This is a post, about my recent revelations, dedicated to my nearest and dearest ❤
I think the freedom of travel is something that everyone should be able to experience. Not so that we can say we’ve seen the world and tick off countries one by one, but to discover our dreams, to explore, to meet incredible people, to learn languages and to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. Up until now, I’ve always thought that I had it sussed – every time I travel I learn new things, my outlook broadens and I leave feeling more accomplished and ready for a bigger challenge. Travelling teaches us so much about what the rest of the world has to offer, but I never realised before that travelling also teaches us more about our HOMETOWNS than about the countries we travel to! And for me, it all comes down to appreciation – the friends and family that wave goodbye to us and then greet us as soon as the plane lands as if they’ve been waiting there the whole time, the houses we have to go home to after months of backpacking or living abroad, the small everyday luxuries that we take for granted, the beauty of our own cities and countries that we’ve forgotten to notice because we’ve become so used to it all. Travelling allows you to fall back in love with your roots, and I can’t believe it’s taken me 20 years, hundreds of plane journeys, 5 continents, and 2 months of living in Russia to realise that home is most definitely where the heart is.
I thrive off interesting places, big cities, green spaces, the beach, the waterfront, the mountains, you name it but in a grey, industrial town like Voronezh I do start to feel a bit trapped. Nothing and nobody inspires me here, the vibe is kind of dull, just like the colour of the buildings, and there’s not a lot to do. I’m aware this sounds sort of depressing, so I want to quickly reassure you that it’s not all doom and gloom (blog post coming soon about October shenanigans) plus, the fact that Voronezh is so ‘blah’ has actually been a great thing for me. I was so used to spending time in beautiful, picturesque places on my travels and I was getting far too comfortable, so it’s probably about time that I expanded that comfort zone just a little bit further. Plus, like I said, it’s strengthened my love for the UK (even Birmingham seems like the Bahamas in comparison), my appreciation for the people in my life and my optimism for the future. Because of that, I am totally content with where I am at this exact moment – I always knew there was a reason I picked Russian!
That said, I do miss a lot of things; which is to be expected when travelling anywhere in the world. This time around I miss dancing, I miss my instruments, I miss singing at the top of my lungs to Disney songs (it doesn’t go down too well with my Russian family, sadly), I miss cooking with my friends and having control over what I eat (no. more. borsch. please.), I miss exercise (never thought I’d say this, but with the minus freezing temperatures, extortionate gym/dance class prices and general disapproval of people who jog here I am realising how much I take keeping fit for granted) and mostly, I miss my friends and family.
I tend not to trust people who don’t have an extensive knowledge of all three High School Musical soundtracks (and I’m talking bonus tracks too, Humuhumunukunukuapua’BYE, if you don’t know them). Ok, I’m just kidding I am super lame, but I do think Russians lack a slight sense of excitement. Everything and everyone is always so boring and serious and I’m really not convinced that ‘Shall we drink some alcohol, smoke and sit/stand around?’ is a legit way to have fun… but apparently that’s just me! Basically, being here has made me very thankful that I’m going home to some of the funniest, most spontaneously weird humans on this planet – Cheers to you guys!
I am completely, utterly, blissfully, fantastically, overwhelmingly in love with my life and I’m so grateful for that. Perhaps that’s exactly why I’m here; I needed to reaffirm this gratitude, to remember that it’s not just about the foreign languages that I’m learning, all the new cultures I’m embracing or which plane tickets I want to book next but it’s also about remembering the people that make all of this worthwhile. So no matter how much or how little I travel, I know now that I can go anywhere in the entire world but I will only be ‘home’ when they are right there with me 😊