Complaining about international travel is a great way to lose friends and alienate people. Oh, you have trouble packing enough in your suitcase for a month abroad? That must be a heartbreak.
But the loneliness of extended travel is well-documented; even with a partner, the vague sense of isolation that comes with constantly passing through is by far the most difficult element of my nomadic life, and one I did not fully appreciate until it began. With the myriad methods of communication available, I am in close contact with home, but I feel a pang of jealousy when my friends describe dinners together, no matter how exciting my current city may be.
The problem is common enough that a host of advice columns and services exist to ameliorate it, some of the latest of which are meal-sharing services, the Airbnb of cooking. I recently tried EatWith in Barcelona for the first time, heading to a local's apartment for a paella-centric lunch.
My hosts were welcoming almost to a fault; while discussing our previous careers as bartenders, one host insisted on making me my favorite cocktail, a Manhattan (little did he know that due to my strange sleep schedule our 2p.m. lunch was my morning, and a glass of straight alcohol was, for once, unwelcome). I was impressed by their propane-burning paella stove and learned some excellent cooking tips from a man whose mother is from Valencia (where the dish originated). The food was amazing and everyone was very friendly, but I must admit it left me feeling a little melancholy. Nonetheless, I plan to try a few more events.