#2.197 – A Stranger In His Own Land

#2.197 - A Stranger In His Own Land
#2.197 - back
sent from: Esher, Surrey, UK. destination: Singapore, Malaysia

This week I turned down what many would consider the opportunity of a lifetime, though it would have involved moving far away. I chose to stay and it’s a good choice, too. I want to stay. Still, as I hear about other friends flinging themselves around the world, I feel the pull of the unknown, the call of adventure.
My parents, however deliberately or simply through sheer necessity, found themselves living somewhere where anyone who met them knew instantly that they weren’t “from around there.” They’d come from somewhere else, they’d left their homes, and to an extent that defined how others saw them. How I saw them. They had stories of home, of a place not nearby, a place they’d left and could measure themselves by how they regarded it from afar.
When I lived in the USA I realise now how I reveled in that myself. I had a place to pine for, to miss, to eulogise and feel melancholic about. It was across an ocean and an entire continent. Now I’m back in the area where I grew up and to the casual observer, I might never have left. I feel ordinary. One of the crowd. When Americans living in the UK gather to celebrate public holidays they do it without me – I’m one of you, I want to cry, can’t you see?
I’m not sure when or under what circumstances I might move away again. For now I watch as friends embark on their adventures to places unknown, and know that I am home.

4 thoughts on “#2.197 – A Stranger In His Own Land

  1. Sometimes this is how I feel about my hometown. Sometimes this is how I'm told to feel as well. I catch up with friends I started adventures with and they – particularly those who are still having adventures or starting new ones – ask me: Why aren't YOU haven't adventures too?

  2. Thanks Jess. Yeah. I'm a firm believer in both travel *and* finding adventure in ones own backyard.

    When Maria read the card, she read the last line as not expressing satisfaction, more resignation. I didn't intend that, but I don't reject that interpretation.

    It's corny, but I do think being adventurous is an attitude, a state of mind.

    For me this card was more a reflection on my realisation that being 'from somewhere else', ie. a foreigner – both as an internal and external definition is something I hold onto quite strongly, and that's been a struggle now that I'm somewhere where everyone simply identifies me as being from here and no where else.

  3. Yea, I think it's normal if I am sometimes feeling like I am finding/having adventures and sometimes not (state of mind, perhaps)… but I think it's kind of funny how some might naturally assume that I am *not* having adventures. (is it simply because I am home or is it something about my character?)

    Are you feeling excluded from the “from somewhere else” identity? Or are you being assimilated into a “from here” identity?

  4. To answer your second question – yes, I am excluded from the “from somewhere else”, I think. I think people assume I am “from here”, because I just look and sound like everyone else. It's an odd muddle.

    As for the first question, I think it is natural to assume that someone who lives “at home” (or is perceived to live there) might also be perceived to be less adventurous. But then the fun part about all of this is that you can subvert people's expectations and surprise them with photos or stories about the places you've been…

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