“The more I travel, the more I want to travel,” said a young Swedish man sitting across from me. “Do you feel that way?”
I nodded as another man at the table answered that he, too, enjoys traveling around Asia as he teaches English in Japan.
Silently I reflected on my current change in travel thoughts. I love travel, I love living in different places, meeting new people, eating new food, drinking new beer–all of that does something for me and to me in a way I can’t explain.
But for two weeks in Hong Kong, as I met and talked with other 20-somethings (and a few older expats too), all I could think about was how I wanted to be home. I missed my family, my friends, the boring-ness of a regular routine. I needed sameness.
I’m not sure what happened, what soul deep shift took place, where in my journey I realized that no matter where I am in the world I love having quiet nights in with TV and wine written into a schedule. Being on the road is hard. It’s tough to meet people and say good-bye within the same week, to form an instantaneous community that dissolves as quickly as it forms, bound now only through technology despite spending too much time together.
Travel does that to me. It makes me think too much, wonder at the magic of flight and communication, marvel at ancient sites in modern cities and bring out my inner extrovert momentarily.
Today when I woke up feeling groggy and off-balance, I was pleased by the familiar cathedral bells that mark the hour, the warm comfort of my own bed, the burnt smell of autumn and the stink of the lake in the air, strong, black drip coffee. I was the happiest I’ve been in a long time to wake up at home. All day I’ve been carrying that high, reveling in just how good it feels to be in the familiar.
I think I finally hit that big girl milestone where a dog and a boyfriend are not that far off. It’s a terrifying thought, but now it’s finally exciting to think about spending enough time in one place to form relationships and a community that will last beyond the next beer.
I’m not closeting my backpack entirely, however, there is still too much to see and do in this world, but I’m definitely slowing down a bit in the coming months.
After more than a year, I think I’m finally ready to admit that Salt Lake City is home.