After traveling for nearly 5 months straight, I started longing for my simple home comforts while on the road. Bouncing from place to place, sleeping in uncomfortable (and sometimes dirty) beds, socializing with strangers, living out of a suit case, while trying to make a hostel my home at times made me want the simple things in life. I never get tired of flying, traveling, meeting new people, seeing new places, and doing new things; yet, it is the small things that can get old really quick. I’m reminded of a YouTube video called Jessica’s Daily Affirmation, of a curly blonde hair child singing to herself in the mirror, “…I like my dad, I like my hair, I love my haircuts, I like my pajamas, I like my stuff, I like my whole house…”. How ironic that her name is also Jessica. I can sense the passion in her voice, as I feel the same way about my home (I love my house!). The little girl does a better job than me at describing how much she likes where she is living. There gets a point while on the move when I just miss my bed, bathroom, kitchen, and a sense of normality. However, you know as well as I do that as soon as I am home for a couple weeks enjoying those “missed luxuries” that I will be already dreaming and longing for another journey.
Auckland, New Zealand was my last destination on my five month travel journey before starting to make my long haul back to Canada. As I mentioned in a previous post, Auckland reminded me of Halifax, Nova Scotia in many ways. On my last night in Auckland I was endlessly searching for a place to eat not knowing what I wanted or where I to go (even though at this point I was “starving”). When I get to this stage of hunger, I usually start getting cranky in desperation and indecisiveness–my boyfriend calls this stage of hunger “hangry”, a combination of hunger and anger (catchy isn’t it?). After I wondered for an hour through the city searching endlessly for something to spike my interest, or something different, it started down pouring out of no where. Not only at this point was I hangry, but now I was sopping wet. I was determined to walk only one more block before giving up on eating that night, which has happened on more than one occasion, or to at least force myself to pick a bloody place. Going to bed hungry was sometimes easier than continuing the unsuccessful and frustrating search. Have you ever felt this way? After reaching the end of the block, I ironically came to Al’s Deli, a homemade Montreal bagel shop and Canadian Café. My search had been worth the wait, or rather misery.
In that moment, all homesickness went away with a whiff of the freshly baked bagels. After quickly glancing at the menu I ordered the special of the day: falafel, hummus, tzatziki, pickled turnip, and tomatoes on an onion Montreal bagel with a side of classic French-Canadian poutine (French fries, gravy, and cheese curds). My fresh, 40’s style meal, prepared to order and served on a tin plate, was the best meal I had in days. All I needed was a small reminder of home–a simple pleasure, to carry on. It’s the simple things in life that help us get through.
After that meal, I was ready to conquer the world. Although I was looking forward to a visit home after 5 months, that bagel sandwich and friendly Canadian café saved me that day and gave me what I needed to travel on. Whether just for a couple days more or weeks if I had the time, I was ready to continue on my journey. What simple pleasures have you come across along your travel story which helped you defeat any signs of homesickness and gave you the strength and happiness to carry on? It’s the simple things in life that leave a lasting impression and help you go the distance.