‘Is that a Nandos I see before me?’ The Homesick Dilemma

There are so many things I miss about home. Although travelling and being away is wonderful and illuminating, there are certain things that you cannot get, or are just not the same.
The number one of those things being; Nandos.
A ‘cheeky Nandos’ if you will.

Apologies to friends and family; I love you all, but I miss Nandos.
Nandos is the steadfast way to my heart. Along with glitter, whiskey, mint Aeros, inherent sarcasm, cheese and obscure general knowledge. The day that whilst exploring Kula Lumpur, Katie and I stumbled onto that fine and delicious establishment with screams of: ‘is that….A NANDOS?!’ was quite literally one of the happiest days of my life. I am not difficult to please. A large part of me wants to go home just to get a medium mushroom and haloumi wrap. If by the end of this post I am not a black-card holder at Nandos; I will feel genuinely hurt and cheated on by my greatest love.

I am also going to put it out there and I hope I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings,
Australia; your Nandos is shit.

Missing home is something that hasn’t left me from day one of travelling. From the minute I departed the UK, regardless of my top-level excitement, the gigantic waterfall scene that I caused when leaving my four-legged loves of my life indicated that I was going to have an issue.

The wonderful distractions the world brings with it kept the feelings of homesickness at bay, and a lot of the time got rid of them completely. I’ve been busy having experiences that were and are entirely preferable over a job for minimum wage that involved getting up at 6am every weekend and telling people where the milk was. Climbing a mountain, exploring temples and villages, going to the beach every day, practicing actual health-ish (that one’s quite new), planning a new trip, or doing things on a complete whim, living a different lifestyle; the freedom an essentially new life brings. Being around the most fabulous people, making gorgeous friends, having new capabilities, and being able to spend time with my nearest and dearest, have been some of the best moments of my life thus far; but let’s face it, nothing can rival those you left behind, and to me at least; home is well and truly where the heart is.
(Or where my dogs are, or my family, or my friends, or Nandos, or my wardrobe…)

Now, after having travelled and also settled for a while, I can’t help but ask myself the question,
eight months in; Am I ready to come home?

A year ago, I had reached a stage in my UK life where nothing was for me any more. I had just finished my Master’s degree, and beyond those I loved I had no real feeling of drive or direction, and a complete fear of commitment in a ‘forever job’: a lack of career, money and love life, but a vast selection of animal print shoes and sass. As discussed in a previous blog post which was received with a general furore as well as a backlash, I don’t want that ‘traditional’ dynamic of life. That is not however to say I do not want those traditional things, I’ve just never been about a predetermined order, or something that hasn’t become personalised to me, and ultimately something as a single/skint person you cannot do.

Life at home didn’t interest me anymore; I felt a need for something more, and to enter the cliché world of ‘finding myself’ somewhere else, as she was definitely not in Surrey. This is something I would have laughed at and definitely mocked previously, but now know to be an actual thing. The levels of self-confidence, self-determination and direction; all of the things you think about you and your life all needed an overhaul. I missed that sarcastic and chilled kid. She got replaced by an over-thinking, overly-emotional pessimist who actually forgot to SMILE a lot of the time.
At home I had made a mental decision to pursue a time of doing things for other people to make them happy, whilst I could not make myself so; but how could I possibly make others feel it, if I couldn’t get there? I may have RBF- resting bitch face, but I am an absolute hoot, and I had simply forgotten it.

So I left, I sorted that part out; lets not elaborate on the number of beaches I have been to,
but it has been fabulous.

However, no matter how happy I became somewhere, the dilemma of homesickness is very real, and at times I have genuinely cried because I have missed everyone, and there have been real events I’ve missed that have fully warranted the pain and the tears.

