Not fitting in is such a strong human fear. As children, we're afraid of not fitting in when we start a new school. And that fear is always present. We learn how to deal with it as we grow older. But our methods vary. Some will adjust their personalities to suit the groups they're around, be a chameleon. Others will simply not care and be themselves no matter what. But no matter what we all have a place or people that we fit in with.
When you leave home and go to another country you worry about it again. Will I fit in culturally? Will I stand out too much? But gradually, you get over it. You meet people, you learn about the culture, and slowly you feel comfortable. This alien world becomes familiar.
You have this experience in enough places and you begin to lose that concern. You feel like you can fit in anywhere. The world starts to feel like home.
But eventually, you do return home.
The familiarity of home is comforting at first. The weather, the sounds, the accents. It's like a warm blanket after a cold night. But it soon begins to feel too hot. The familiarity becomes suffocating. You feel agitated to experience something new. Or long for something you recently discovered. Home begins to feel less like home and more like a temporary stop. The comforts you love begin to feel like limits. You long for more than it can ever offer.
It's probably not a novel concept. It's how small town people seem to feel. I was a small town person once. Then I moved to a bigger town and for a while, it satisfied me. But not long enough. Now I can see the boundaries. The sharp edges that define what I can or can't do at home. I never thought it'd be limitless but I thought the limits would be bigger. Now I'm a small country person. Spoiled by seeing more of the world that I can't just accept this. I can't quietly walk back within these lines and exist. A hunger has grown inside me. I knew it was there but it needed to see the menu.
So what do you do when home feels less like home and more like a time out? What do you do when home feels like an extended vacation? When the world feels more like home than the only place you really know, where do you go?