Once you’ve traveled the world and caught that darn wanderlust bug, it can be easy to become discontent living a ‘normal’ life back home. And while I think we can all use a healthy dose of discontentedness to prevent us from getting too comfortable or complacent, it isn’t a big jump to becoming dissatisfied with most everything. Ever meet that person who is constantly complaining about America and how better everything is elsewhere in the world? Yeah, sorry for the times that’s been me.
I’ve learned the hard way that this can be a really unhealthy attitude — it’s unproductive and only makes those around you miserable, unless, of course, they are in the same boat (misery does love company). So, while I love the Brits (come on, they’ve got this guy, this girl, and this girl), I’m proud of who I am and therefore proud to be an American.
For me, a part of embracing the “at home” as much as I do the “on the road” is getting involved in the community I’m in. The here and now. Only God knows how long I’ll be here, so why not try to make the most of it?
To get out of the I-just-want-to-be-anywhere-but-here mindset, I need to get up, move, and do something other than sit at home and watch TV. One way I’ve that I’ve tried to “move” is to teach ESL in my local community. The last school year I had the privilege to partner with a local church’s ESL program in our community. I was honestly surprised by how many different ethnicities were represented within our program — I hadn’t known my little town was so diverse! It has been a humbling way to get involved locally and constantly reminds me that I don’t even need to leave the area to experience other cultures.
And while I think I will always have a desire to travel and explore, teaching ESL has taught me I don’t need to run off to another continent to do grand things or learn about new cultures. I’m still just getting started exploring what is in my own backyard.