“Don’t come closer or I’ll have to go
Owning me like gravity are places that pull
If ever there was someone to keep me at home
It would be you” -Eddie Vedder- Guaranteed
This part of the song is a reflection of what pulls me back to certain places and the journey home.
There are places in our lives that keep pulling us back to it because of some gravitational force it has towards us. Maybe it’s the people, culture, food, landscape or all of it. Whatever the reasons are our draw towards them are strong.
The road seems to be the only place that I have ever felt truly at home in my life. Something about venturing into new experiences that make me come alive.
This is why going back to my hometown after my final year of studies in the UK was the hardest journey I ever had to make. After going away for a period of time we never come back the same.
Frodo Baggins and his circle of Hobbits is a good example of how their journey to save Middle Earth transformed them. After traveling through Middle Earth, fighting against Orcs, crossing rivers, climbing mountains, how could anyone come back the same after such a trip?
However, the Shire, on the other hand, remains the same. It’s as though it was frozen in time. The way they left their home was exactly how they found it upon returning. The people of Hobbiton was indifferent to whatever role their fellow Hobbits played in protecting Middle Earth from the impending doom which reigned upon it.
Like these Hobbits, a lot of other travelers such as myself can relate to their journey of going back home again. When you return home from a life-changing journey where you have seen a new culture, people, faith, history, and landscape, it is very dampening to the spirit when everybody else ignores this.
You sit down with all your buddies excited to share such a huge part of your life only to have most of them only interested in their phones. Rejection and isolation is a natural feeling when this is the kind of treatment you receive. Such a personal, intimate, and impactful part of your life and you have all these people basically telling you to pipe down.
The people we left remained the same, and they expect us to do the same.
The struggle to readjust to home is real. Home’s gravitational pull can lead you to where you left off before going away. After all the trenches you go through and asking you to remain as before doesn’t seem fair.
The only way I know how to cope is to learn to accept that my time away from home has changed me, whether people will acknowledge it or not.
To cure whatever post-travel bleakness I may suffer from is for me to continuously find new things to allow myself to keep traveling.
I believe we never stop traveling if we keep finding ways to re-invent ourselves.
Maybe that Martial Arts school that’s five minutes away from my place is not such a bad idea now. Or the Guitar lessons I’ve been too shy to start on is also a call out for courage. Whatever your itch you need to scratch it.
There is a list of reasons why certain places pull us back to them. However, I feel that the most important reason some places pull us back is the person that they allow us to become.
I will carry the words of this song as a reminder to always allow myself to be whoever it is I aspire to be no matter where I am in the world.