While one should cherish every moment of their trip, there are times you can’t help but feel like clicking your heels together Dorthy-style and whispering “there’s no place like home.” Whether you live in a mansion or a crumbling old NYC apartment (like me!) there’s something special about the place you feel most safe and comfortable. And when away from it for too long, you can really start to miss it. To give you an idea of what I mean, here are eight times travel makes you appreciate home.
1. When You Can’t Get Your Favorite Late Night Snack
Nothing makes me miss home more than when coming home drunk from the bar at 3am and realizing a stop at Fresh Deli for cheap cheeseburgers and curly fries isn’t on the agenda. This also happens when there is a certain food I’m unable to get in the destination. For example, when I studied abroad in Sydney I went crazy trying to find ranch and pretzels. While they technically have those two things, they’re completely different than in the U.S. When doing a homestay in Achiase, Ghana, I would have done anything for a slice of pepperoni pizza. One day I craved it so bad I took a 2.5-hour bus ride just to get it, as this was the closest pizzeria I knew of.
2. When You See Your Friends All Checked In To The Same Bar
It doesn’t matter if you’ve just kissed a stranger under the Eiffel Tower, went skydiving in New Zealand or are cycling your way through India. In these moments Joe’s Dive Bar becomes the only place you want to be.
3. When You’re Sick
At home, you probably have someone that takes care of you when you fall ill: your mom, your daughter, your husband. Getting sick on the road without this person can really make you appreciate them, how they make you chicken soup, run to CVS to pick up Tylenol, watch movies on the couch with you while you recooperate. It can also be upsetting thinking about how your illness is keeping you from doing the travel activities you’d be hoping to do.
4. When You Realize You’re Missing The Finale Of Your Favorite TV Series
…And that before you get a chance to rent it on Netflix you’ll have read all about it on Facebook. Seriously, social media should have some kind of spoiler alert filter.
5. When You Don’t Have Hot Water Or Have To Pay For It
One thing you can always count on at home (unless you’re me and live in Bushwick in a building from the 1400s) is a hot shower. I’ve encountered this situation many times in non-western countries — often even when they advertise hot water (“oops! Sorry. It’s not working right now”) — and it can be very frustrating. I especially hate when you have to pay for hot water. I once stayed at a hostel in Switzerland that made me insert a coin every into the shower every two minutes to keep it working. It made showering go from something I looked forward to a chore. At that moment, I wanted nothing more than to be back in New York, not needing to bring my change purse into the bathroom.
6. When Your Hostel Mate Snores
Nothing can make you miss home more than a situation that keeps you from sleeping, like another backpacker who’s sawing logs in the bed next to you. Personally, I live in New York City and have become accustomed to the sounds of street noise and above-ground trains. Because of this, it can be difficult to fall asleep in very quiet places.
7. When You Can’t Drink The Water
Living in a western country, it’s sometimes easy to forget that having free drinking water pouring out of the kitchen sink with a simple turn of a knob is considered a luxury to some. Go to a place where the water is not safe to drink and you’ll appreciate this more.
8. When Two Cities Look So Close On A Map But To Get From One To The Other You Have To Take A 20-Hour Train Ride
Same goes for when you have to take a smelly bus with no bathroom for 20 hours. If only you had your Honda Civic right now!
What situations on the road help you appreciate home?