Finding Home While Away

Al's Deli
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.Al's Deli

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.

24 thoughts on “Finding Home While Away

  1. As an aussie, well, I just turned to a jar of vegemite when I was in Japan. And watching the football via live stream. Admittedly though, if you’re moving from place to place, it’s harder and sometimes you just have to bow to will of packing light. Great post!

    • Well, unfortunately, as much as I have tried to like Vegemite…I don’t. Vegemite is much easier to come across than some of the Canadian luxuries I enjoy. It’s been quite the journey I am on. There will always be ups and downs, yet it is part of the journey. Right? Even through the lows I have been led to amazing places.
      Jessica, Turquoise Compass

  2. I remember craving Montreal style smoked meat when I was living in Australia. The best part of returning home was hearing the announcements in both languages at YVR. I love how multicultural we are! Although there are things I miss about my second home Australia, namely the friendly, warm, relaxed people. I am thankful to be involved with a group of exchange teachers so I get to renew my memories so frequently. You will be happy to return home but oh the great memories you will have. By the way, I can’t say I miss Vegemite.

    • Yes, so you know exactly how I must have been feeling in that moment of “homesickness”. I just wanted a little piece of home while away. Hearing French and English announcements is definitely part of being welcomed home. My upcoming posts summarizing Australia and New Zealand will give you a glimpse of how I lost myself there, just as you feel Australia is your second home. Stay tuned.
      P.S. Vegemite is NOT for me. Yuck!
      Jessica, Turquoise Compass

      • I concur on the Vegemite. Only tried it once, the way I was instructed. Yucko!! Also remember going to grade 7 camp and they served spaghetti as part of breakfast. I have a bad gag reflex for these things. Then again, I guess they don’t have Canadian bacon like we do.

      • I did it as instructed as well and it is gross! I guess we didn’t grow up with it like they did.
        No, they do not have bacon like we Canadians have bacon. Period. They have something entirely different.

      • Yes, but as they say: if you want things to be like they are at home, then why did you leave home?

        Have a good end of trip. Not sure when you will be back in Canada. We are headed west starting June 29. Woohoo!

      • BC mainland, coast, Gulf Islands, Haida Gwaii and back down the centre again. We drive out starting this Sunday..

      • Ohhhhh sounds fabulous, especially in the summer. I’d love to drive across Canada from Manitoba to BC!
        Keep your eyes open for turquoise for me! Hey, speaking of turquoise! Did you want to submit a guest post? I’m looking for submissions for the summer months! If so, send it along to
        Jessica, Turquoise Compass

      • Sure. I have to catch up on my writing, as soon as school is done. One of our first stops will be Point Pelee where we plan to stay the night and tour on our bikes. After that, I don’t know the exact places we will see. I will post something as soon as turquoise is in sight!

  3. Ohhhh I remember the poutine!! I used to eat it for lunch in High School!! Ohh I miss Canada!! And my best example of defeating homesickness happen this week when I went to bar here in Munich to watch Brazil playing against Mexico, there were so many Brazilians there, and music and dance and flags everywhere, I really felt like I was instantly back home for the World Cup!!! 😃 have a great day!!

  4. Pingback: Whirl Wind Tour of Eastern Canada | Turquoise Compass

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