply Courtney Minor August 10, 2017 at 3:04 am

    This is exactly how I felt about my home country (the U.S.) after living in New Zealand for a year. Sometimes it takes being away from home to appreciate it.

    • Reply We Are Travel Girls August 12, 2017 at 4:18 am

      Thanks for reading Courtney. Becky x

      • Reply Suzie August 14, 2017 at 7:06 am

        That’s so true.. It’s funny to see people feeling the same way that I did about missing New Zealand… IN New Zealand! Lol.

  • Reply Panyta August 10, 2017 at 7:01 am

    Me too can relate to your message. Being in NZ for 4 months now and I never thought I’d miss Australia as I always believe things would be the same. I am going back in a few weeks and I can’t wait to be in my own home, meet my friends and eat at places I love. NZ is certainly beautiful but I always feel like a stranger somehow. I will certainly come back though. There are so much to love and yet to explore.

    • Reply We Are Travel Girls August 12, 2017 at 4:16 am

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing your own thoughts Panyta. Becky x

      • Reply Suzie August 14, 2017 at 7:04 am

        So glad to hear you enjoyed NZ! And happy to see that you can relate to my article… Home is home.

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