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Coming home: How does it feel?

Part of me knew, from the very second my dad called me, I would go back home to be there for my family, but the rest of me took a few days to wrap its mind around it. Really? Is it really the end, already? I thought I had more time. (Oh, how fitting these reflections were).

Well, that’s life isn’t it? You work to bring yourself to a certain place and state of mind, think of what you want, who you want to be, start feeling like you’re getting a hold of your life, have an idea of where you want to go, maybe some plans and expectations and then- life happens. Changes everything.

How easily we forget this, even though we all know it: everything changes- always, constantly. That may be the only thing you can be sure of; you can’t be sure of anything.

Life, death, accidents, separations, endings, changes. It’s all about learning to let go isn’t it?

I knew that’s what I needed to do, I didn’t have a choice anyways. I had to let go of where I was, how I was, what I thought I would do, my life as I had come to shape it over the course of the past 16 months, the possibilities floating around me, the distance between me and ‘’my home’’. Most of all, I had to let go of the deepest (and deeply unsettling) sense of freedom I have experienced yet, as for the first time since I started travelling by myself, I had money in my pocket, a tent to sleep in on the road and a growing sense of confidence as a solo female hitchhiker, meaning I could literally do anything I wanted. Strangely, I also had to let go of the distance between me and ‘’my home’’, give up the idea of home as this faraway, almost theoretical place that was part of me, but I wasn’t a part of anymore. I had to give up the idea of not going back for another few months, or years. Strangely, I didn’t expect this to be an issue. People would often ask me if I missed home, if I wanted to settle down somewhere else or even if I would ever go back. I never even paused, of course I would go back, I wasn’t looking for a new place to live, I love Québec and our culture and our language, and my family, and I want to work here and blablabla. Yet, when came time to go ‘’home’’, it didn’t feel like going home. It felt like getting ripped away from my life.

I was expecting a shock, a moment of ‘’Wow, I’m going home!’’, I was expecting excitement, fear, happiness, something. Although I did have moments of joy in anticipation, surprising my family, seeing my bestfriend; I mostly felt numb, with pangs of sadness. I kept expecting the shock to come later (a bit like English people always expecting the sun to come tomorrow), at the airport, on the plane, when I would land, when I saw my dad, when I saw my mom, my grandparents, my sister, my best friend. In the end, it was like getting in cold water, mostly shocking, some laughs, some cries, a lot of asking why you’re going in at all, looking back at the land with every step, yet being in before you realize it, and surprising yourself with how irrelevant your anguish was, it’s like everything; it passes. Whether you want it or not, you get used to it, nothing dramatic about it, ups and downs, always. It’s cold at first, but you know it will start to feel familiar again, or rather you’ll stop feeling it, and sooner than later you’ll find yourself swimming again, and finding the land cold when you first get back to it- oh the irony of life. You will always be attached to your latest comfort. How easily we get attached to our latest comforts, how easily we forget that the next wave is coming, how we always struggle to simply enjoy the ride- even if we know it.

I wasn’t expecting to come home, so I can’t say it was any more or less than I expected, it was nothing and everything at the same time. Coming Home, and leaving a home at the same time, feeling like I belong, and not. Feeling stuck on pause, and fast forward, and backwards at the same time. Feeling like I’m coming back, but not really. Like everything is despairingly the same, and disappointedly different. In between I guess. Not here nor there. Home is where the heart is, we say, so a little bit everywhere I guess.

When your backpack gets stolen -or how to survive a robbery.

What’s one of the biggest fears of any traveller? Probably getting robbed, right? Everybody gives advice on how to avoid getting robbed, or we all say ‘’be careful with your stuff’’, but what happens when you lose everything? Do you keep travelling?

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