The eternal traveler syndrome.
One of the hardest things to explain to someone who has never lived abroad, is the feeling of belonging nowhere. Quoting the wise words of a restless explorer, this is what we may call “the eternal traveler syndrome”, because once you try it out, you can never stop. The experts call it “reverse cultural shock”, and it includes a variety of symptoms which I won’t start talking about.
We could define it as the following: The memory you have of a town you leave behind will forever be the one you had when you left that place. The memory remains unchanged. In our new home, we will miss that last city, and we will even idealize it. The effects of the illness are produced only when you come back. It is in that moment when you realize that the ideal city you had in your mind has evolved without you.
The longer you stay and the further you go, the bigger the shock will be.
And then, you get into a routine where nothing feels like home. You want to live in a collage city made out of different places, memories and people. A mixture of styles, buildings and tastes. A city that includes all the things you have ever loved. But this city does not exist.
I would love to walk along the streets of a city where everybody can cycle as they do in Copenhagen. Besides, I would like to keep the job where colleagues are like family. Where you can chat and make new friends in the blink of an eye, as it happens in San Francisco. I need to live in a place where meeting friends or family doesn’t involve Skype’s help. I’d like to see a town that can offer food as tasty as the real Turkish meals. I’d love to live across the hall from the kindest American family in order to pay a visit from time to time and see the little girls grow. I want to feel as multicultural as in London, where teaching kids of a different color is not called integration but just education (for all, for any). I want to experience Hawaiian happiness and go snorkeling on a daily basis. A place where the sun is shining without begging.
I wonder if I will feel “at home” some day (should I say, somewhere), and if I once will find out what I really need to get this comfort. It´s not a sign of nonconformity, but the urge of putting together all the pieces of a puzzle that we have created on the way. It´s the sadness of knowing that, regardless where we are, this puzzle will always be incomplete.
Those of you who also have a little nomad in your heart, can probably understand that, at the end, there are just a few things or a few people who make you feel “home”. And only a few persons will be lucky enough to travel along with these people who make them feel home anywhere they go.
What I constantly contend with now is a continual pull to go back; a pull to go back anywhere as long as it isn’t here. Yet when I am back there, I feel the pull to return here, the place I call home. Corey Heller.