Things I Don’t Miss About Home That I Thought I Would

I’ve been travelling for about 5 months straight now… a pretty freaking long time fo most people in the world. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how well my expectation matched up with the reality of long-term travel. Some things have worked out exactly how I planned, and other’s not so much. One thing I’ve realized is that I can actually do without a lot of the comforts of home quite easily. Much more easily than I could have anticipated.

Things that I Surprisingly Do Not Miss:

My travel uniform

  • My wardrobe– At home I had a lot of clothes- something for every possible occasion and then some. Now, I consider myself a fashion success if I don’t wear the same t-shirt three days in a row. If we conveniently ignore my fashion freak out last week, downsizing to an absolutely tiny wardrobe has been no problem at all. I barely even notice anymore.

  • Wearing make-up– On a similar note, I used to wear make-up every single day- to work, to the bars, wherever. Now I might put on a little mascara and eye shadow if I’m going out on the town, but otherwise I am fresh faced every single day. No hair dryers or straightening irons either. And the weird thing is I really don’t think I look any different than I did before.

    I have even LESS stuff now

  • Owning Stuff– This really ties in with the top two. Before I left I was pretty worried with how I would deal with living out of a backpack without all of the amenities I’d been so used to all my life. Turned out it really hasn’t been a big deal. I have the things I need, I find the things I don’t and when it comes down to it- I really don’t need all that much.

    Karaoke in China

  • My Social LifeI super love my friends, and at home I used to go out to happy hours, sporting events and bars on a multi-weekly basis. Nowadays I’m usually too tired, or busy working to go out most nights. But that’s okay, when I DO manage to get out I meet all sorts of interesting new people, instead of being clustered with my friends at the table in the corner. Plus, beer is cheaper here anyway.

    Yummy wantons in Shanghai

  • Western Food- I get the occasional serious Mexican food craving, but usually I’m too busy eating awesome local food to care. Anyways, if I’m seriously jonesing, a slice of pizza is usually not too far away.


  • Diet Coke– This one’s a cheat- turns out you can find coke products pretty much anywhere in the world, so my addiction can continue unchallenge.

What are some things that you thought you would miss about home, but shockingly have not?

37 Responses to Things I Don’t Miss About Home That I Thought I Would

  1. Monica February 20, 2011 at 12:14 PM #

    Interesting thoughts! I hadn’t realised how much I don’t miss the things that I thought I would until I read this.

    I also don’t miss clothes, make-up, hair straighteners……but it would be nice to wear some clothes that aren’t stained and misshapen!

    I miss dairy products. I find I crave a icy glass of milk! And when I’m tired, hungover or sick, I really miss my bed and my mum. And it sounds terrible, but I really miss nights infront of the TV with a bar of chocolate. Sometimes I splash out on a nice hotel with movie channels so I can do this!

  2. Dave February 20, 2011 at 1:13 PM #

    I agree with Monica about missing my bed at home when I’m sick, hungover, or especially tired. But now that I sold my actual bed out of storage, it’s just the concept I’ll miss. 🙂

  3. Caroline in the City February 20, 2011 at 5:07 PM #

    I’m with you, but my addiction is regular Coke! Thank God I’ve found it everywhere, but I must admit that it tastes slightly different Down Under.

    I’ve only been gone a month but so far haven’t missed much other than Mexican food, friends and family and having everything in one place. I’m starting to resent having to re-pack everything back into the backpack every few days.

    Hope you’re having a blast!

    • Stephanie April 29, 2013 at 11:02 AM #

      If you’re from the US, the reason it tastes different is because it is sweetened with real cane sugar instead of the high fructose corn syrup that they use over there.

  4. Gillian @OneGiantStep February 20, 2011 at 7:12 PM #

    I loved the freedom of having a very limited wardrobe and find that, now that I’m back home, I still wear a very small portion of my wardrobe. I stopped wearing makeup on the road…and still don’t (except for a little concealer and some lip gloss). I love it! Cheers!

