Too Intense

Columns | Vienna Review | September 2010

"I don’t want to leave. I want more than what is waiting for me in Austria," said my friend Nina during one of our rare Skype-webcam dates before her internet connection broke down again, and her face froze on the screen of my laptop.

Nina has been in the Indian metropolis of Hyderabad for almost two months now, doing a marketing internship for a local company. Despite having to share a tiny room with two other interns, taking a tiring 45-minute rickshaw ride to work every day, and facing hourly power blackouts, she does not seem to miss Austria much, with all its luxuries at all.

It’s the intensity, I think, that she likes, and the idea of returning to her old, daily routine of university lectures, monthly exams, and working a once-a-week boutique job in central Vienna have become dreadful to her. No homesickness at all.

"Exploring this fascinating country and working with people from so many cultures is much more enriching than sitting in front of the computer," she writes in an e-mail.

What is it that makes distant places so alluring to us, I wonder, that allows us to experience life in a much more intense way when we are abroad? Home is everyday life; it is routine, regularity, reliability. In a faraway place there is limited time to explore, to discover its people, its culture, its peculiarities.

...Life lived more fully? Maybe.

Although I get the travel bug quite often, though I feel the Wanderlust rising inside me every time I pass a travel agency or watch documentaries on TV, I still love that I belong somewhere, that there is a place where I know what I will find, and it’s just the way I want it.

- Hannah Stadlober

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