Bon Voyage

I’ve actually been back in the States for a few days now, but since I’ve been in major recovery mode to recuperate from the 15 hour flight, I haven’t had a chance to post my, good-bye of sorts, to Europe. I wrote it while I was waiting for my flight at the Schipol in Amsterdam, which may not be the most ideal place to pen a farewell entry in my trusty travel diary, but seeing as how it was the last place where I would be on European soil and breathing that good ‘ole European air, I found it to be perfect.

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One month and five countries later, it’s not the traveling I consider foreign, but the notion of home. These past four weeks I’ve called multiple places “home” and while they were vastly different from one another, for the time being I really was at home. From the Chiswick Hotel, Daumesnil, Hotel Ambrosiana, Barcelona Central Garden Hostel and my family’s home in Maastricht, each place was “home.” And now that I’m returning to the States, I can’t help but ask myself if home will be the same.

I’ve changed and done so much that I fear the comfort of familiarity will stifle me.

It seems silly now that two weeks ago I was crying to Mumsy about wanting to go home and about how homesick I was. Now, I feel an entirely different and more intense feeling of homesickness. I say more intense because the emotion I felt two weeks ago was finite. I knew that in two weeks I would be back in San Jose, in my cocoon of coziness. This time, with Europe, I will have to wait much, much longer before whatever emptiness I feel is satisfied. I’ve previously said that Paris is a moveable feast, and now, after every where I’ve been, I must alter it to the entirety of Europe being a moveable feast. Hell, the world!

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If you told me a month ago that by the end of my time here my life would be changed, that I would come back a new person with a more enriched cultural perspective, I would have absentmindedly nodded my head and agreed with you. But now that it’s over, I can firmly say that I’m an entirely different person. I may still look the same (give or take a few pounds…) but the places I’ve seen, the things I’ve done, the people I’ve met, the food I’ve eaten have permanently changed me.

It’s amazing how much I’ve grown, really.

Of course, I will change, evolve and metamorphose throughout my life as I mature, create my own home and embark on more travels with family, friends or even alone. But for now, and even in the future, I’ll look back on my entries here and the month I’ve spent abroad as the most magical, wonderful, awe-inspiring time of my life and ultimately the start of something new.

I’ll see you soon Europe, and until then, I’ll be homesick.

“You go away for a long time and come back a different person — you never come all the way back”

-Paul Theroux

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