  5. Amanda February 20, 2011 at 7:19 PM #

    I’m actually kind of jealous that you had a good excuse to become liberated from your “things.” But I’m also glad to hear that you aren’t really missing many of those things now that you don’t have them. Crazy how we can get by so little, isn’t it?

  6. Candice February 20, 2011 at 8:12 PM #

    Hahah, hilarious. I noticed the make-up thing about ME too…I don’t bother with it so much on the road, and I still look the same in all my photos…

  7. Lauren Fritsky February 20, 2011 at 8:30 PM #

    It’s funny realizing how much you can live without. I agree on the wardrobe and makeup points.

  8. Connie February 21, 2011 at 6:06 AM #

    I think the biggest change that takes place is our perspective on things. Back home I was much the same. Clothes, not to mention the shoes (oh so many shoes!) for every possible occasion, cabinets full of make up and perfume (it must be mentioned that I hardly wore either one when I was living in NYC either) and the idea of wearing anything twice in a row was enough to induce a mild heart attack. Now, two years on the road later, I put blush on for “fancy” occasions, wash my dingy underwear in the hotel sink before putting it on the very next morning and have about 4 shirts and 2 pants to choose from. And I don’t even bat my lashes twice! I’ve definitely learned what I can do without in life.

  9. Rease February 21, 2011 at 1:29 PM #

    I miss the sense of urgency in the States and I miss food, but I am doing fine. I don’t miss my stuff at all that much though.

  10. Irina Sazonova February 21, 2011 at 4:19 PM #

    I’ve also let go of most material possessions. I can’t say I particularly miss anything, but it turned out I’m slightly attached to Russian food. So I actually made borsch for the first time in my life and some vegetable sauces, etc. I’m pretty amazed by that actually, I don’t even like Russian food all that much.

  11. Erin February 22, 2011 at 11:37 AM #

    I love that it’s a success if you don’t wear the same t-shirt 3 days in a row…that’s kind of awesome!! I’m sure it’s sort of a relief to let go of most of what you thought would be necessities!

  12. Rebecca February 22, 2011 at 3:28 PM #

    I thought I would miss my tv shows more (so lame, I know) but I really didn’t. I loved exploring and discovering new shows whenever I had the opportunity in whatever country I was in.

    • Steph February 26, 2011 at 9:34 AM #

      I miss 30 rock i must say! Everything else- meh.

  13. Maggie February 22, 2011 at 3:29 PM #

    I didn’t really miss food much when I spent a semester in Japan. Well, I did, but like you said, not really enough to actually do anything about it. I think I broke down once and HAD to find a KFC, and after I ate my meal that was nothing like American KFC, I didn’t have another Western craving again!
    I’d love to hear what you miss the most!

    • Steph February 26, 2011 at 6:35 AM #

      I had KFC at the airport in China and thought it was way tastier then American KFC!

      Post about what I DO miss is coming shortly 🙂

  14. Claire February 23, 2011 at 4:30 PM #

    It’s funny how quickly our ideas of how we must present ourselves to the world change when we are reduced to a backpack of belongings and not much more! My idea of dressing up when on the road long term was the addition of some earrings, a clean shirt, and the flip flops that were the cleanest 😉

    • Steph February 26, 2011 at 6:25 AM #

      Yup the other night I put on earrings and really felt quite fancy!

  15. Sally February 23, 2011 at 5:54 PM #

    When I just had one bag, I really actually kind of did miss my clothes. Or at least having options & not having to wear the same thing everyday. But now that I had to up my belongings to two bags (I’m working, so I actually need to show up in real pants… as opposed to capris or some weird concoction I came up with in a Thai market), it’s kind of stressful getting dressed in the morning. I don’t even have that many clothes — but it’s just enough to give me options. Ahhhh! Options!

    • Steph February 26, 2011 at 6:17 AM #

      It’s funny how stressful having options ends up being.

