What it feels like leaving home to travel

paulista avenue sao paulo

Four separate people cried at me before I left home to travel.

One was my mom, so I’m not sure that that should count, only because of the sheer inevitability of it.

Two instances may have been induced at least partially by the presence of alcohol, but I took both instances to heart nonetheless. Not only this but I became inherently involved in both moments, touched by this out-pouting of emotion on my behalf.

I clutched both parties, tipsy myself, as we yelled generic but meaningful lines at each other: “I love you so much!” “You are my best friend!” “Please come baacckkk!!”

If any level-headed, sober person had been situated anywhere within our vicinity in either case they would have most definitely been aghast at the sheer emotional mess of it all.

But I woke up the next morning, hungover certainly, but incredibly humbled.

I think it is in those big life moments, like leaving the country or getting engaged or starting a brand new venture that this outpouring of support and love and encouragement manifests.

I woke up the next morning, hungover certainly, but incredibly humbled.

And it’s in those moments you realise that you have presence in and impact on people’s lives. And that’s a significant feeling; one that invigorates agency and purpose and reminds you of the vitalness of maintaining all your close relationships.

Despite recognising my sheer luck, I have still up-rooted myself, choosing to leave home behind at least for now.

Thankfully, I am not prone to homesickness; I am always too distracted to get caught up in it. 

Instead, and despite having only been gone a short time, I get small pangs of nostalgia in quiet or insignificant moments. I remember small things like an inside joke among friends, or will think to myself: “that person would love this.”

Every single stray dog that crosses my path (of which there are many in Brazil) will remind me of my own furry friends back home and I will wonder if they miss me. Every slice of pizza reminds of the one I had on my last dinner out with my family before I left.

Despite recognising my sheer luck, I have still up-rooted myself

Yesterday, in the gorgeous Brazilian town of Paraty, a cobble-stone square in the old historic centre was alive. A local band churned out samba beats choosing to play not on the large stage behind them but down within the crowd, close enough to touch them. Wooden tables and chairs lined the square as people enjoyed beers and food and in this incredible atmosphere all I could think about was the people in my life who would have loved to have been there.

And it all just proves one thing: that you can leave home but you can never leave home behind.

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