Whenever I mention I have lived abroad, the same reaction immediately spreads across a person’s face.
Their eyes widen, they become more high pitched than normal as they emit “Really!!” or “Wow! That must have been amazing!” from their mouths.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve encountered this same reaction.
The one common denominator among them is that the person showing amazement has never lived abroad themselves.
To those people, it appears to be an idyllic existence. Life in a foreign country must be like heaven!
What they don't realise is it's not.
Apart from the differing customs, language, food, things are much the same.
You wake up, go to work, do your shopping and go to bed. The only difference is the country you live in.
Once you become accustomed to living abroad, it can be remarkably hard to adjust when you return home.
The problem being…
Nowhere feels like home!
I’ve spent the last five years travelling and living in various places around the world.
Recently, I decided to stay in England instead of returning to Spain to work.
Settling back into life here has been strange.
That said, I struggled, really struggled, living in Spain.
Adapting to the culture was much harder than I envisioned.
Little things such as shops being closed on Sundays were difficult to overcome. The pace was slower than I was used to, I felt like I was I fast-forward compared to everyone else.
The irony is I yearned to return to England. Somewhere I was familiar with. Somewhere I had connections.
Life would be easier in England, I thought.
I was wrong.
After years away, I no longer feel at home in England. Everything is familiar, yet everything feels different at the same time.
The people, the streets, the smells, they are all the same. Yet, the way I look at them has changed.
I see the world differently now, to how I saw it five years ago.
That is the crux. I have changed, but the people and the place that I left behind have barely changed.
I feel like a man without a country, a man without a home.
An outsider in my country and any other.