Home and Away – Anthony Statham

There aren’t as many people as I’d hope who just pack it up and take off for foreign lands. Or people I know, anyway. It’s one of those things. For a great deal of people life begins and ends where you’ve always been – a good job; marriage and kids – or just the simple comforts that come with familiarity leaves you stranded.The people who do sell all their books and their car, give away all the random stuff they’ve collected over the years, trust their bicycles to a friend for safekeeping, are usually nothing alike. Not how you might expect. There isn’t a test or anything that says, “This particular individual has a higher ______-lihood of leaving his or her home country for life on the other side of the world.”

The people I do know, like myself, who have lived for more than a holiday’s length of time in a foreign country where everyone looks at you like you’re an alien and you don’t speak the native language, are, I think, a little disappointed upon their arrival back home at the genuine lack on interest in our stories. Just because you left doesn’t mean anything changed for those who stayed home. Every day is another day followed by another day until one day you’re back and to them they only thing that was different is they didn’t see you all the time. And people get over that fairly quickly.

So, in some weird turn of events, it is the others like you who you share the bond with, even through the muddied understanding that you are in fact from different places as well, the nomads, and there are so many notions running through your heads about what we’re supposed to be like, and then anyway, we all become friends – because birds fly and fish swim and humans need to talk – and when you go home you’re not really going home. You are home and anywhere you are is now home because home is just you in your skin. Environments change and we grow.

When you think maybe you can’t remember why you ever left in the first place, maybe the first time or the time or times you returned to your homeland and left again, remember all those people who made your home with you, all the stories you share and the places we’ve seen and the air we’ve tasted, and maybe you’ll see family is the people who took that risk you took. If you’re lucky enough to see any of your fellow travelers again it might be all the things left unsaid that tell you you’re really home.

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