Pulling in to my neighborhood, I can feel my chest tighten.

The trees. When did they get so big? The homes. When did they get so old?

The woods in a Maryland backyard

“Welcome to my house,” I say to Erica as I turn the car off.

Home. We. Are. Home.

I open the bright red door, the same bright red door we’ve had since my childhood and am greeted by my parent’s two dogs.

Then, Mom comes out and wraps her arms around me.

I can feel myself loosen. The  excitement to come back to Maryland, the sad over the end of the road trip, the anticipation of my closeness to being an expat … they all flood through my veins.

I whisper in my mom’s ear that I love her. That it is good to be home.

Tired hits. We drove for more than eight hours today, from Louisville to Maryland with a stop for lunch in Frostburg to see my brother, an artist specializing in metal work.

Coming home, that tired just takes over and I quickly crawl into my bed as Erica gets herself situated in her room.

“Can you come and sit with me?” I ask my mom.

“Really? You’re going to sleep.”

But she knows this game well. Whenever I need to talk, to soak up my mom, I always ask her to come and crawl into bed with me. Even at 32, just having her next to me makes me feel at ease.

That’s when it hits me.

The magnitude of what I’ve just done.

Flashbacks roll through my mind:

I’m sitting at Putter’s across from my apartment in Las Vegas, drinking beer and shots with Dave on my last night in the city that has been my home for the better part of seven years.

I’m tucking my cats into their carrying cases, tears rolling down my face as they meow their protests. As I drive them to their new home, I sob. And, when I get to the house, it’s even worse.

I’m standing in my empty apartment, imaging where everything was. Seeing myself in my room. Playing fetch with the cats. Sipping wine on my balcony. Those memories seem so unfair as I stand there. The ghosts of the life I lived.

I lay with my mom and let tears roll down my face as I let the moments from the past month of my life sweep through my mind.

“It’s OK, D,” she says as I sit there, silently crying. “You’ve just done something major. And you are going to do something else major. You are allowed to feel like this. It isn’t easy.”

I know she’s right.

For now, I have two weeks to soak up my family and my friends in Maryland. And then, it’s on to Thailand.

11 comments

  1. I just found your blog and it had to be just divine intervention. I just returned from a 12 day visit to the UK with friends , and in February a road trip all around Zurich and Switzerland and returned from both KNOWING that this is the unconventional life I HAVE to live, it’s what i believe I am to do (i also began an online business about a year ago) but just not sure of the actual HOW of how to travel and write/blog and acually live(be able to sustain myself and have an income). Please respond here or to my email address with any advice on how its done, ideas, resources and suggestions or any tidbits you (or anyone else with experience) may have.

    Thank you soooo much, you really are an inspiration, I’ll keep following..

    Sam

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  2. I can only imagine what you’re feeling. So much change in such a short amount of time. I was there last year and I too had to sob a while, let it all soak in. Hope you have a wonderful time with your family and get thoroughly restored. 🙂

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    1. You know, it was so hard to make this trip. I knew for months I was leaving, and each day was a constant reminder of the life I was giving up in order to start a new one. It went on far too long. I would have preferred a quick move versus knowing in February and leaving in July. I didn’t have such a hard time the last time I left the country, but I think because I knew I would be back. I had a return ticket. I don’t this time. But, after the first 10 days here, I am so OK with that. Thank you so much!! I had a wonderful time with the family.

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  3. Thanks for sharing this D! Moving, leaving, saying goodbye, taking on a big new challenge is something too big for our minds to wrap around all at once, let alone our hearts. This is such an exciting and brave adventure that you are about to embark on. Looking forward to all the updates along the way and sending you warm, intrepid wishes to aid your journey. Nic

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  4. Oh home. On some days abroad it’s the place most want to be. Then, however many months later when I’m finally there, the place I was dreaming of home from becomes the place I most want to be. It’s a nonstop conundrum, because I really do love the idea of home…but the reality is a different story.

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