Well, I did it.

I boxed up nearly all of my possessions, donated a large portion of my clothes and stored the rest for winter and my eventual return home, took two weeks to say goodbye to everyone I know, and got on the plane.

Putting it that way makes it seem like it was easy. To be honest, I’m not sure if it was easy and I knew what I was doing or if I put my mind and emotions on autopilot to make room for the unknown. October may have been the most emotionally trying month of my life. I had to say goodbye to a very special woman in my life who left us quite suddenly. The weeks I spent between her passing and me leaving were filled with putting as much effort as possible into savoring the life I live and the people in it. I interviewed each one of my mom’s siblings individually as part of a personal video project I’ll be working on for the next year or so. I stuffed myself on so many goodbye lunches, dinners, and drinks that I almost hoped they didn’t have any food in Australia. I took Lacey, the pug I love quite unconditionally, for many walks and we explored parts of my parents’ property that we had never seen before. I watched the World Series with my dad and started to like baseball for the first time ever. I bundled up against the cold to help my mom feed her horses at night. I spent time hanging out with my 16 year-old brother, watching the new Walking Dead episodes every week, screaming and squirming right beside him.

I lived life harder.

I burst into tears as I said goodbye to Lacey the morning I left. And again when my mom and her friends walked me to the security line in Boise. It was like ripping off a bandaid. I had made my decision and I had to go for it. I couldn’t not do it.

I got on the plane.

A high school friend picked me up in Los Angeles for dinner during my layover. We went to a restaurant in Manhattan Beach and I met his girlfriend for the first time. After dinner we walked to the pier and it was incredibly surreal to remember the last time I had seen the Pacific ocean months ago I and how I felt I was going home to the wrong side of it and had actually burst into tears mid-flight. And that night I was flying back to the correct side to be next to the person I belonged with.

After a one-hour delay in our departure from LAX due to having to switch to a smaller plane last minute, and a semi-torturous 15 hour flight that I mostly slept through, I arrived in Melbourne on a breezy, cool sunny spring morning. I couldn’t turn around and run back home. Partly because I sure as hell didn’t want to endure another 24 hours of travel but mostly because I was at peace with where I was. I had flown the nest in a very big way and landed exactly where I was supposed to be.

In the ten or so years we’ve known each other, Dale and I had never done particularly well in life if we had fallen out of touch. I can’t help but wonder if October might have been better if he had been around but the moment I saw him at the arrivals gate made everything worth it. All of the goodbyes and the tears. The fears vanished. I was back in Australia but more importantly finally back with him and ready to start our new adventures together.

4 Comment

  1. […] 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 […]

  2. Thanks for sharing this very personal blog! We are planning on moving abroad next year and I am dreading that moment at the airport when we have to say goodbye to family and friends! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Shealyn says: Reply

      It really is so hard! The only consolation is knowing you get to go home again someday.

  3. […] 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, […]

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