What did you miss while abroad?
It finally happened. I had to go back and face the United States, my so-called home, after the horrible election last year. It’s been nice to have found out about the election results while in Buenos Aires, and to keep my distance from the disaster that keeps on happening over and over again.
But after almost a year away, I had to go back. I first stopped to visit my family in Chicago. It was intense. Maybe the most intense was when I reached out to a friend and started planning a way to meet up. To come up with an activity, he asked me a simple question:
“What did you miss while abroad?”
I searched, but my mind was completely blank. The truth is, the only thing I was excited about was getting Amazon deliveries to restock some products I prefer. When I thought about it more, I could think of some healthy food options, like avocado toast… But I did just come from Thailand, where I was able to get a perfect avocado toast, with dragon fruit! So I guess deliveries of a few products was all I missed…
This made me super sad. Most people miss things about their home. But all the things that I missed were things from abroad. Fresh coconut in Thailand, colorful clothes in India, sushi in Japan, hiking in Italy, Blue Lagoon in Iceland, the fresh summer air of Norway, and the list goes on and on and on… but nothing excited me about the United States. I even started getting my medical treatments abroad.
As my family visit continued, I only became more sad. All the things that I took for granted growing up in the suburbs of Chicago were no longer truth. I was living on illusions created by the consumerist culture of the United States, that is meant to trap you into endless loans and make you work and work and work in your place forever contributing to someone else’s bank account…
I no longer had a connection with my family. They all like my travel pictures, but they most of all want me to settle down, get married, have children, buy a house, etc. My grandma refuses to believe that I can be happy without a husband and children.
When I first started out as a nomad, I still thought of myself as someone who just travels the world. I could always return to the United States if things got bad. But after seeing those election results, that part of me that considered the United States a safe place to go back to has died. I just didn’t realize how dead it was until I came to visit.
What is safety when anyone can carry a gun? What is safety if so many people can’t get proper healthcare? What is safety when education cost is inflated to such ridiculous levels? What is safety when an apple costs so much more than any disgusting corn-syrup-infused food that the government itself is subsidizing? What is safety when the police themselves are brutally killing innocent people of color? What is safety when the orange President of the United States supports Nazi rallies?
I ordered a new passport with 52 extra blank pages. Once I get it, I will not be coming back to the United States any time soon.