They say "You'll love it out there!" or "You're going to have so much fun". They ask for pictures and can't wait to hear all about it. They say you won’t want to come back.
They were right.
You do love it out there. You did have so much fun. You didn’t want to come back.
But there's some things that they never tell you.
They don't tell you your memories will seem like a past life.
They don't tell you how much you'll miss the friends you make.
People that you spent only a few months with will become friends unlike any other. Friends tied to unbelievably amazing, frustrating, and even terrifying experiences.
They don't tell you that returning home will start to feel like being put back in a cage. The rules, the regulations, the social norms. You'll begin to notice all the formalities that you never realized were so restrictive and pervasive.
Almost immediately you'll notice that your lettuce trades for far less carrots. You'll feel swindled with every transaction. Silly you. You allowed yourself to forget about the rat race.
Be fast, be faster, be fastest!
They don't tell you that your days will be cut of hours.
Your days were just recently so long and eventful. It was difficult to recall a day's events because their were so many. Now you can't seem to differentiate between days because they are equal in monotony and banality. The only real difference that you can recall is that one day that you ~didn't~ sit in hour long traffic.
They don't tell you about the new people you will miss.
The ones you could barely communicate with. The one's who shared their homes with you, who broke their bread with you. The one's who spent not money, but ~time~ with you.
Don't misunderstand, I appreciate home. I love home. In fact, I've never felt more appreciative of home then I currently do.
But there's a truth I've uncovered about myself, one that I suspect many people who continue travelling also discover.
Your travels have empowered you.
They have strengthened your resolve.
They have fortified your temple.
They have changed your definition of "home".
Home is where the heart is, and your heart now lies in exploration.
Home has become the many places you've lived and breathed.
Home has become the many people you've shared truly unique experiences with.
Home, for you, is no longer found in the comfort of the routine or the predictability of the regular.
No one ever had the courtesy to tell you that you'd be feeding your heart and soul experiences so rich and intense and they'd become forever insatiable.
The first is to those, like me, who have returned home and feel a certain uneasiness in their being. That uncomfortable longing stir within you while flipping through old photos or reliving memories. Know that your feeling is not uncommon and wholly understandable.
For those who know their home now resides within their heart and feel this uneasiness within, you have to ask yourself a very important question.
Are you where your heart wants to be?
You'd be going against your true self if you didn't find a way to follow your heart again. There are many ways to explore, this you now know. Find your way again.
The second purpose then, is for those who currently find themselves traveling. Let this be your caution. Let this be all those things they didn't bother telling you before you left.
Take a good, hard look around you.
You're going to miss this.