A Traveler’s Return: Suburban Connecticut And The Meaning Of Property

A Traveler’s Return

A traveler’s ideas on the strangest and most unfamiliar component of any trip: coming residence.

By Alexandra Bregman

A Traveler’s Guise

Outdoors my hometown, Connecticut was a dirty word. I under no circumstances desired to tell any individual I was from Westport, Connecticut, the original area of the “Martha Stewart Display,” of the authentic movie “The Stepford Wives,” the stuff of headbands and sailboats. To me, telling a New Yorker of my Connecticut origins was like stamping a “spoiled” indicator on my forehead and striving to make clear to foreigners in which Connecticut was commonly boiled down to a brief “it’s near New York.” Admitting the truth conjured pictures of pastels and cold blondes, not of a welcoming home.

It is vital to note that in spite of my connotations, I often knew Connecticut was not exactly Dante’s “Inferno.” The contradiction, whether I admitted it or not, was that I resented having so a great deal to value as a rambunctious adventurer. Connecticut may well be pretty, but my good fear was of obtaining as well relaxed, devoid of ever seeing the world.

A Traveler’s Eyes

Like several angst-ridden suburban youths keen to renounce a Lexus-packed hometown, I went to Europe for a yr. The workout of fleeing to a additional cultured continent is an age-previous ritual. Before I left, each and every PTA mom and school pupil was spilling stories of their massive journeys, recollecting all the things from a handful of weeks in Spain or a questionable fling with some Swedish ladies in a tent. Every story, every single “Europe will transform your life” comment, all felt just as false as my disillusionment with Connecticut. I had the notion that if I went to Europe, I could sincerely define myself and escape the mundane clichés for excellent.

I stayed with a extremely form host family in Paris for a 12 months, and with a historically light French academic schedule — fraught with university strikes — I traveled extensively, profiting from all that Europe had to give. I ate baguettes and fancy cheese, I took extended walks along the Seine, I went to museums for totally free. Basically, I lived the glamor I’d always aspired to. It was amazing.

A 12 months is a lengthy time. I did not go household. The memory of bland suburban residing was fading speedy, replaced each and every day by European adventures: the roar of SUVs was replaced with the hum of Bateaux Mouches, Hersheys was replaced with Lindt Swiss chocolate, and I traded in my sneakers for some now properly-worn sparkly higher heels. Can you think it nearly received previous? I could only see so a lot of cathedrals, galleries, and suspiciously friendly foreigners in advance of I started to wonder what I was missing back in North America. My heart would flutter if I heard a native English speaker on the street. An American speaker in essence sent me into cardiac arrest. As I inched closer, listening intently. Right after 9 months, I was finally homesick.

A Traveler’s Smart

9 months older than when I initially set off, I returned residence to the same acquainted faces, houses, and Starbucks. All the points I disliked about Connecticut before I left had been nonetheless there, but somehow they produced me smile. At initial, coming back to the United States felt like an Anthropological review. “Wow,” I’d think, “Look at people men in suits. Seem at those mothers in their matching silver autos. Everyone has a Blackberry.” Instead of readjusting to household, I was adjusting to some weird, foreign culture.

Considerable travel in excess of the final 12 months had me hopping from nation to country on whirlwind vacations, which forced me to make mates and adjust to a new area within a maximum of two weeks. Back in the United States, I made use of the exact same abilities I’d realized abroad to get to know the unfamiliar, with the trademark positivity that led me to enjoy so many new cities. Tricks of the trade, like social spontaneity, researching culture and history of a area, and enjoying regional food items made my town open up as a cultural bastion well worth discovering about, rather than the barricade of hostility I’d imagined it to be.

Instead of going to Starbucks and the mall, I went to my favored regional restaurant and the seaside, allowing historical past and the landscape of the region get on their own lifestyle. I did not contact old acquaintances for the sake of it, but I made day-to-day connections and discovered about distinctive people’s lives. With no the pressure of permanence I’d felt growing up, I felt like discovering rather than leaving. I’m not trapped here in Westport, Connecticut I love my hometown for what makes it one of a kind.

Thus, I combined travel savvy and pent-up homesickness into appreciation. Despite the fact that the anthropology of seeing my town with new eyes is fascinating, the worth of enduring connections is also newly meaningful. Seeing my family members and mates has under no circumstances been so substantial, since I’d under no circumstances been away from residence that prolonged. My 12 months of travel taught me to often keep moving, but it also taught me the value of staying in a single area. As I continue to see the world, I know it will proceed to educate me the corny but worthwhile meaning of Dorothy’s phrases in “The Wizard of Oz”: There truly is no place like residence.



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