Nostalgia is a funny thing. Oftentimes people think it’s bad as it keeps you from living in the moment, but I would disagree with that. Nostalgia is often what prompts me to try new things, or to really keep my mind open to new adventures and experiences. Sure, sometimes nostalgia might suck you in and keep you from seeing what’s in front of you — things might not seem as great as they once were, or things just aren’t the same as they were. That’s growing up, that’s life, but travel teaches you that’s normal, and that’s a great thing.
When I miss living in Hollywood, with all of the outdoor cafes and the endless days of summer, I can head to The Park in New York and take in the beautiful views in the enclosed courtyard. The food is amazing, and while it’s definitely a New York experience, it’s one that nostalgia brought me to.
When I miss Paris sometimes all I need is a pastry and a small coffee and I’m good to go. Other times it’s enjoying a bottle of wine with a close friend from Paris, reminiscing a bit, and the City of Lights is relit in both of us. If I miss the architecture I can either wander the Upper East Side and pretend the townhouses are in the Marais, or I can head to the Met and go through the Wrightsman Galleries, which are recreations of various rooms. It might be a bit of nostalgia, but it’s also pushing me to live in the here and now.
So I suppose my point in all of this is that it’s just about perspective, and being aware of yourself and your feelings. Which is something travel teaches you, whether your realize it or not. When you’re on the road it’s critical that you pay attention to what you’re feeling, what you’re seeing, and how things are happening around you. And just because you head home that doesn’t mean the journey has to end — sometimes all you need is a little nostalgia to set you off in the right direction again.