I’m still slightly lost for words on how I feel coming home after eight months traveling and living abroad. Before I left Australia, I had mixed feelings about going home. There was a large part of me that told me to skip my flight. But, then I thought of my dog. Gosh, I miss my little furball!
I spent three weeks back in the States visiting my youngest sister in California, my best friend in Seattle, and two weeks back where it all started – Maine. It was whirlwind adventure back home, and now I’m back in Australia until the end of March when they kick me out.
Several of my friends have asked me what it is like to return home after being gone so long. I’m still trying to find the right words, but, in a nutshell, it’s just weird. And, I very much have mixed feelings about it. I’m not sure I can adequately put my feelings into words, but I’m going to try.
Back in January, I was so excited and ready to hop the first flight out of Maine. Maine will always be home, but I struggle with the idea of living there for the rest of my life. There is just so much in the world that I want to see and do. Career opportunities in Maine are also a few and far between. I could easily go back to using my Biochemistry degree and work in a lab again, but I strive for more purpose in my life. I want a career that allows me to make a difference in the world and one that gives me the freedom to scratch my itch to travel. And, also finish paying my student loans off!
Now that I’m back in Australia for awhile, I’ve been hit hard with homesickness. It is way worst than my little episode in May. I had an inkling that it might happen even before I got on my plane in Sydney. I’m not a super emotional person, but when it hits, I get hit by an emotional wave that just knocks me off my feet.
When I said goodbye to my dad and my dog the first time in January, it was a hug and a kiss and “I’m outta here!” When I said goodbye to them again after being home for three days in February, it was a hug, a kiss, and see you in August. This time, it was a hug, a kiss, and “you better let me go before I start crying and skip my flight.”
I didn’t realize how much I missed home until I had to leave again.
I feel guilty leaving my dog every time. I know she could probably care less, but she’s my baby.
I’m missing so many birthdays, weddings, baby showers, and all the other important events in my friends’ lives. I miss teaching spin classes and boot camp classes at World Gym and the Bay Club. I miss the fast internet. I miss the Junior League.
I miss Fall in Maine. It’s my favorite time of the year.
So many people ask when I’m coming home. I’ve always been very vague as I don’t really know. As someone who is extremely Type A, I like having a routine and future plans. The unknown scares the shit out of me. But, that’s why I’m traveling and living abroad. It has forced me to adapt and grow as a person. I’m definitely not the same person I was when I left home eight months ago.
I was given an incredible opportunity to live and work in Australia for the year. Do I think I would be a failure if I packed up and headed home early? No. Sometimes you have to follow your heart. If your heart points to home, then that’s where you should go. So many of my friends I made during my first week in Australia through Ultimate Oz have already left for home. It certainly makes me question why I’m still here.
But, I’m still here because living in Australia has been a childhood dream. I’m still here because I want to explore a vast and beautiful country. I’m still here because I want international work experience. I’m still here because I like living outside of my comfort zone even though it gives me anxiety some days.
I always thought that I would teach English in South Korea or do a working holiday in New Zealand after my Australian Working Holiday Visa runs out in a little over six months, but my plans have changed. As much as I love to travel, I’m not cut out for the long-term travel lifestyle. I like routine too much. I would much rather have a home base and travel for a few weeks or months and come back to recharge. Living out of a backpack in hostels is stressful for me. I need my own space.
I’m still not sure what the future will hold for me, but I will be returning to Maine sooner than later. A small part of my brain is shouting “failure” in the background, but the other part of my brain knows that happiness in life is all that matters. And, at this point in my life, Maine and the people in it, are what makes me happy.
There are just too many reasons that are drawing me back to Maine. I’m not sure if I’ll be there for the long haul, but I’m ready to see what the future holds for me back in the Pine Tree State. Maine, I’ll see ya in the Spring. You know, after all the snow melts and the mud dries up…