On Leaving

Pictures to Follow is a travel and lifestyle blog aimed at sharing the experiences that make life worth living

It’s a very curious thing, to see the end of something. To know when the conclusion will happen. We have decided to uproot and head back to America. I want to go home and see my family, friends, and most of all, my pug. Dale wants an opportunity to live in a foreign country and, inexplicably, consume the upcoming political elections first hand. So for the past few weeks – we should have started much earlier – we’ve been packing up and selling everything we have. The car, several tables, and multiple pieces of furniture have been listed online and childhood memories have been packed away in totes. Luckily for me, most of it is Dale’s but there are several things of mine I know I won’t miss or think twice about once they’re out of sight.

In just under two weeks, we’re getting on a plane. We’re saying goodbye and jetting off to Thailand for a bit and then on home (via long layovers in Tokyo and Los Angeles). I’ve gone through this all before. The goodbyes, the silent desperation to cling to anything that truly means “home”, the hastily planned lunches and dinners, the heaviness of last looks. But I hadn’t expected to have to endure it all again. Sure, I knew I would eventually return home for a bit, but I thought that I’d get out relatively unscathed. And I knew that Dale would accompany me on my next departing flight from Australia. But I was blindsided by the sadness of leaving again.

I didn’t exactly feel like I soared in my last nine months here since leaving the nest. That in itself was a wake up call for me. But just as I was standing back up, dusting myself off, and getting ready to walk out the door, I was invited further in. Acquaintances and sort-of friends suddenly became staples in my weekly routine. Girl time over healthy lunches (usually involving avocado in some form) happened. Conversations of shared hopes and dreams took place. Drinks were had and inside jokes were shared. I got close and now it hurts.

Above all else, my time in Australia has taught me the importance of community. Of not being alone. Of having that support system in place. One of my favorite movies, About a Boy, uses that exact premise. The main character, Will, was just floating along in life until it’s shaken up by a boy, Marcus, who needs him. Will’s life is never the same and he is the better for it. I always took my support system back home for granted. But now I don’t. I now have two communities. Two homes in two hemispheres. My life will never be fully, 100% in one place again. And I am the better for it, no matter how much it hurts.

2 Comment

  1. Sally says: Reply

    Hi Shealyn. Leaving a home and another country can be both the saddest and most exciting event. Don’t be surprised if you feel more culture shock upon returning to America than you did leaving it. The first time I tried to repatriate, I lasted less than a year and was soon yearning for olive picking and rural village life over the bustle of shopping malls & conveniences. Seriously, who needs 7 different brands of toilet paper to choose from? Good luck with the move & keep that support system strong!

  2. Love this. The importance of community should never be underestimated. Sadly it does take most of us moving away from home to realise it but once you realise it’ll stick with you forever

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