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Last week, I waxed poetic about all the things I’m going to miss so dearly when I leave Thailand. It might be a temporary goodbye, but believe me guys, there will be tears. Lots of tears.

Still, in the last few weeks I have started to feel those familiar feelings of longing for home. Not quite homesickness, more just an excitement for my annual summer spent stateside.

Travel has exposed to me to so many cultures, values, and ideas that are vastly different from the ones I was raised with. Some, I’ve absorbed deeply and adopted into my own life. Some, man – they’ve made me appreciative of the place that made me. Generally though, the things I miss from home make up a pretty trivial list. (The one I wrote last week was shorter, but much deeper.) I’m crazy grateful for my international life, but these are the things that I can’t wait to get back to.


1. Diet Coke. From a Fountain.

Guys, I love Diet Coke. I adore it. I drink Diet Coke for breakfast. I drink it before bed. I’ve been known to write letters to the management of establishments that serve Pepsi products and if I had another pet, I would probably strongly consider naming it DC. When I used to doodle floorplans for my dream house, they always featured a sensible floorplan, plenty of windows, and a built-in Diet Coke fountain in the kitchen. (While I can accept that some may prefer drinking Diet Coke out of a can over a fountain, I am immediately suspicious of the judgment of any person who prefers drinking out of a bottle. I mean really.)

But anyway. What’s the problem, you ask? Coca Cola is one of the most widely distributed products in the world, so finding its zero calorie cousin must be no big deal, right? Wrong. Listen up, Taylor Swift and other Diet Coke lovers – your beverage of choice is rarely available outside US borders. This “Coke Light” or god forbid, “Coke Zero,” situation that caffeine addicts are often subjected on international adventures simply does not cut it, though levels of drinkability does vary by region. What gives? While Diet Coke follows a strict formula everywhere it is made and marketed, according to Coca Cola’s FAQ page, “the sweetener blend used for Coke/Coca-Cola light is formulated for each country based on consumer preference.”

You’ve been warned.

Dad's Cake Diet Coke Cake

Diet Coke Cake

Diet Coke

2. Paying with plastic

I love having every transaction automatically logged and recorded for me, I love racking up points, and I love carrying one piece of plastic rather than a wad of paper and coins. Alas, most of the world is still cash-only, including Koh Tao, where there’s not a single establishment that takes credit cards without a 3-4% fee (and that’s for the very very few hotels and dive shops that take them at all.)

Cayman Islands Currency

3. Soft Bedding

Do you ever think, well, my bed is nice, but wouldn’t it be better to just throw a sheet over the tile floor and pop a pillowcase over a nearby rock? If so, you’re in luck – my travels have taught me that much of the world agrees with you. While I managed to wrangle a decent pillow in my current apartment, my mattress could withstand the attack of a runaway jackhammer.

I know some of you might be thinking, oh, but I prefer a firm mattress! Well that is nice for you, but the situation I am dealing with over here goes far beyond anything on the Tempur-Pedic scale. Literally the most exciting aspect of every weekend getaway I’ve had for the last six months has been the possibility that there might be a Western-style mattress waiting for me at the hotel.

Is it so much to ask to feel like I’m falling asleep in a cloud?

Yellow Gray Bedroom Makeovermy childhood bedroom

4. Throwing toilet paper into the toilet

And letting it flush away never to be seen (nor smelled) ever again. This, I believe, is what Oprah was referring to when she talked about “living your best life.”

Rhum Shack, Hopkins Bay, Belize

5. Roaming the Aisles of Joanne Fabric

I have plenty of hobbies that travel well, including yoga, hiking, reading, and scuba diving. Unfortunately, my sticker-making machine never quite seems to fit into my backpack. But when I’m home, you can often find me in a crafting frenzy, spray painting dozens of tiny plastic sharks in the garage when I should be packing for flight, for a vague and non-specific example. Painting, crafting, baking, more crafting… what I wouldn’t do for a few hours at AC Moore.

Shark Jaws Party Favorsout-of-control crafting

6. Twenty Four Hour Everything

Non US Citizens, did you know in the states you can access 24-hour ATMS, gas stations, Chinese food delivery and even liquor stores? US Citizens, did you know that in other places you can’t?

