Three months. That is how long I have been mulling over how I should explain the transition back in to real life. Looking back now, it’s been an odd few months. Yet, as I finally get to writing about it a little over 3 months later, I have an array of reasons that it took so long.
Busy at work? Kind of. Catching up with friends and family? A little bit. Putting off the fact that I finally admit defeat and stop travelling for a while? Mostly.
Coming home hits in stages. The joy of seeing my family was a given, as was immediately going to In-N-Out for a giant cheeseburger. The next part was what surprised me… Home, Reno, Gardnerville, and Nevada in general are all so foreign to me now. After having been away for almost 7 months, it looked about the same, but it felt like a different place. The sense of belonging was gone. My home has been my backpack for a long time now, and that hasn’t changed. Even two months in to being home, I still have no more clothing than what fits in my pack. I haven’t touched the items and belongings gathering dust in storage, and I could leave tomorrow without packing more than 15 minutes.
That leads to the second stage of being home. This is the part where everything is back to normal and comfortable. The buzz of coming home has departed from everyone’s minds, the 40 hour work weeks are back, and most of the requests for travel stories are gone. At this point, I don’t know whether to tell a story and seem braggy, or just mellow out and listen to the ramblings of day to day life in Reno. Everything is simply ordinary.
Stage three: The part where I am ready to leave again. I love my friends and family. There is just a giant part of me that is always ready for flight. So, as opportunities arise, I will seize them and run. The biggest obstacle to all of that is finances. How do I keep travelling and exploring without the income? Thus, the give and take of working and saving so I can start it all over again. As I sit and type, I am in a solid stage three. I have accepted that I am home… indefinitely. Okay, that is a lie. I have accepted that I need to accept that fact that I am home. Close enough for now, huh?
I always read about, yet never understood, the concept of the place a person grows up in becoming foreign. As long as my parents live in the house I grew up in, it should feel like home, right? Wrong. Sure, it’s a place, but it will never quite feel like the spot I call home. That spot no longer exists. This isn’t supposed to be a harsh statement. My family is always there and the love and comfort is too. The town and house and physical parts of it are just what they are now… things.
So, you might ask, how does that moment come around that the place that once held my heart and comfort and homeliness just becomes a regular place? It came with travel. With every new town, hostel, bus ride, and environment, I saw and heard and tasted things I could never understand simply looking at pictures. I felt the freedom of wandering through the countryside with no plan for tomorrow. I tasted the purple potatoes my host mama fed us on an island in a lake that felt like an ocean. I saw the world through the eyes of a child as if it was all new… because it was. There were places that captured my heart, there were places that made me never want to come back, and everything in between. If I learned one thing, it’s that I haven’t yet discovered the place that I feel so passionate about that I want to call it my home! So, while I have a house, a hometown, and a “current city”, I am still searching for the place I will call “home”.
I spent many nights on Viber talking with my dad and telling him the stories and adventures of that week. However, I still vividly remember speaking in to the phone and telling him how much I missed having a home. At the time, it was partially missing having the same bed at night and a place to come back to every night, but mostly it was that I realized that I am in search of one. Home stops feeling like home when a person discovers the vastness and appeal of travel. For now, my home is my backpack; it just happens to be in a house right now. It sounds so harsh when I write it, but home isn’t home anymore. Home is to explore what’s out there, home is discovering other cultures, and home is appreciating that the physical location doesn’t matter as much as my family and friends do. They say that home is where the heart is; to me, that means home is my family’s love and traveling the world.
In the spirit of that last sentence, my “home” for the winter will be traveling the ski world, specifically Squaw Valley. I moved up to Olympic Valley, California, right down the street from the lifts at Squaw. Since I can’t travel too far, I will get paid to do what I love, which is ski. As I head off in to this new adventure, I am coaching a race team, skiing at least 100 days this season, and learning to cook in a house with no microwave. To be honest, the hardest part of it all is not having a microwave. I have to cook EVERYTHING!! 😉
From somewhere new,