Things You Miss About Traveling (But Hated At The Time)
There are a few obvious things that you’ll miss about study abroad and your host country when you come home: your friends, your favorite coffee shop, that tiny little pond you found one day on a walk that became a regular chill out spot. But one random day, walking down the street you may get hit with a wave of longing for something you would never have expected. After being home for a few months after my semester in Edinburgh, I found myself missing things that I’d never would have thought.
What really inspired this article was the sudden realization one day that I really missed my local Tesco. While I was abroad I came to despise having to grocery shop there because it was tiny and had very limited options. But one day, as I wandered the never ending aisles of my hometown grocer, I yearned for the £3 meal deal that I frequented on my way back from class. I never EVER would have thought I could miss a grocery store, but after talking with some of my study abroad friends, they felt the same nostalgia for the cramped little store.
Something else that I have come to miss is my walk to class. I also took the same streets to get to campus, so I passed through the same intersection every day. I knew the specific pattern of traffic lights, the days that they would wash windows on the right side of the street, and the dog that sat patiently outside the comic book store every morning. This consistency (and cuteness) was stripped away when I came home, and every so often I would find myself retracing my steps back to class just for the heck of it.
After talking to a few of my friends (both those I made abroad and friends from home who also went abroad), it seems like everyone has little quirks from their time away that they miss every so often. My roommate, who studied abroad in London, talks constantly about how she misses riding the tube everywhere. Even though it was often crowded and smelly, it was such an integral part of her experience in London, and it isn’t something she can easily replicate on our tiny college campus.
Lastly, you may find yourself missing being a part of somewhere new. I had traveled very little outside of the immediate area of my home/school, and going abroad threw me into a new situation every single day. While trying to find yourself and how you fit in somewhere you don’t call home can seem overwhelming, it’s a challenge that is so necessary. There were times when it was hard, and all I wanted was to see my friends and family, but I miss the constant pressures and challenges that shaped my abroad experience. I came home more fearless than I thought I could ever be. Now that I’m back in an environment where I am comfortable, I find myself missing being challenged at every turn. I miss finding opportunities to grow that I never thought I would have. And, in my experience, that’s what you’ll miss most.