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You know the saying, “Home is where the heart is”? I’ve heard this saying a thousand times, but I never thought much of it until recently. After spending the last month backpacking around Europe and meeting up with travel mates from Australia along the way, I have gotten such a better and intimate understanding of this saying.
The thing is, when I returned from my first backpacking trip in Australia, I was sad a lot. It came in waves. Most of the time I had no reason why I was even sad. But after a few weeks I realized what it was. I missed home. I don’t mean home where I live with my family, where there are pictures of me and my sisters on the fridge, where I have made a decade and a half of memories. And I don’t mean the crystal clear water of Mission Beach, Queensland, or the blocks of King’s Cross, Sydney either. For me, home is being on the road… or in the middle of the ocean on a boat, or exploring new city blocks, or rolling hills.
Talking with friends from Australia, I realized they have the same idea of “home.” You would think coming back after traveling for months would be really exciting. You get to see all of your friends and family again and go to your favorite hangouts with them… except when you come back from traveling you are different. Very different. And everything and everyone else around you is mostly the same.
It’s hard for people to understand how you have changed. I’m sure they notice, and I have had many people tell me that I have changed a lot. But they can never really see or understand that feeling you get being stuck in the same place.
I’m sure everyone has heard the term “wanderlust” as well. It is defined as “a strong desire to travel.” When I came back from traveling I realized wanderlust is not just looking at a picture of a beautiful beach and wishing you were there instead of at work, which is what I would be doing when I used to use the term. It is much bigger than this. It is the feeling of needing to be there, or somewhere else in the world, in order to feel happy, to feel like yourself, to feel free. It really is a strong desire... a feeling, just as strong as love, anger, sorrow. Sometimes even stronger.
Home is where the heart is and my heart can be found in my travels. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and friends and miss them while I am away, but where I truly feel at home now is on the road, exploring new places and meeting new people.
A couple of months ago a Facebook friend from Australia reposted an article similar to this one you are reading right now. I shared it and thanked him for posting it because I thought I was the only one that felt this way. But as I said, I have seen that my travel buddies feel the same way so I wanted to share my feelings on this with everyone so that travelers don’t think they are alone with these strong feelings and desires for this idea of “home,” and for others to get an insight into what these feelings are like.
This idea of “home” is something I talk a lot about in my poetry as well and has a lot of meaning to me in my poem “King’s Cross, Sydney, January something 2017” (which was published by Poetry Nation and can be found in my eBook Love & Letting Go) and one that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.