The first nineteen years of my life were spent in ignorant bliss of the rest of the world’s casual attitudes towards opening hours. I have to admit that here in Southeast Asia things are pretty nocturnal and I’m rarely frustrated by a “we’re closed” sign. Europe is a different story.

Like in Iceland, when we desperately needed ibuprofen and found out that it is only sold in pharmacies, and pharmacies are closed on Sundays, and I was like HELLO HAS NO ONE IN THIS COUNTRY HAD A HANGOVER AFTER A SATURDAY NIGHT GONE RIGHT? Or in Belgium, where I spent a week trying to track down my never-recovered-from-customs shipment of festival supplies and was like, um, I appreciate the beauty of the work life balance you all have clearly achieved by being open for like 4.25 hours per week, but what does a girl have to do to speak to an on-duty postal employee around here. Or in Malta when I tried to fill up a gas tank and return a rental car on a Sunday and was met with raucous laughter at the idea that I would try to achieve such ambitious tasks on what civilized people consider a day of rest.

These stories did not end well for me.

Opening HoursYour opening hours are what?!

7. Spa Pedicure Chairs

I know what you’re thinking. How do I find the strength to get through the day? But I’ve been shocked to learn that in many spas throughout the world, when you get a pedicure, they literally just paint your nails without the slightest bit of attention to the rest of the foot. Not a light buff, not a hint of a scrub, not so much as a dip in one of those space-station whirly tub thrones that $20 mani-pedi salons in Brooklyn are lined wall-to-wall with.

Chaweng Spasthe closest I’ve found in Thailand

8. Insert Food Craving Here

I certainly can’t complain about what’s on my plate here in Thailand. But it’s inevitable that no matter where I am in the world and no matter how much I love the local cuisine, I find myself occasionally craving food only available somewhere else. In this case, home.

When I had some friends from Koh Tao visit my hometown of Albany a while back, I brought them to the grocery store as an important part of my itinerary. Being picky about what I get to eat is a luxury of my life in the states. Want to know exactly what farm your free-range CSA eggs came from? Want to be choosy about what brand of organic Greek yogurt you consume? Want to special order a case of your favorite Bully Hill wine, or select a special bottle of cake-flavored vodka to go with your real Diet Coke? Want to linger at the gourmet cheese counter? Buy a dozen non-GMO avocados? Perhaps even drive through Chipotle on the way home? No problem.

On the road, I’m lucky if I’m able to read nutrition labels in my native language, let alone choose between two types of peanut butter or figure out where my meat came from. Believe me, when I leave Thailand I’ll be missing the food here too. But right now, I’m looking forward to a summer of stateside eats. Maybe even eat some guacamole tonight, in my honor. Maybe make it extra salty. I don’t know, I can’t tell you how to live your lives, but I know you’ll do the right thing.

Cafe du Monde New Year's Eveget in my belly, beignets

9. American Niceness

Many of my friends from other parts of the world kind of sneer at this and think that we are being fake with our “have a nice days!” and other saccharine pleasantries but I tell you what, I just love me some American politeness. Maybe they really do want my day to be nice. I want yours to be!

Hackberry General Store Route 66

10. Amazon Prime

Two. Day. Shipping. On. Everything. Need I say more? On and island where a trip to the nearest Apple Authorized retailer or seller of Meihoukai-sized underwear is a twelve-hour journey, it seems like a distant mirage too good to be really true.

Ochopee Post Office

11. Megawatt Lightbulbs

This probably isn’t an issue for the majority of travelers who haven’t lived through a psychologically crippling fear of the dark, but I have yet to find another country as brightly lit as the USA. I noticed this most vividly traveling in Central America, where I heard rumors of crazy high energy costs and even in large cities I always felt like someone had hit the wrong end of a dimmer.

Bonnaroo After Dark

12. Smoking Bans

Admittedly, in general I love the lawless-ness of so many of the countries I travel to. But there’s one piece of legislation this severe-allergy sufferer is ever grateful for – strict indoor smoking bans. I wake up from pretty much every night out here with my sinuses levying a strict punishment for putting them in proximity of cigarettes. The prevalence of smoking at the bar, in transit and even at the dinner table is one of the things that really challenges me about living in Thailand.

