It’s midnight, my eyes are red from the lack of sleep I experienced flying all day after many delays. I’m hungry, tired, and yet full of energy because I’m coming home after another solo trip. The passengers get up around me ready to get off the cold plane. I tiredly walk down the ramp and I see him; he is smiling ear-to-ear as I go in for a hug. My heart is happily beating away from being reunited with someone I treasured.
Alone in my bed that night, despite my drowsiness, I do not sleep. A million memories flood my brain. I grab my camera and look through every photo imagining I am still traveling. I smell the pine trees I hiked through, I feel the rough rocks beneath my hiking shoes, and I am transported to the place I fell in love with.
It’s not the missed flights, the unknown, the financial struggle, or the rude strangers that are hardest to handle…it’s coming home. I look around me and nothing has changed, but everything has. I suddenly feel foreign in the small village I grew up in. I am more afraid of returning to that village than I am of taking off to an unknown area, because the memory I have and what I now see has been altered by the hundreds of people I have met and the places I have left my heart in. Goodbyes can be hard, but so can one hundred hellos.