One of the first pleasant surprises I discovered in my time living overseas was one of the hardest to relinquish when it was time to come back home. It was a simple concept, one that was everything and nothing at the same time. It made social interaction more interesting, and made it a hell of a lot easier to get coveted attention from the fairer sex.
Over in Europe, I was just more interesting. I had a story to tell. I wasn’t like everyone else, and people were genuinely interested in learning how I got there, if I enjoyed it, and how long I was staying. When said people were attractive single women, well, that kind of attention was all the sweeter.
When it was time to move back Stateside, though, it disappeared. In the nine hours it took to get from Paris to Detroit, I morphed from wealthy, interesting American with a rich and winding story to tell to just another middle-aged, middle-class guy working in the automotive industry in suburban Detroit. By all physical measures, I was the same guy walking off the plane as I was walking onto it. Temporary haziness induced by the lower oxygen concentration aside, I had the same personality, too.
On this side of the Atlantic, no one wanted to hear my story. Granted, there’s an additional dynamic at play here, of Europeans valuing travel and experiences more than objects, and while that may be true, it’s another discussion for another day. The fact that I went from a unique one to just another one made for much less fulfilling interpersonal experiences.