I feel like the worst friend in the world not being there to help and support them. That through a phone call (I hate talking on the phone so I don’t dish those out to just anyone, they are like gold dust) or a text message, I cannot convey how much I care for that friend and am willing them to be ok. To get down the pub with them and talk about some guys crusty love life. I also cannot instil fear with one eyebrow lift into the partners of my friends/my bosses, without being there in person. Equally, I cannot come home just to be a good friend/family member/Superdrug reward card holder, however incredibly much I miss everyone and everything.

It feels like when you are there nothing happens, but as soon as you leave, everyone you know, their second cousins and Love Island are having some sort of fresh drama.

Because I inevitably ran out of money and had to settle for a while and get a job, this attitude I have always hated of ‘living for the weekend’ is now very real in my situation, particularly in a place I don’t feel I relate to. It’s not travelling any more once you start going grocery shopping and have a hot water bottle. I love my friends, my housemates and my family, and I have had and am having such brilliant times, but earning money in exchange for nothing ‘at the moment’ isn’t what I am about. I’m saving for more travelling, but the thought of carrying that backpack again, and having to answer questions of ‘where have you been, where are you going?’ in every single hostel, and being surrounded by 18 year olds with dream catcher tattoos, and a chain-smoking habit they developed yesterday is not something I relish.

No one talks about this stage, where you are having a serious dilemma about what to do next.
Beside a Nandos, and those I love, the main thing I miss is sarcasm. The world and I together are built on a foundation of sarcasm and also attitude, which the British display like a badge of honour and I cannot do without it. We do not take any shame from littering our sentences with profanities, nor are we insulted by them.
We do this all the while using the best manners, opening doors for other people, muttering crazily to ourselves when we trip in public and casually making the sign that someone is a wanker across the office.

I miss the complete judgment of those around you but never actually condemning anyone for it, and having a laugh at your own expense. I miss road rage, I miss the full extension of manners, I miss toad-in-the-hole, I miss the Tube, I miss decent live music, I miss Greggs, I miss the ACTUAL THAMES for god’s sake and I miss the freedom of everyone around me knowing me, and knowing that 95% of the time I’m actually being nice and not insulting. That my face is not angry but in fact very happy. I miss showing everyone how much I love them, yet also calling them twats. I miss the confidence I have of being fully me, around those who love me for it. I don’t care what people think, and I don’t put on a pretence but when you’re on the other side of the planet alone; you kinda need some friends.

Holding my tongue is most definitely not my forte, and even at 27 lets just face it; I am too old for that shit.

So, now that I have been ‘found’ and have reached an age where I can admit things about myself such as that I am short-tempered, occasionally crazy, have great legs but pig ribs, and I hate people about half the time; can the feeling of homesickness actually bring me home? The temptation of some Peri-Peri chips is nearly enough for me to hop on a plane, but that cannot possibly be a legitimate reason. Was the point of this trip to find myself, to see the world, or was it just to see if I could exist elsewhere? I am not sure any more. So I have reached a new stage in both travelling and life where I need to decide if it’s home or away. Australia pun SO intended. There are so many places I want to go in the world and things I want to do, when do you know that you need to stop for now, regroup and go from there?

I think its ok to at some stage to realise you just want to be at home, and that too sometimes you want to be away. That doesn’t make me less adventurous or boring. Wanting to stay wouldn’t make me selfish either. No one talks about this middle stage where you can want both things, and also cannot make a decision on it and stress your little socks off about what move to make next and become dependant on gin. I can make a list of so many things that I miss about home, but also a list of all the things I love about not being there and where I want to go next. I absolutely love the UK, no matter the situation it gets into or what happens there, its my home, I love the shit out of the Queen, and my thoughts will drift to pastures green and M4’s busy; as well as the epic coming home party I’ll be having.

A close friend of mine; Zoe would tell me to flip a coin. I much prefer mental stress, and texting everyone I know that little face that looks like its stepped on some Lego.

So, I have no conclusion here, no right or wrong answer. I am waiting for a sign.

Or to see if my Nando’s craving gets the better of me.


M x

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