Loving Home, Putting Up with Change, Knowing Myself
I’ve never been much of a traveler. My family and friends know I’m more of a homebody. As a kid, I would cry before going away to weekend Brownie camp or a friend’s sleepover, I would even be inconsolable going to a summer day camp where I didn’t know anybody, despite the fact my mom would pick me up every day after work (sorry mom). Even now going away for more than a few nights will trigger my homesickness, often before I’ve even left the airport or train terminal. Thankfully my sisters know to say “You’ll be fine P! You’re going to have a great time! You can do it!” like I’m still that 8-year-old clutching a photo of my family as I hold back tears when the school bus for weekend Brownie camp pulls out of the parking lot. (Yes, I was “that” kid). On a recent trip to Cuba (my first trip down south and solo with my dad) my sisters sent that same message in our sister group chat a couple of hours before takeoff, which helped me manage in the airport as that 30-year-old woman who was already excitedly thinking about being back in her own bed in a week. And yes, for anyone interested, my dad and I both survived the week together.
I just don’t like change.
While I can manage change and have accepted it’s inevitable, I don’t have to like it. I have always preferred the comforts and familiarity of home, the people I know and the life I’ve established. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried new things and met new people in my life but usually within those comfortable and familiar places. Not at a night club in Morocco on a last-minute trip, or at skydiving lessons in Australia where I’m studying abroad. I’ve taken risks with jobs, and met great people at different organizations who have taught me a ton. As my career as a rugby coach grew I took on larger and more important roles which has lead to a lengthy list of connections I’ve made, players I’ve coached and teammates who’ve become family. I’ve visited friends when they’ve moved to different cities, sometimes for a second thinking “I love it here, maybe I should consider moving out west/east/north/south” only to then actually think about moving away from my current life and shaking the sense back into my brain as the mere thought of moving initiates that bubbling feeling of homesickness. One time I actually impressed myself by spending a solid few weeks looking for jobs in another city after a visit to a friend. I think the moon and sun were just off cycle for a few weeks. Sorry Tash.
My friends would say I’m pretty easy when it comes to food. If we have to pick a restaurant or snacks to buy I’m pretty flexible. I’m not a fan of seafood but also love my dad’s salmon (I’m convinced he should open a restaurant when he retires, people really need to back me on this). But again, that comes down to familiarity and comfort; sure I’m pretty easy to please in Canada ordering pizza or making honey glazed chicken and mashed potatoes or eating whatever salad my aunt puts in front of me, but my dad was annoyed in Cuba when I wouldn’t try different foods at first. Again, happy to try different foods but at my own pace and when I want to. As I got more familiar and comfortable at the resort, I was willing to try different foods and branch out. Just maybe not fast enough for my dad “you can’t have French fries for every meal” (btw yes I can – I’m an ADULT).
I’ve never even been interested in traveling. When friends or family have gone on trips I’ve looked at their pictures and said “Wow that’s so nice/cool/interesting/unique/breathtaking / insert adjective!” but not really felt an urge to go see those sights myself. I’m more interested in spending my time, money and vacation days on yet another visit to the wondrous and exciting towns of Sudbury, London, Antigonish, or Quebec to visit my friends. I’m invested in cultivating my friendships, the quality over the quantity. Could I have studied abroad in my undergrad and created connections to friends somewhere foreign? Absolutely (well theoretically; if we ignore the homesickness factor). I can imagine me telling my future children about “that time in Wales…” but I don’t regret not doing that. I don’t regret not traveling or moving away from my hometown. I’m thankful for my tribe I found here regardless of where everyone lives now.
Where once I was made to feel bad about being a homebody, and not taking bigger risks in life, I now stand my ground in knowing who I am and what I like. I will take risks but they’ll be on my own terms and at my own pace. I will try new things and meet new people, but at a time and moment of my choosing. And if things happen spur of the moment, I will go with the flow and see where it takes me (as long as eventually I get back to my own bed). I am who I am, open to opportunities and possibilities but also knowing my limits and my basic needs (French fries). I applaud the people who live for adventure, planning their next solo trek to Machu Picchu, or moving to Iqaluit for a two-year job posting. Or the ones who make friends with people on the bus to Havana and then meet up later for drinks. If that’s your cup of tea, then have fun and enjoy. I’ll support your choices and cheer you on from the comfort of my home (and bed). And while you do those things, I’ll be at the usual rugby pitch coaching my girls, calling my work-wife 5 times a day, taking my cousins to ice cream at the same place we always go, and eating French fries as I FaceTime a gal pal in Guelph. You do you, girl.
Written by: Parisa Rostami
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