Blues Bar, Khao San, Bangkokif only this cat was protected by an indoor smoking ban

13. Serious Hustle

I alarm citizens of other nations on a regular basis simply by walking at a clip that they deem acceptable only for a human being pursued by an apex predator. Travel has slowed me down somewhat, and I’m grateful for it, but I do love the hustle of home. I’m sure any US citizen who has sat in line at OfficeMax watching a high school student collate paper with the efficiency of a drunk sloth would argue that lethargy exists everywhere, but I do think there are few nations on earth that value speediness – and power walking – as much as Americans do.

American Flag in Times Square

14. Singing Along in Bars

In certain parts of the world, the music is one of the highlights of my travels – think Caribbean soca, or Central American reggaeton. Yet here Asia, crimes against music, my eardrums, and the still developing brains of impressionable youth are committed on a daily basis (love you long time though, Job2Do). One thing I really miss is listening to music other than tinny Thai love ballads, aggressive house/techno music or strange selections of American Top 40. What I wouldn’t give for a night of hip hop, classic rock, or funky Motown hits!

Live Music in New Orleans

15. My Dog

I actually thought about making like, every third item on this list MY DOG because that would (A) it’s the kind of lame humor that really tickles me and (B) convey pretty clearly how much I miss my damn dog. Are there any people that don’t think this dog is cute that aren’t also serial killers? Don’t bother looking up the statistics, the answer is no.

Tucker, you have my heart.

Christmas Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniel Love

16. My Nearest and Dearest

In all seriousness, the largest sacrifice I’ve made to maintain my traveling lifestyle is missing out on so much of the day-to-day lives of some of those I love the most. I do manage to cram a lot of hugs into every summer, though.

Family Portraits by My Lens 360 Philadelphia

. . . .

Okay. So things might have gone a tad overboard on the S.S. Silliness up in this listicle. But the truth is the thing I miss the most about America can’t really be summed up in a pithy bullet point. It’s this sense of familiarity, the lump in your throat when an immigration officer hands you back your passport and says “welcome home” after months of wandering.

I can’t wait to hear those two little words. Avocados and employees of craft store retail chains, you’ve been warned.

Upstate New York Travel

Update: Travel Blog Success was merged with Superstar Blogging by Nomadic Matt. It’s an equally impressive course that I plan to take and review eventually — click here to take it yourself! 

I rarely stop yacking about how Travel Blog Success helped me make Meihoukai in Wanderland what it is today — a financially successful and creatively fulfilling travel blog that just celebrated its fourth anniversary. It’s the first thing I recommend to those who write to me for blogging advice, and was instrumental in getting me to where I am now! Our secret member’s Facebook group gives me daily inspiration, feedback, and hearty laughs. Yes, the warmest community in travel blogging is on sale now!

  • Katelyn @ Diaries of a Wandering Lobster
    March 24 2016

    I can totally relate and I’ve only been on the road for a little over 2 months now! I miss my dog like crazy. I forced my father to get Skype so I could Skype with my dog. I really miss quality internet and having an Apple store nearby. My computer crashed this week while I was in Krakow, Poland and I had to beg the Apple store resellers to fix it for me that day since I was leaving that night. Thankfully they did! I also miss the comfort of my own bed and watching specific American TV shows.

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Ever since I learned how to download torrents I watch all my favorite shows from anywhere, which is blissful! The Apple thing kills me though — my computer always seems to break down when I’m a million miles from the closest retailer.

  • Dylan
    March 24 2016

    Feel like I should tell you that I did actually laugh out loud three times while reading this! You’ve got some enthusiastic passengers on the S.S. Silliness out here. Also… I’ve been reading your blog for just over a year now (!!) and am truly impressed by how many pictures you’ve managed to sneak in of Tucker wearing clothes and/or accessories. Bravo.

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Ha, thank you Dylan! It’s a true gift. What can I say. That dog loves to ham it up for the camera.

  • Olivia Baackes
    March 24 2016

    Dont you worry, I’ll pull your hair aaaaaaannnnnnnyyyyyyyy time you’re home!

  • LC
    March 24 2016

    For all the silliness you promised, your post almost made me cry on public transport. I know what you mean about that feeling of coming home… And of missing your dog(s) more than anything else when travelling (oh and family and friends too!)

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      I just cannot wait to squeeze that little puppy with love!

