My life is like a teeter-totter. One minute I’m grounded and content and just about the time I feel grounded and content, I’m ready for the excitement of liftoff and a supported falling back down. It is no longer a shock to those that know me well that I am constantly chasing adventure alongside the need to learn and grow.
Once I first got my taste of travel, I decided moving abroad was the next necessary step. Ever since I turned 18, I’ve flip-flopped between living in the US and living in South America. I’ve lived in the Northern Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic East Coast, and now nearly as far west and as far north as one can get in the continental U.S.
People have asked me:
“Do you ever get homesick?”
The short answer is: Yes. All the time. I am always homesick. Homesickness is a constant state of my being.
The longer truth is a little more complicated than that.
You see, when I settle somewhere new, I begin to make connections and find a sense of community. I send out small little pieces of myself, little roots hoping to grab purchase in something new. In the beginning, the day to day stuff is thrilling because it is all a novelty. As time passes and those things begin to normalize, it is only natural for me to start to miss things back home again.
When I’m trying something new or spending time with the community around me, the voice reminding me that I miss home gets a little quieter.
Yet, as I sit alone in my two-bedroom trailer, and some of my favorite MN people are gathered at my parents’ house to celebrate the Easter holiday, I’m a little extra homesick. It probably doesn’t help that it is April and I haven’t seen a ground without snow in months. It probably doesn’t help that I’m eating a Reindeer hotdog on a soft-shell corn tortilla because I forgot to take my bread out of the freezer…meanwhile back home there is a homemade feast with a fresh veggie tray and whole milk possibilities! It probably doesn’t help that everyone up here is spending time with their loved ones, just the way I would be if I lived close enough to home.
I miss the day to day things: the weather talk, the chicken chores, the visiting with people you’ve known your whole life while you bump into each other at the grocery store.
I miss the special things: the holiday gatherings, the birthday dinners, the bachelorette parties, the weddings.
I miss the surprise visits from neighbors and family. I miss my mom’s dinners and my dad’s fish fries.
I think what makes my whole answer more complicated…is that it isn’t just home that I miss. When I’m surrounded by family and friends and in MN, I often feel homesick for all the places I have made my “home” and all the people I have been fortunate enough to add to my ever-growing list of loved ones.
I miss the day to day things: long talks with my diverse group of roommates, eating açaí or ice cream, meeting up for a green tea lemonade, walking the National Mall past midnight.
I miss the special things: Venezuelan political rallies, trips to the Amazon, having visitors to show around and overwhelm with a new culture or language, mass overlooking the White House.
I miss the warmer weather. I miss the use of cars and buses.
Missing people and places has made me value them all the more.
Learning to make new places “home” has taught me invaluable skills about communication, directness, and seeking assistance and advice.
I don’t think I was made to just live in one place and love on one set of people.
I’ve read too many books and think in “what ifs” and “whys” far too often to be content with leaving the rest unknown.
However, as I move around, I note that the likelihood that I will someday live permanently near my family increases tenfold.
The roots that have strengthened me to take off on my own, are the same ones that will always call me back home.
“Do you ever get homesick?”
Yes. All the time. Homesickness is a constant state of my being. I’m homesick for places I have lived and people I have encountered. I’m even homesick for places I have yet to leave or yet to visit.
The Portuguese language says it best: Saudades.
I have them. I feel them. I live with them.
I have them for just about everything, everywhere, and everyone because nothing is for certain or forever…and I long to know it all, do it all, see it all, and make all the friends.
Traveling Isn’t Always Glamorous, was a post I wrote sometime last year, and it resonates with me again during the Easter season.
Although the adventure and the newness is something I desire, there will always be something that I am sacrificing.
Although I feel like a better human for having experienced life in different places and with different cultures, there will always be a part of me that yearns to be grounded again.
The end truth is that I’m nostalgic for something that seems ideal, for memories of a time when life was easier, for when I didn’t know of other places and possibilities outside running through the woods with my siblings or driving around the Gator to good music. That’s something none of us can get back, no matter where we live. Those saudades are just a part of growing up.
Another semi-related post: Tumbleweed Soul.