Home is the place where you become you, not simply the place you were born.
Thibault was born in a small little town in Mons, Belgium, and I too was born in a small little town in Hampshire, England. I grew up in this town until the age I left home, so needless to say I was more than ready to move on by the time I blew out my candles on my 18th birthday.
Both our first years of travel (prior to when we met) where filled with excitement, adrenaline and inhibition – combined with the frequent tormented thoughts of going home. Going home meant that it was the end. The end of an incredible journey, the end of new friends, the end of the person we’d become. We were both living a lifestyle that felt natural and the last thing either of us wanted was to see that end.
Thibault was going back to a struggling, lower class community he detested for not only the people but also their dialect, mannerisms and topic of conversations. Everything was mundane, and routine. The Friday night parties that used to be the highlight of his week had turned into rather something he would disassociate himself from, as well as those attending. He would feel deflated, despondent and frustrated. His friends were still talking about the same things, doing the same things, and were none the wiser that they were missing out on the world. Discussions would stray, and Thibault would almost comment on the beautiful people of Sapa, the blase lifestyle of the Spanish, and the kind hearted generosity of the Australians. But he wouldn’t. Thibault knew that the vast majority of his Belgian community would shunt the ideas he proposed, and claim him nothing more than a gloater, someone who has lucked out in life and been to places no one else would ever be able to go to.
I would have quite the similar experience whenever I would return home, with most people deeming me ‘blessed’ to be able to do the things I was doing. That would always get me. For anyone who has got up done what we are doing, they will back us up here when we say it’s not a matter of being blessed or lucky. We are here because we chose to be here, and we made it happen. I’ve personally met hundreds of people who have come from a challenging, less supportive background – and they still made it. It’s a test of your determination and desire that see’s if you fail or succeed, and I believe most people simply give up before even trying.
Those who live in countries other than their own are now members of the 5th largest nation in the world. A staggering 244 million people are international migrants, living abroad worldwide. People of every age, nationality, and income level have left their home to look for better opportunities, a better life, elsewhere.
So why do some people assume it’s an impossible feat? If 244 million can do it, why can’t you?
Many of our friends back at home have a very comfortable lives – a steady income, a family home, sometimes even children. They will constantly remind themselves that a home is a work in progress. After the new kitchen tiles, it’s the bedside tables. After those, it’s a new shed for the back garden.
The mind-set of a nomad is dreadfully different.
Home is a piece of soul, not soil. Nomads believe that it’s all about creating a sense of community that makes them feel, and be, at home.
Your mind-set when you’re untraveled is unshaken. It’s the mind-set you share with most of your acquaintances around you, and is very rarely questioned or threatened. A traveller’s mind-set is almost immediately changed the moment they step out of their comfort zone and into another country. In all honesty, their mind-set has most likely changed the minute they booked their flights.
When you travel, you see, your senses are awake 24/7. It’s a similar feeling as to be in love some would say. The sky looks bluer, the grass greener, the food tastier. Everything is foreign and beautiful, and you let nothing be taken for granted. Your heart beats faster and nothing looks grey. It’s not the place that’s making you feel like this as such, its your mind-set.
‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.’ – Marcel Proust
After a few years, a few countries – this is exactly what we both experienced. We realised that travelling as such didn’t make us happy, it was the pleasure of our new-found frame of mind. Coming home with this new mind-set, these new eyes, is quite an unbelievable adjustment to when you originally left home. Once your mentality changes, so does your outlook on certain things.
What was once a crappy old corner shop in my hometown, is now a glorious supermarket filled with all the brilliant food I’d missed on my travels. The average-at-best restaurant down the street from my house was now a lovely place to meet up with old friends and spend the evening giggling over fruity red wine.
With new eyes, even the old sights become new.
Thibault and I make every effort to visit home as frequently as possible – and no, it’s not because we feel we have to. It’s truly because we want to. We come home and feel excitement being in our old city. We feel giddy at the thought of having those mid-week leftover dinners. We’re impatient to take a walk around our old neighbourhood.
The place hasn’t changed one iota. We have.
Travelling will not make you happy. Your approach towards new cultures, your openness to new beliefs, and your new outlook on life will.
Once you’re in the mind of a nomad, you’ll see your world open up in ways you never thought possible. You become curious, flexible, and eager. Since travelling, Thibault and I have fallen back in love with Mons and Hampshire. In our houses, we feel even more at home than ever before, simply due to the fact we’re so grateful it’s filled with our loved ones. We no longer take these things for granted, and truly appreciate the time were able to spend there.
So travel, and let yourself delve deep into your surroundings.
Meet new people. Try new things.
You’ll be surprised at how it’s not your physical journey that makes you happy,
but your emotional one.