  • Sonja Riemenschneider
    March 24 2016

    Meihoukai, I hear ya! Is it too much to ask to have Diet Coke within reach at all time? I say this as I peek into my desk drawer at my stash of BOTTLED Diet Coke! Let the outcry begin…

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Sonja, NOOOO! Ha, just kidding — to each their own. But I’m a fountain girl at heart. At least you didn’t say Pepsi 😉

  • Cate
    March 24 2016

    Travel can seem wonderful and independent for awhile, but after some time, you start to miss Netflix time, your favorite food, and of course your fluffy bestie

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Can’t wait to do just that in June 🙂 I miss my little man!

  • Molly
    March 24 2016

    When I travel, I’m always amazed at how slowly waiters bring you the bill at the end of the meal. I miss the prompt service we have in the US!

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Or my favorite in Thailand — when they hand you the menu and then stand, staring at you with pens poised to take your order. Like, um, I’m going to need a minute or two.

  • Kristin @ Camels & Chocolate
    March 24 2016

    I’ve never lived in Thailand and yet I can relate on every single point (except substitute bourbon for Diet Coke!).

    Speaking of Thailand, will you be going back this fall once again? What are the post-summer plans? THE PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW, ALEX.

    (Whereas THE PEOPLE = me, duh.)

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Things are still a little up in the air right now for the fall, but I’ll definitely be back by winter. We can plan a visit in MV 🙂

  • Susan
    March 24 2016

    I can’t agree with you enough on the travesty that is Coke Light and/or Coke Zero. If nothing else, can we not join together as a planet and implement the correct formula of my (our!) favorite diet soda?

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      This comment made me snort, Susan! I couldn’t agree more…

  • Joella
    March 24 2016

    I don’t know if there is an IKEA in Thailand (though I’m positive there is not one on the islands) but if you ever live near one you can buy those soft mattress topper things there- that’s what we did in Beijing. I know what you mean about not being able to sum up that familiarity and sense of home. I feel like that about the UK- the US speaks the same language and everything but it’s just not the same as the UK and it’s hard to explain why.

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      There’s an Ikea in Bangkok! I ended up buying a duvet (the only thing I could find on the island) and putting it under my fitted sheet. It definitely helped the situation marginally. In retrospect I should have just bought a new mattress. It would have been worth it for six months of NOT sleeping on a rock.

  • Emily
    March 24 2016

    Avocadosssss!!!! Gah I miss them so much.

    You know, for a long time since I started I’ve been a bit meh about this US. There are so many things I don’t like about it and it can really wear on a person. But lately, I too have really been starting to think about all the things I love about home. Maybe it’s time for a little visit myself! Because lord do I miss good Mexican food.

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      It’s easy to dwell on the things that drive us crazy about home when we’re there. When we’re away, it’s hard not to get nostalgic about the things we love! Grass is always greener, I suppose 🙂

  • Jenn
    March 24 2016

    BAHAHAHA! I love your comment on speed walking. I regularly get called out by my non-US friends for my pace, which could be more aptly described as a non-running jog. Throw in the fact that I’m tall w/ longer-than-average legs, and I’m half a mile ahead of everyone before I realize it. Great list Meihoukai!

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      My legs are like, all of six inches long, so I definitely don’t have the same problem of running ahead of the pack 🙂 But yes, I think I use the same pace you’ve described here! I don’t know any other way!

  • Melody @ MAREVOLI
    March 24 2016

    I just made my first trip back to America after being abroad for a year and I can totally relate to some of these – especially #4! In South Korea there’s the same policy of throwing the tissue in a trashcan – I swear it’s the little things you miss the most haha.

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Whenever I come home I throw my toilet paper in the trash for a few days or weeks before I get the hang of flushing it again. I don’t think my family and friends appreciate it!

  • Ijana
    March 25 2016

    Dude I couldn’t live without my dog! Of course I leave him to go travel but I feel the exact same way! My biggest gripes with most countries other than the US are things you mentioned, business opening hours and non-friendliness. Like not specifically non-friendliness, I just like to feel like the barista actually cares about what I order a little! Even if it is fake friendliness here in America, I kind of think that since it’s been ingrained into us from birth, it sometimes turns into real friendliness.

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      You hit the nail on the head 🙂 I miss that comfort and kindness, for sure!