  16. Melissa February 24, 2011 at 1:40 PM #

    I can’t agree with you on one thing– I miss Mexican food like crazy!!! I would kill someone for a burrito right about now.

    • Steph February 26, 2011 at 6:16 AM #

      Oh no, I MISS it. I just KNEW I would miss it.

  17. Aly February 24, 2011 at 9:20 PM #

    I’ve been back more or less “settled” for a bit now and I still haven’t bothered filling up my closets. I used to just walk around with a little bit of cash in one front pocket and my ID/debit card hidden in another pocket so I never had to carry around a purse. Becoming free of the purse was such an amazing thing that I have to force myself to take one out now!! 🙂
    But you can always find coke ANYWERE! Back in the 80s my parents found us vending machines full of cold cokes on a hot sunny day in the middle of small fishing village on one of the small southern most islands of Japan!

    • Steph February 26, 2011 at 6:14 AM #

      It’s true, Coke is the world’s great unifier!

  18. Sarah February 27, 2011 at 3:23 PM #

    What I found most interesting, was that like you, I didn’t miss much about home (aside from the occasional burrito and my friends and family) either. However, as soon as I got home, all those comforts and things I had downsized or cut, quickly came back into my life.

    It’s been amazing to see how quickly you can adjust to not having something (like a wardrobe) and being perfectly cool with it. Now that I’m home though, that shopping kick went back into full force and my closet once again seems to be bursting at the seams. How quickly we RE-adjust to the comforts of a home life.

    Though, I’d still trade my full closet for a backpack and journal full of adventures any day.

    • Steph March 6, 2011 at 11:32 AM #

      Eeee, this makes perfect sense to me as I’ve experienced it in the past. Not sure I’ll ever be able to go back to a full face of make up though.

  19. Michael February 28, 2011 at 5:56 PM #

    This is great! I can totally relate to the “being too tired to go out” part….whenever I’m on the road I do so much during the day that staying out all night is the last thing on my mind.

    • Steph March 6, 2011 at 11:26 AM #

      Glad it’s not just me. I feel like such a stick in the mud sometimes!

  20. Andrea March 3, 2011 at 12:59 PM #

    I feel so connected to you considerig the pants I recommended made it into your travel uniform. Does that makeup for me taking all your clothes when you left??

    • Steph March 6, 2011 at 11:15 AM #

      haha, it’s all a big circle somehow…

  21. Angie Orth March 3, 2011 at 11:12 PM #

    Love this post! I’m only two months into my trip and I confess I am tired of wearing the same clothes. But I’m with you on the rest of the points. Will keep following your journey!

    • Steph March 6, 2011 at 11:07 AM #

      I’m not saying I’d refuse some new ones….

  22. Katie April 7, 2011 at 11:17 AM #

    Ditto on the western food. And I’m pretty sure EVERYONE in the world knows the words “hello,” “okay,” and “Coke.”

  23. Vacay Girl March 4, 2012 at 7:44 AM #

    I have not made my big move yet (next year) but I have often wondered about what certain things I would miss. I found myself wondering it about my favorite Chinese restaurant right by my house. Will I find a tasty substitute in Mexico? I’m pretty sure I will. And since I’m moving to live in one spot I’m quite the opposite to most of you when it comes to clothes. I’m buying, buying and buying more clothes because I know when I get there my money that I’m saving now won’t allow me the room to go on shopping sprees any more.

    But as far as family, I currently live in Kentucky but originally from Texas and only see my fam and friends once a year anyway and I think I’ll be able to continue that anyway. But I think people are resilient and can find that they can do without more than they realize. You all are here to prove that. Happy travels to all!

  24. Aryn April 30, 2012 at 11:07 AM #

    BACON!!!! I’m about to embark on my gap year and I’ll be spending around 4-5 months (maybe more, pretty open-ended trip) in Islamic or majority Muslim countries where bacon is not to be found. Even spending short periods of time in Turkey and Dubai I’ve found that I really, really, REALLY miss my bacon and egg sandwiches.

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