Reason #4: To appreciate where we come from.
I remember once reading a narrative written by a struggling Zen Buddhist living in Manhattan who said, “I had to leave New York in order to come back to it.” I never really understood what he meant until I found myself similarly frustrated with life in my own hometown, itching to venture elsewhere.
To people who aren’t from Seattle, the idea of getting sick of it may sound nuts – it’s a beautiful city, and home to some of the most laid-back, nature-appreciating people Stateside. But stasis anywhere (even in the Emerald City) can grind a person down to bare nerves. The grass, they say, is always greener…
But as we travel to other destinations – newly attune and appreciative of the simple, the lovely and the mundane – we inevitably begin to recall and miss even the smallest aspects of home. Our own bed, the street we lived on, or that cafe around the corner. After the novelty of our new space has worn off, we begin to long for what we know, for the places where our memories reside.
In the course of traveling, we adjust to dealing with these feelings; we may even develop a new sense of home in each of our destinations. Yet we realize that so much of who we are is intertwined with where we come from – and as much as we travel or as cosmopolitan as we become, a part of our identity can only be understood in the context of our home.
And so when we finally return, we look at familiar things with a fresh perspective. We soak it in and appreciate feeling entirely comfortable in our surroundings – able to speak our native tongue, able to navigate without a map.
But despite this newfound affection for home, the true traveler will certainly get the itch again – perhaps sitting on a familiar beach, deeply inhaling the salty air of Puget Sound, we look out into the distance and wonder, “Where next?”