As you may have guessed from my last post and my absentness this week—I went home to Alberta, Canada! Ooo I gathered as much of that awesome Alberta soul as I could carry! I was like a worn teddy bear being stuffed with fresh cotton.
I was absolutely mesmerized, dazzled and comforted by the crystal night sky, the magnificent sunsets and the warmth of my family. After the brief trip I realized visiting home could be just as enriching as visiting the most exotic lands. Here’s why:
1) You get to see how much you’ve changed.
It’s kind of like a science experiment in the sense you can’t really see what’s changed in a substance unless you ensure all the other factors are the same. Have I picked up some patience or was that merely a necessary reaction to the snail-paced lifestyle (and Internet speed) of Thailand? Can I laugh as easily abroad as at home? Would I love riding my bicycle in Canada as much as in England or do I love it because Cambridge has such a strong bike culture?
2) Old experiences become fresh.
You know that childhood activity that you thought you’d overdosed on? You suddenly crave it again.
I once believed I’d visited Dinosaur Provincial Park enough times to last me a lifetime. Then I came back to Alberta after being away for over a year, and you know what, I raced right down to the park for another look. The scenes I witnessed took my breath away and I gawked anew at the sky that raced on till forever.
3) You bring back a new perspective.
My biggest change in perspective arose around food. Suddenly the stuff I refused to eat at home before I left Canada became a treat because the exotic spices reminded me of my trips.
I could also offer new angles during conversations about the conflicts and events abroad. Anytime the conversation shifted to things like the Hong Kong protests for example I was able to relate to what I saw during the Shut Down Bangkok protests in Thailand. As a result I also looked at Canadian perspectives with different eyes.
4) You get to shake things up with old friends.
Nothing beats snatching up your group or sole best friend to go on a mini adventure at home. Heck even going out for tea and swapping stories is a fascinating event!
Oh man, the first thing I did was organize a game night with the friends still in the area. We laughed our asses off and I got to meet some of the new people in their lives.
My best friend and I also travelled up to Olds to nab some fresh beer from the college brewery there. They were simple activities, but the entertainment never stopped.
5) If your family is anything like mine you get a detox session.
Some people pay to go to clinics or resorts where they can get away from junk food and Internet addiction. I go home and suddenly I’m in the clear—whether I like it or not.
My loving mother set out a giant fruit plate each morning and I ate it all. When my sister cooked she insisted on the purest, organic ingredients. I’ve never seen my pores so clean.
6) It’s basically the cheapest vacation ever which means you can do a lot more.
Sure you might choose to help out with the groceries and stuff, but often you have a free bed, transport and entertainment. Those are the money leeches!!!!
I was at home for two weeks and I spent less than $200 (and most of that was spent on some clothes I needed).
7) You can turn any favours around and let people come visit you at home!
Be the tour guide instead of the guided for a bit. You’ll be surprised at the new things you learn about your hometown when you do the research to impress your friends.
This is also great for setting up a future visit to other people’s homes. I always tell people to come visit me if they have a chance.
8) It’s a vacation from your vacation.
Sure it’s awesome to travel around seeing new things, but sometimes it’s great to just go home, settle into familiarity for a bit and let yourself completely unwind. No need to worry about your passport, foreign etiquette or what’s on the agenda for the next day.
It’s a delight to be able to dig into your favorite home-cooked meals too.
9) You may find that your parents and siblings have changed enough to shock you!
Gosh my sister has gotten tall and she totally surprised me when she agreed to come on a trip with me in the future! I’m thrilled that she’s excited to expand her horizons. She has one more year of high school and then she’s off to university (or college, work, travel or whatever)! My brother had changed a touch too though I can’t quite put my finger on it…
10) If you still have a bedroom at your parent’s place, shuffling through your stuff is like going on a treasure hunt. I kid you not.
Sometimes the gold coins are memories and sometimes you find that one device you definitely could have used on your travels.
You also realize what you really never needed. Giving those things to others who you know will really appreciate them is a gift in itself.