I have been away from home just shy of five months. I’m now due to head back there in just seven days and it is a time of mixed emotions and feelings. My ravenous anticipation to get home to my family and friends is fiercely opposed by my desire to stay.
Apart from the obvious things that I miss about home, such as my loved ones and my own bed, being away has also stirred within me the need for the familiar in every sense of the word. Which looking back is odd, seeing as the reason to travel in the first place was to escape that mundane familiarity.
Throughout these five months I have had a rollercoaster of emotions and if you had asked me to write this piece at any other point during my trip it would have been a different story entirely. I have gone from never wanting to return home to breaking down during dinner at the mire thought of three more months on the road. But now that I’m hurtling towards the finish line of my traveling adventure I’m the most torn I have been to date.
Consumed by thoughts of home a part of me is willing this week to fly by. I think of boarding that plane back to London Heathrow knowing that all the people I love most in the world will be there waiting for me. Of stepping foot through my front door and being met by the familiar sights, sounds and smells of home and of family. Of the moment I cuddle my puppy and sip a good cup of strong hot coffee. Of taking a hot shower, or even better a bath and then dining on all of my favourite foods. To know I no longer live out of a backpack but have some roots, a permanent safe place that is comfortable and secure. Of having the freedom to jump in my car and head somewhere I know – no planning ahead needed.
Yet all those things mean waving goodbye to the road – a place I have come to call my home. No more endless days in the sun, never having to worry about the weather, no more bikinis or flip-flops and salty hair and sun kissed skin. No daily discovering of interesting places, of seeing things for the first time with fresh un-jaded eyes. I will have to say goodbye to the amazing souls I have met and head back to a place where people are not so open with their hearts or their lives. I’ll be leaving behind a freedom that life at home can’t offer me.
But as of now I’m ready to go – I’m at peace with the fact that it’s ending because I know in my heart I’ll be back one day to do it all again, to learn anew and I know that the life that now awaits me back at home will be different going forward, because a mind that has been stretched by a new experience can never truly go back to old dimensions, so why should I?
By Sophie Maguire