On Being Home

PaulNov12_2018Oregon
November 12, 2018 Sitting in my backyard in Oregon

Having traveled extensively and lived, studied, and done research abroad, I know how central the concept of “coming home” is to that experience. Of course, when you return to “life as usual,” you bring new memories, perhaps new distant friends, and hopefully personal growth. You might have reverse culture shock or see your native land in a slightly different light; you might even have a great shift in perception. T.S. Elliot famously wrote, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time,” and Lin Yutang wrote, “No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” After spending weeks in places where I didn’t know anyone, I have appreciated just going to my local supermarkets and cafes, being greeted by familiar faces.