As many of our readers know, we’re from the Great White North, Canada, and we’ve recently made our return to Canada for the first time since August 2014 and were welcomed “home” with cold weather and snow that we hadn’t exactly been missing. But is it home? What is home anyway?
Not much has changed, that’s for sure.
Diced tomatoes are still a buck for a large can (cheaper than Panama, and the US). A whole chicken was ridiculously priced though, so we didn’t buy one and will likely survive on diced tomatoes.
It’s still cold and damp in Ontario in April, even though it was one of the mildest winters on record.
We have a new Prime Minister who has nicer hair than the last one.
The penny no longer exists in Canada. It was abolished in 2013, just before we left. We totally forgot about this and when something came to $2.71 cents we both were feverishly looking for a penny. The cashier said don’t worry, we don’t use pennies. Oh yeah – how brilliant! Based on the price they’ll either round up or down to the nearest nickel.
We’ve changed though.
After a nauseating, bumpy landing in Newark, followed by a nauseous feeling in the scuzzy confines of the Newark airport, we flew over the Adirondacks and the Finger Lakes, then enjoyed the aerial view of Niagara Falls, and just as we skirted the…outskirts…of downtown Toronto, I said to Shelly; “this doesn’t feel like we’re coming home”.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Canada. It’s an amazingly beautiful and beautifully amazing country. In previous journeys vacations, whenever we returned it was a different feeling. I used to think it was a feeling of comfort, but I think it’s more a feeling of comfort due to familiarity. We had the same feeling flying back from Nicaragua to Panama in late 2015. Comfortable familiarity.
And our return to Canada was somehow…different.
I suppose it could be because we don’t actually have a home and are bouncing around from town to town to stay with family for a month.
I suppose it could be because we’ll only be in our hometowns for a short stint before venturing off to the valley of British Columbia.
I suppose it could be because we know our adventure hasn’t ended yet. Quite the contrary. And to quote John Bender from the Breakfast Club…
Back in my early twenties a friend said he was going backpacking in Asia to “find himself”. I understood the journey/adventure part. I never understood the ideology behind it. But after travelling and living abroad, I get it now. At the same time, I don’t feel that “finding yourself” is a three, six, or twelve month journey either.
[bctt tweet=”Finding yourself is a life-long journey, not three months backpacking Europe. #sellallyourstuff” username=”sellallyurstuff”]
We’ve definitely grown and learned a lot about ourselves. Living and traveling abroad has taught us many things too, of which I’ll share three:
- Never give up at the first sign of adversity. As Dennis Leary once said “Life’s tough, wear a helmet”. Had we high-tailed it out of Panama after our first obstacle this site wouldn’t have come to fruition. Sure, it would have been the path of least resistance, but I wouldn’t have written three eBooks. Shelly wouldn’t have started her own Social Media company. We wouldn’t have become friends with some super-cool people. We’d never have become travelling house sitters. And so on.
- Being accepted into a town and another culture is only hard if you make it hard. Immerse yourself. Learn the language. Talk to your neighbours. And generally, just don’t be a dick.
- Like Canada, the only vowel in Panama is the letter ‘a’.
As for the rest of the things we learned, well, you’re just going to have to learn those on your own. Get out of your comfort zone once in a while!
Reliable conveniences allow you to become both familiar and comfortable somewhere. And what is home? Being comfortable is part of being “home”. We’re certainly not uncomfortable, and we’re definitely familiar with this part of Canada, but we still don’t feel we’re “home”. Not. Even. Close. BUD!
Now go sell all your stuff and find home.