There are hundreds of travel guides on the shelves in front of me, Europe, Asia, South America. For €9.99 I can find the best places to eat in Madrid, what hotel to stay at in Istanbul, and shady neighborhoods to avoid in Rio de Janeiro – yet none of them have a chapter on coming home. None of them can tell me what to say when I find myself at a table with my hometown friends as they discuss their wedding plans, new jobs, and baby showers.
“How’s Spain? What have you been up to over there anyway?”
How can you possibly encapsulate a lifetime of experiences to someone that hasn’t even left their hometown. I don’t mean to sound like a snob, either. In fact, I envy her.
The worst possible thing you can do is begin to love people in different places, because when that happens, you will never be able to call one place “home” ever again. A part of your heart will always be missing. Always wondering, what are they doing right now? They must be at that bar, the one with the blackboard on the outside with today’s specials written on them, and the tacky, yet charming Christmas lights that illuminate the tables on the terrace, always full until the sun comes up.
When I’m home, I’m there, and I’m not there. My bed is not my bed anymore. My parents’ house is a memorial for someone that died years ago and will never come back. I do goodbyes, I can think quickly, eat strange food without asking too many details – but I can’t wait up in the morning and feel completely at peace with myself …because I’m always going to be wandering from one place to the next, searching for something that I can’t find – a restless purgatory.
“Not much, same old. Just moving around a bit. Nice weather, as usual.” I reply.