  • janice
    March 25 2016

    Sounds very much like you’re excited as this post comes across very bubbly Meihoukai. There is nothing like going home and there is nothing like leaving to go travelling.
    At the age of 49, I am leaving my family for 7 months and going to work as an Overseas Rep in Gran Canaria – a far cry from my previous businesses and life as a Lecturer and Counsellor.
    Our travels enhance and create twists and turns in our lives that we never thought they would, don’t they!

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      That sounds like an amazing adventure Janice. Wishing you all the best of luck!

  • Dominique
    March 25 2016

    16 is the most important one in my opinion. The nearest and dearest are often irreplaceable and it’s important to spend as much time with them as possible ☺ I lost my grandfather this week and even though he lived far away and I moved away from Europe I have so many beautiful memories with him. I’m grateful for all the time I spent with him!

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      I’m so sorry to hear that Dominique. I’m planning a trip to see my grandmother this summer and I’m very grateful to have the flexibility to do so!

  • Mary B
    March 25 2016

    I 100% agree that living your best life involves being able to flush toilet paper… though I think you are forever bonded to a person when you can tell their toilet paper apart from yours in the trash can (some people are folders, some people are wadders – I wish I did not know this.)

    I’m gonna have to disagree on the Coca Lite though – I liked it better than the Diet Coke in Honduras!

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Ha, that is so true Mary… there is a certain etiquette to the non-flushed toilet paper situation and it enrages me when people don’t follow it! We all have to put our pee-and-poo-soaked tissues in the same can, can’t we at least be civilized about it?

  • Kacy
    March 25 2016

    Ha, I had such a similar list when living in Brazil. The bedding was the biggest. Second? Convenient cleaning products. I almost had my dad ship me a dust buster. My clean freak ways were tweaking out over there. Here’s to a happy American summer!

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Oh no… are you telling me I have hard mattresses to look forward to in Brazil as well?! NOOOOOOOOO!

  • Michelle
    March 25 2016

    I REALLY enjoyed this. Especially #6. I think you really hit your stride with “I appreciate the beauty of the work life balance you all have clearly achieved by being open for like 4.25 hours per week, but what does a girl have to do to speak to an on-duty postal employee around here”. YES.

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      I think in a way that was some of the greatest culture shock I’ve ever encountered, because I just couldn’t wrap my mind around how countries that I consider so similar to my own in so many ways could be SO DIFFERENT in this one. Mind blown!

  • Erin
    March 25 2016

    When I was in a club in Malta I quickly noticed the music had no words. Because it was all like EDM/house music. Thats fine it was good…but I like to sing along while I dance too! I asked “dont they ever play music with words?” and the response I got was “girl if you want some Rihanna you gotta go back to Canada” lol

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Ha! Yeah, I’m with you. I want sing along songs!

  • Jenny
    March 26 2016

    I really needed to read this today! We are leaving Bali to head for the U.S. in a few hours and I am tempted to tie myself to a post and just refuse to leave. I can’t agree more with #4, and I also have to add – brushing my teeth in the shower and drinking water straight out of the tap as things I am looking forward to!

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      Oh, yes! Ever since I got my Clearly Filtered bottle I get to drink water out of the tap anywhere in the world, but it will be nice to have it in a glass again, instead of a sometimes-annoying bottle.

  • Sabine
    March 27 2016

    Love your list Meihoukai. I love every single bullet point on your list. I am from Germany but lived in the states for a while and I loved all the 24h open things and the open on sunday policy! So awesome! The only thing that is even better here is Amazon Prime. I ordered a new camera lens in the morning at 9am and it got delivered at 8pm with no extra costs (in London you even have a one hour delivery inside the city). 😉
    Looking forward to more stories of your American days!

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      What?! Same day delivery… now you are speaking my language 🙂

  • Laryssa
    March 27 2016

    Oh my gosh, HILARIOUS and awesome and true post!

    1) Regarding the postal employee comment — NO ONE EVER GOT MY POSTCARDS FROM KOH TAO. I was there one year ago. I’m certain they’re still sitting in the overstuffed shoebox on the counter at 7-11.

