Homeward bound

Street art by Deb in Windsor, Melbourne

Today, for the first time in over four years, I’m flying back to my home country.

To be honest, it’s because I was guilt-tripped. ‘My 60th birthday is this year,’ my mother said while visiting me in Luang Prabang, ‘and it’d be really nice if you came back for it.’ Then she paused and stared me straight in the eyes with a deep, penetrative silence. Well then.

There’s a simple reason why I haven’t gone back since I left: I’ve just never felt the urge. Homesickness has never crept up in my darker days of travel, to sing its siren call of comfort and easy days in the places we know (why, exactly, is a story for another time). This isn’t meant to imply that I don’t miss my friends and family – of course I do! – but missing people doesn’t mean that I want to return to the place I grew up in. My hometown, Oakland, is a place that I know. It’s a place I spent 17 years in. Been there, done that. And when I think of California, and of the United States, I feel just the same.

I love them, but I don’t need to have them.

However, though I may champion the idealism of ‘Live your truth!’ and ‘Follow your dreams!’, I realise now that our lives are never just our own. Quite frankly, it’s been selfish of me to stay away for so long, and to have my interaction with family and friends limited to the times they can come to me. Now, it’s my turn. And I’m OK with that.

I’m also OK with my one-way ticket to Singapore immediately after. You didn’t think I’d be heading home forever, did you?

I mean, just look at the name of this blog.

See you on the flip side :)

12 Responses to Homeward bound

  1. Alli Campbell 20 August, 2014 at 12:17 #

    Safe travels home lovely lady, Melbourne has loved having you!

  2. Where in the World is Nina? 20 August, 2014 at 12:23 #

    Nice!!! Have a safe trip home. I know the feeling…. I had to go home for a wedding/ other obligations after being away for 2.5 years and that was weird! After 4 years? That’s just SUPER weird! I too made it clear that I wasn’t staying home although I think many people thought I would. Enjoy the time you spend home, and enjoy your re-escape! hehe

  3. Edna 20 August, 2014 at 16:06 #

    And after Singapore…. Shanghai?? :)

  4. Katie 21 August, 2014 at 01:52 #

    Being home can be nice, but I have been here for two years, and I can’t wait to get out! Good idea booking a ticket out of there, it’s easy to get stuck.

  5. Alana - Paper Planes 21 August, 2014 at 04:25 #

    How long will you be ‘home’? And puh-leez start writing again more ;)

  6. Adrian of Adrian's Travel Tales 27 August, 2014 at 22:55 #

    Good Luck going home for the first time. My first trip home was only after a year of being abroad and that was a culture shock. After 4 years, I can’t imagine. I’ll be interested to hear how your experience being home is, and I think I saw you’re heading to Black Rock City so have fun at Burning Man, I’m heading there next year! :)

  7. Victor 4 October, 2014 at 18:47 #

    One day, your life will be only yours, but… Chance is you will not like it.

  8. Charlie 10 November, 2014 at 00:28 #

    I never really got homesick when living abroad, although I missed people at home regularly. But it was always nice to visit. Each time I did I felt I got a new perspective on my life and reminded me how happy I was to be free to live in different parts of the world Enjoy your time at home :)

  9. Leah of The Mochilera Diaries 16 November, 2014 at 07:22 #

    Hi Naomi! Just discovered your blog, I love the title, for starters! I also love that you’re taking the high road in this situation and realizing that sometimes our families need us at home, too. It doesn’t have to be permanent (as your trip won’t be) but sometimes I also forget that it means a lot to my friends and family that I make the sacrifice to come home for important events. I’m sure they will be very happy to have you, even for a short time :)

  10. Fine Stay Slovenia 20 December, 2014 at 21:31 #

    Home sweet home. Really an interesting read!

  11. Escape Hunter 8 January, 2015 at 18:51 #

    I’m curious, where did you take this interesting street photo?

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