02/27/2012 04:24 EST | Updated 04/28/2012 05:12 EDT

Home Is Where the Heart Is (But What if That Isn't Where You're From?)


I've come to realize that New York and I are in an emotionally abusive relationship. No matter how many times she breaks my heart, I'm always coming back for more. And each time, it's worse.

I've been coming to New York pretty much annually since 2007, however my last two trips have been for reasons other than tourism. Oddly enough, it's been these two trips that have made The City feel like home. I have been able to live like a local and get a feeling of what life would be like if I lived there. I have also been able to make personal connections and friendships with like-minded and like-lifestyled people who work in an industry I would love to break into.

But why the melancholy every time I leave? Why the complete and utter aching of my body, the ill feeling in my stomach, the dread of returning to my "real" life? I'm a traveller through and through, so I'm used to leaving behind places that I love, but no matter what, as soon as it comes time to leave New York, I'm immediately planning my return. Forget somewhere new; I just want to be back there.

But why?

I am a born and raised Vancouverite. I love Vancouver -- the laid-back lifestyle, the mild (albeit, rainy) weather, the juxtaposition of ocean and mountains -- but I have absolutely no emotional connection to it at all. Yes, all my family and friends are in Vancouver, but that has never stopped me, from the day it came to applying for university, to consider moving and living elsewhere. At every opportunity to leave Vancouver, I am a willing (and usually a leading) participant in the plans.

What I love about travel is going somewhere new and exploring it to the point of familiarity, and New York constantly satiates that need and desire. But it has become more than that. Vancouver's laid-back lifestyle is a love/hate dichotomy for me. I love it because it's fun and allows you to be active. But at the same time, the laissez-faire attitude makes my go-getter nature come off as aggressive and abrasive. People at home fail to understand why I want to be busy all the time, why I get involved in so many projects and extra-curriculars. I do it to fill the time, to fill the void that the lifestyle (and job) gives me.

So, coming back from yet another amazing, life-changing trip, I can't help but know that the time is coming; the time where I need to make a decision about what life I want to lead, and it's not going to be easy.