Destinations Magazine

Finding Home When Traveling the World

By Expatgermany @Laurel_Robbins
traveling the world and finding home

I feel most at home at the top of a mountain, this one is in Kananaksis, near Banff National Park in Canada.

Finding home when traveling the world is one of the great joys of traveling, especially since “home” can appear in the most unexpected places. I find it more than slightly ironic of how good it feels to find “home” when traveling the world since a large part of the reason I am traveling is to get away from home in the first place.

I was reminded of this last weekend when I attended the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour in Stuttgart, Germany. Prior to moving to Germany, I attended the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Banff, Canada every year and always looked forward to it. It is without a doubt my favorite film festival because it brings mountain and adventure stories to the big screen with stunning cinematography. I couldn’t stop smiling for two hours and was thrilled to see the hall packed with so many adventurers with only standing room left for “my” film festival. J.P. (my German fiance was rather confused) “This makes you feel at home, even though none of the 5 films were filmed in Canada?” “Yep” I replied, a piece of home had wangled it’s way into my expat life in Germany.

traveling the world, photo of  bangkok

Bangkok photo courtesy of Bruno on Flickr

Over ten years ago I lived in Bangkok, Thailand and did an internship for the Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce. This position naturally put me in contact with other Canadians, but I was still surprised to see what looked like a familiar name and face when leafing through the Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce Directory. I come from a town of 2500 people in southern Alberta, so seriously what are the chances? I couldn’t put it out of my mind though that perhaps it really was someone that I knew, so after a few days I sent him an email asking him if he was who I though he was. I figured an email would be easier and he could just ignore it if he thought I was crazy. Several minutes later my phone rang, it was him. We spent the next hour talking and would touch base throughout my year in Thailand when one of us needed a break from expat life and a taste of “home” since we knew so many of the same people, as happens when your town is that small.

“Home” really had a way of finding me in Bangkok. As I was meeting the board of directors, one of the board members was politely asking where I was from. I explained that I was from a small town south of Calgary, but that he probably hadn’t heard of it. He asked anyway and I told him and he said, “I know some people from down there.” Oh brother, I thought to myself, are we going to play this game? He was 81 and I was 24. Who could we both possibly know, we ran in slightly different social circles to say the least! Then he asked me “Do you know a J.R, I used to do some farming business with him?” My mouth opened in shock. Not only did I know J.R. but he was my grandfather who had passed on more than 10 years earlier. I couldn’t believe it. Then he went out to name the rest of my uncles, inquiring about what they were up too. When he went back to Calgary for a visit he even phoned my mom to say hello! Of all the places to find “home”, I certainly never thought it would be in Bangkok with an 81 year old man, but I had and we had many good conversations about “home” that year.

Where have you found “home” when traveling the world?

You may also be interested in:
Expat Living: One of the Biggest Challenges
Expatriate Living:  How to Live the Good Life Abroad
Culture Shock in a German Hospital


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