It was the smell of a big department store. It smelled like Debenhams to be exact. A thousand perfumes mixed together that makes your eyes water and reminds you of a rainy Saturday afternoon shopping with your Mum. Some days, I’d love nothing more than to be strolling around Debenhams, stroking the make-up I can’t afford and getting lost trying to find the men’s slippers section. We’ve been on the road for 5 months now, and I would be lying if I said I’d never once felt a longing for home, for familiarity and for the comforts that once made up my life. Recently I’ve been feeling burnt out and tired, as though I’m running on half steam. Walking into the department store that smelled so much like Debenhams, the nostalgia hit me like a wave. I sat in the Tuk Tuk on the way home, street signs flying past in a language I didn’t know, thinking of all the things I miss about home.
1. The changing (and wet) weather
I’m British, which means I have a natural inclination to talk about the weather, all the time and in great detail. And I am really missing a wet, cold day in England. One where I don’t have to leave the house at all. One where I can sit by a fire, read my book and drink tea. Lots of it. I can cuddle my dog and listen to the rain on the window and make comments like ‘Oh look it’s getting really bad now’ and ‘Glad I’m not driving in this, bet it’s mayhem on the A38’.
Anyone who’s been to a supermarket in South East Asia will know that smell. I don’t know what it is, but they have an odd smell that comes somewhere from the chilled section. That, mixed with the lack of tinned foods, marmite and pasta make them an alien landscape that takes some navigating. And it’s making me really miss big supermarkets where you lose sense of time and place. The ones where you can wander in at 2 in the morning, buy 30p giant bags of crisps and get a meal deal for under a fiver because, meal deals. Did I ever think I’d miss a packet sandwich? No. Am I missing a packet sandwich? Kinda.
3. Crumpets & Marmite
The snack of dreams. The snack so good that had Shakespeare experienced it he would have immortalised it in poetry and song. If you’ve never had a soft, slightly toasted crumpet, dripping with butter and topped with a slight spreading of marmite, then you, my dear reader, have not lived. Depressingly, there is a lack of both crumpets and marmite here in Asia, and it will be a while before I get to enjoy it again. The home comfort of having your favourite foods to hand is a little one I always took for granted.
4. Not Leaving the House
This is a strange one, but it’s taken me 5 months to realise we haven’t had one day where we’ve not left the apartment. We tend to eat out every night, as it’s so much cheaper than buying everything in and cooking. We cook breakfast and lunch, but at some point every day, I have to drag my arse out the front door. I am so craving a pyjama day. One without make up, without conversations, without anything. Just me, Netflix and my Just Eat login. Ben can join too if he wants.
5. Wearing a Coat
Okay, there is more to it than just wearing a coat. I really miss wrapping up warm, you know? Snuggling into a big coat, pulling on my Dr Martens, wrapping a scarf around my neck and heading out on a walk. I particularly miss Dartmoor, which is near where I spent some incredible, life affirming years of my life. I love hiking, and have tried to do as much of it as I can over in Asia. But few things compare to an afternoon hike over the moors, finished with a cold cider and a Sunday roast. It’s the little things.