When it comes to travel, the more exotic and far away from home the better; there’s no better way to experience the entire world and learn about yourself in the process than going as far out of your comfort zone as possible. But when it comes to establishing ourselves in permanent living situations and settling down, how far away are you willing to stray from the town where you grew up that may not be as exciting but has all of your family and friends to offer?
Running off to college was no big deal. I was rarely homesick while living in New York after graduation, and as scary as my stint as an ex-pat was at times, living in Europe was no big deal. I called, I Skyped, I got care packages. I missed “home” but was hell bent on making a new place feel like home (as if anyplace ever really could).
I didn’t think that moving back to my hometown would interfere with my hard-earned independence, so when I decided to go back to my hometown Philadelphia it was no big deal either. But re-experiencing what it felt like to be in such close physical proximity to my parents, brother, childhood best friends — shoot, even having access to my childhood bedroom — was an experience that I had no idea I was missing. The cliche holds true: there is no place like home.
Unexpectedly, after a few years back home, one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do is hop on a cross-country plane to Los Angeles while leaving my friends and family behind. I was excited to start my new adventures on the other side of the country, but for the first time the thousands of miles that would separate me from the people who knew me best seemed a little bit too far. As I walked through airport security sobbing and waving goodbye to my parents, I realized that I might not be the jet-setter I’d always prided myself on being and it threw me for a curveball. Logically, I’m always just a plane ride away and always have been, but suddenly it seemed like my new life would be forever very far away. Perhaps it’s my age or changes in the things that I value in life, but lately I wonder how far away from home is too far.
What do you think? We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments!