When I came home to California after studying abroad in Paris in summer 2004, I slipped into a solid six months of depression. Studying overseas had an effect on me (as it does everyone) and I had a hard time readjusting to "normal" life back at college in Irvine, with friends and family, with my boyfriend, with my job. I still experience an "adjustment period" of reentry whenever I come home from any trip, especially one to another country.
But I do love to be at home. There are creature comforts in the place where you dwell that cannot be compensated for when traveling. There's nothing like sleeping in my own bed, wearing clothes out of a closet rather than a suitcase, or eating food from a refrigerator instead of a drive-thru fast-food restaurant (not to mention the proximity to loved ones, including my dog).
Still, I have days (sometimes weeks) when I yearn for some adventure -- something new. I always thought I wanted to live somewhere different, like Portland, Seattle, New York, or San Francisco. I even considered Colorado a couple of years ago when I got a lead on a possible job opportunity (which, had I been offered the position, would've found me apartment-hunting in the greater Denver metro area).
"So, which is it?" I ask myself. My significant other is firmly rooted in Los Angeles and I know he'd despise the cold weather we're sure to encounter anywhere else (I've already committed him to a trip to San Francisco for my birthday in February, and I'm sure he'll be freezing the entire time). I know he won't move anywhere. Thus, I don't plan to move any further than Pasadena (for those of you outside California, Pasadena is a suburb of Los Angeles, still very close to downtown, where we both work). But sometimes I just wonder. Am I missing out on some great job opportunity in London? What about NYC? A good friend of mine just moved there to pursue her master's degree at NYU and from her Facebook pictures, it looks like she's having a blast. But she's also more outgoing than I am. She makes friends easily. Not to say that I don't, but I also have a little something called depression that tends to minimize my motivation for social functions and weekend activities. I had an exacerbated bout of depression when I first moved to Los Angeles, which is a mere hour from Huntington Beach, where I lived before for about four years, and 45 minutes from the home where I lived between the ages of five and eighteen. I imagine the blowback from relocation to anywhere else, much less somewhere out of the country, would warrant a big, fat adjustment period.
So I'll be staying put, and I know that, realistically, that's what will make me happiest in the long run, especially since I've met someone amazing to spend life with (which is at least half, if not all, the battle). I don't want to risk the trade off of a home in Paris or London or New York or Montreal at the cost of my relationship with the love of my life. Short-term travel will scratch that adventurous itch just fine. I'm always happy to come home after a long trip anyway, so who am I kidding? :)