    2) Amazon Prime doesn’t guarantee two day shipping on everything anymore! It’s only on *most* items if they happen to be stocked somewhat closeby. Grrr! I have gotten hooked on Prime Now, though…

    • Meihoukai
      March 29 2016

      What! Amazon Prime, why you gotta be breaking my heart like that. Sigh. Well, I’ll check for your postcards next time I run by 7-11 🙂

  • Tory
    March 28 2016

    “the lump in your throat when an immigration officer hands you back your passport and says “welcome home” after months of wandering”

    I LOVE that. Whether I’ve been out of the country for 2 weeks or 4 months, it makes me so happy.

    I agree with most of this list (especially 4, 6, and 9) but would have to add iced coffee!

  • Polly
    March 29 2016

    3. Conversely, I just came back from a trip, realized I’d slept better in my hostel than I do at home, and decided it’s time for a new mattress!

    4. The ability to flush tp makes up for so many of our shortcomings as a nation!

    • Meihoukai
      March 30 2016

      HA. Your response to four had me in stitches!

  • Lili
    March 30 2016

    Gosh Tucker is so cute! He looks so much like my family’s dog. I always enjoy seeing photos of Tucker on your blog!

    • Meihoukai
      March 30 2016

      Thanks Lili! I’ve got some great ones coming up from my last trip to California 🙂

  • Charlotte Little
    March 30 2016

    I love this post, it is definitely relatable! I’ve just returned from Thailand and fell in love with Koh Tao, I ended up extending my stay there and intend to go back for New Year before travelling for a year. I will soak up as much for home (UK) as I can before I go, although right now I feel as if I could leave tomorrow! X

    • Meihoukai
      April 6 2016

      So glad to hear you also loved my little island home! Always makes me smile 🙂

  • Natalie
    March 31 2016

    I love your list! The diet coke is funny. Pepsi is actually really hard to find overseas (and yes, that’s my preference.) When I lived in Madrid, I used to go to the Burger King down the street every couple weeks because it was the only place I could find it. I also love your complaint about your bed. When I served in the Peace Corps the beds weren’t even solid on the bottom. It was slats with a 2 inch thick foam ‘mattress’. I think pretty much any bed is comfortable now. One thing I miss when traveling: peanut butter. Fortunately I learned how to make my own in Madagascar. 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      April 6 2016

      Ah, the rare Pepsi-preferer, so rare to find in their natural habitat 😉 I know how annoyed I am when I go to restaurants that only serve Pepsi — looking at you Panera — so I can only imagine the constant frustration a Pepsi fan would feel!

  • Amy
    April 3 2016

    I totally agree with the toilet paper and hard beds! I also really miss good cheese when I’m in Asia, which means I gorge on it whenever I’m back in Europe. Oh, and good bread that doesn’t have sugar in it!

    • Meihoukai
      April 6 2016

      There are a few places here on Koh Tao that have started making decent bread, which is nice every once in a while. But definitely nothing like home!

  • Monica
    April 7 2016

    This absolutely had me in stitches of laughter! And I can relate to it so much. Reading ingredient labels in English is such a luxury, I gave up on my food convictions long ago. (P.s. Welcome home and yes, American niceness is the real deal!)

    • Meihoukai
      April 10 2016

      Thanks Monica! I do appreciate how travel has made made me a much less picky eater, but oh yeah — I can’t wait to be back home for a bit and be super particular about which yogurt I eat…

  • Kat
    April 10 2016

    A car…I miss having access to a car. Riding the bus was fun the first two years, now it’s less than exciting to spend two hours on what should be a fifteen minute errand to the grocery store (especially when it the bus is in the “stop for everybody on every corner” mode). I’ve learned to do without a lot of things just because I don’t want to have to ride the bus in 90 degree weather!
    I wouldn’t give up living overseas just to have a car though, it’s wonderful and amazing, and that’s what going home for Christmas is for!

    • Meihoukai
      April 26 2016

      Oh Kat, I feel ya. Even living in NYC there were times when I’d be on the subway, taking hours to run simple errands, and I’d just stand there and dream about the suburbs and their endless parking lots… you know, the thing I hated about living in the suburbs. Ha!

  • Anna
    April 24 2016

    I spent nearly 20 years in the US before returning to Russia, and practically everyone I meet here asks me if I miss it and what exactly do I miss. And FOR SHAME like 90% of my replies fall into category 8. New York slice, toasted bagel with lox, cheese puffs, Vitamin Water, Bud Light, Blue Moon, guacamole, vodka martini with a twist, proper salmon sashimi, BBQ, mac&cheese… God, I am such a glutton!

