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 :)