While I’ve been gone, I have missed wedding anniversaries, birthdays, the birth of one of my best friends daughter, fishing trips, parties, band practice, gigs, a world record being set in my home town (Largest Boot Race!- Ketchikan!). My nephews, sister, brother, most of my friends are all back in Alaska, and the rest of my family is spread out in the lower 48 States.
Luckily, technology has aided in keeping me up to date on the daily goings on back home, and lets me communicate directly with them, when our waking hours cross. Through Facebook I am able to see pictures of my nephews and my friends kids growing up, leave messages and little quips and barbs with them for when they wake up (These 9 time zones between us really does put a hamper on things). Using video chat software I am able to talk face to face with them too on occasion. It’s made it a lot easier to survive being away for so long, for sure, but sometimes the electronic means of communication makes me wish I were back home. Seeing postings about a fun event taking place brings a twinge of guilt, or a sudden urge to be back home, even if for a weekend.
Perhaps the scary part about the feeling is that it fades.
"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - Bilbo Baggins, Lord of The Rings, By J.R.R Tolkien
I love hearing from back home though. I try to send people post cards from where I am when I can, and also through a mobile app called ByPost. It lets me send postcards of the pictures I’ve taken! You upload it and put the address and message in, they print it and send it from the US to anywhere in the world. It’s a pretty good set up, as my nephew Gunnar can attest to from his birthday postcard I sent him a few weeks ago:
Sometimes the hardest thing about completing a goal or a mission isn’t the goal or mission itself, sometimes it’s what you have to sacrifice to get it. For me that is certainly the case. Right now the most difficult TRAVEL related issue I have is VISAs, trying to get into countries like Russia can be a real hassle, especially when you are not in your home country, and don’t know your exact dates of travel. (They kind of frown on that).
But ten times harder is seeing my friends, my family and everyone back home and getting that feeling of excitement at what they are doing, then the realization that I can’t physically be there, no matter how much I wanted to. Or having to read about big important things going on in everyone’s life as opposed to being there in person to commiserate or celebrate. The road, while exciting, is a lonely place. You make a lot of new friends, but you miss your friends from home. The ones you’ve been through so much with. You can be constantly surrounded by people, feel completely embraced and part of the family, but the family you left behind will always tug at your heartstrings.
But it’s been ten times harder seeing what my friends, my family and everyone back home are up to, and getting that feeling of excitement, then the realization that I can’t physically be there, no matter how much I wanted to. Or having to read about big important things going on in everyone’s life as opposed to being there in person to celebrate or commiserate. The road, while exciting, is a lonely place. You make a lot of new friends, but you miss your friends from home. The ones you’ve been through so much with. You can be constantly surrounded by people, feel completely embraced and part of the family, but the family you left behind will always tug at your heartstrings.
I think though, that you can’t really feel at home until you’ve been so far from it. You need to have a point of reference. A bad day for the great days to feel that great. A lonely period to feel at home. A boring time to be truly excited. In a way traveling supplies all this. Travel is lonely, exciting, uncomfortable, beautiful, fascinating, and a little frightening. It makes boring, friend-filled, comfortable, mundane home that much more of a place to feel safe in.