    • Meihoukai
      April 27 2016

      YUM YUM YUM! Oh, New York bagels. I’m drooling!

  • Jojo
    May 14 2016

    Nearest and dearest of course! I think I would appreciate the slower side of life but it would take some time to get use to. On a recent visit to California, the lady at the register packed my items and handed me my change so slowly I almost had the itch to snatch it from her and do it for her. I am from the east coast and now realize what people from the west coast mean when they say we are very fast pace and busy.

    I also mean it when I tell people to have a nice day! So have a wonderful day, Meihoukai!

    And I really like the design of your website. Especially the comment bubbles!

    • Meihoukai
      May 18 2016

      Thanks Jojo! This site was designed with a lot of love so I am always smiling when I hear a compliment of it 🙂

  • Lauren Fritsky
    May 15 2016

    I would totally miss fountain soda and Amazon Prime if I left again. When I left for Australia in 2010, I missed food , convenience and the cheapness of things the most.

    • Meihoukai
      May 20 2016

      I’m going to be back in the US in ten days and I CAN’T WAIT for fountain soda!

  • Ruqayyah
    May 18 2016

    Meihoukai! What a wonderful blog you have! I have been reading your blog for several weeks, and I get so much inspiration from your content. This particular post caught my eye because it took me back to the days when I lived in Morocco. There were so many U.S. things that I missed like public restrooms that aren’t holes in the ground, wifi, a mattress… But it also got me thinking about all of the things I miss from Morocco to this day: fresh ingredients in the markets, bargaining in three different languages, being able to visit the desert and ocean and snow-capped mountains all in one day, and so much more. Your list here really makes me appreciate both home and abroad. I can’t wait to read more!

  • Fernanda Williams
    July 26 2016

    This post was TOO awesome. I have been wanting to travel for a longer period, but have no idea what to do with my dog. Did you leave you pup with family? I live in the US, but am actually from Brazil, so I don’t really have any family to leave my dog here with! So hardddd! And yes, I would miss her sooo much too!

    • Meihoukai
      July 26 2016

      Hey Fernanda! Thank you! Yes, my family dog lives with my dad now (his favorite human). I visit him whenever I can but I miss him terribly. Have you tried petsitting or housesitting websites?

  • Danielle
    August 3 2016

    I enjoyed reading your blog! I’ve lived in the Virgin Islands for 3 years and can attest to missing good ole’ American Efficency and Quickness. Happy trails!

    • Meihoukai
      August 4 2016

      Thanks Danielle! I know what you mean 🙂 But oh, that ocean! I can’t stay away from it.

  • Wanderlustingk
    September 14 2016

    Hi Meihoukai, wanted to give you a heads up as I discovered this website stole my post and photos. They stole this post. :/

    • Meihoukai
      September 17 2016

      So frustrating! As annoying as it is I try not to get too worked up about scrapers. Obviously I wish they wouldn’t but it just kind of seems like one of those instabilities of the internet, you know?

  • Aria
    September 28 2016

    Lawwleddd at these!!! Bathrooms, things that aren’t open like ‘Yo I can’t possibly be the first person to need something on a Sunday!’, and yes the hustle! I think a lot of non-US citizens think we are all flushed with cash. Granted, the US offers us some amazing things (ie ability to pretty freely roam the world), but we also work work work!

    • Meihoukai
      October 14 2016

      Ha, thanks Aria! Yeah, the American work ethic is pretty dang unique… we love to clock in those hours! There’s a certain pride in being busier than anyone you know that’s just uniquely American.

  • Zoie @ Whisked Away By Words
    November 10 2017

    Isn’t it strange how, when we stay at home, we want to leave it, yet when we travel for too long, we start missing home? Those feelings remind me to be grateful for what I have now, whether I’m at home or traveling. For me, the things I miss the most about the U.S. when I’m traveling is the open culture and the diversity of the food. I live in a big city, so I can always pick and choose which kind of cuisine I’d like to eat for the day, but in other countries, that’s not a luxury I can choose. 😊 I enjoyed reading your post — it was very relatable!

    • Meihoukai
      November 12 2017

      Thanks Zoie — yes, so true about food in the US. The options are pretty much limitless, and travel has absolutely made me realize how blessed we are for that! Benefits of living in a melting pot 🙂