Things that you lose when you become a traveler


All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter into another.

Last seven days I spend in Poland visiting my parents. During those days I had a plenty of time for thinking about my past – in particular, about my childhood and the time before I started to travel. When taking pictures of my family’s summer house a lot of memories suddenly started to come back. Memories from childhood and early teenage years. Holidays in the summer house, days in the middle-school, fun memories from the scout camps and good times with my friends from the high school. Unfortunately, my happy growing up days were disturbed by a lot of unpleasant occurrences that made me leave Poland in search for better places, better people and better days. I started to travel, moved abroad and decided to never come back. The life that I used to have started to fade away and after few years, as the quotation from the beginning of this post says, “I die to one life”.

You might say that it sounds way too drastic but this is exactly what happened. I wanted a change, a new life and a new self – got it all but paid a price. Those memories from the past are really blurry now and sometimes, they don’t even feel real. I realized, that the only thing that remains the same are my parents and the house that I grow up in. Yes, I know every corner of my hometown, all the buses lines, coffee shops and stores, but this place seems so strange and unfamiliar now. Every time I come back home I remember the painful truth – so little connect me with my hometown and my childhood. I changed so much that I simply don’t fit into that reality anymore. I’m not trying to say that things out there didn’t change  – they did but in a different way that, most of the times, I can’t understand.

I never thought that it will be so hard to be back home. I didn’t imagine, that most of the times I won’t be able to understand anything of what’s going on there. Joanna from the past would understood it for sure but the current one honestly doesn’t get a thing. Things irritate me, bore me and upset me. Yes,  I gave up on the old self that was able to see the world the same way as her parents or friends from school do but I wasn’t really prepared for losing the ability of connecting with that world. Unfortunately, this is what happened and as much as I don’t miss my younger self I do miss understanding my family members and the culture I was raised in.

Everyone will tell you that travelling will make you evaluate your values, goals and dreams. You will doubt some of your believes and as a result you will grow wiser and become more self-aware.  Everyone will tell you that  thanks to travelling you will meet amazing people and establish life-long friendships and that you will understand the world better. That’s all true but…

Nobody will warn you that once you take this path there is no way back. Nobody will tell you that you will lose most of your home-staying friends because you will change so much that after few years you will have nothing in common with them. Nobody will tell you that all kind of experiences will make you doubt every single thing that you believed in and that many times instead of understanding the world better you will feel like you don’t get anything anymore. Nobody will tell you, that in the end of the day, you will pay a big price for leaving your home and changing so much.

I don’t regret taking this crazy and insecure path. I don’t regret any day that I spent traveling and living abroad, I also don’t regret that I left the old Joanna behind. I’m happy with my choices and I cherish my life in every possible way but sometimes, just sometimes, I wish I could turn back the time and feel like I fit in the place that I come from and that I connect to my parents and old friends the way I used to did.

  1. August 8, 2014

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