So I've been back in Canada a little more than a week now (don't worry I have lots of blog posts about Ireland to post still), but since I've been home I've felt sort of lost. Not that I don't know where to go or what I want, but lost in the sense of this place doesn't feel the same to me anymore.
Most people feel a sense relief when they get home from a 'vacation'. They're happy to sleep in their own bed. They feel calm and relaxed that they can veg out in front of the television. I don't have this sense of relief. It's hard to describe and I don't want anyone to think this means I don't love them, or my life here. I do love all of my family and friends, I do love my life. I just don't have the sense of satisfaction that I'm home and at peace.
I don't know how to describe it. I've struggled to put it into words, but when I was in Ireland I gained a stronger sense of who I am. I have a better understanding now of what I'm capable of and just how amazing the world is. I also came 'home' with this feeling. A feeling I've had for a while but didn't exactly understand until now.
When you travel alone, truly alone, with no one to rely on for anything, you learn that no matter what happens in life you will be okay. You can figure it out (even if it means asking for help and looking like a moron). You grow in ways you can't express in words because you learn that you're so much stronger than you thought. You're capable of anything you put your mind to. You learn that as much as you've been taught what home is, with its safety, sense of familiarity and security, home really is more of a feeling than a place. A feeling of where you belong in the world. A feeling of what your life is supposed to be like.
This realization made me sad to leave Ireland, not because I was coming back to Canada but because I knew my life had changed in a way I wasn't sure my friends and family would understand. I'm still not sure they will. I love my family, more than I can express. I have the most amazing friends a girl could ask for in this life.
However, asking them to understand a feeling I can't even put into words myself, is a lot to ask of them.
It's a lot to ask of anyone.
How do you explain to someone you love, someone you miss and think about every day that the idea of 'home' isn't a house with a yard. It isn't a place where a family gets together for Sunday dinner. It isn't a pin on a map where you can label a place that makes you happy. "Home" is simply a feeling. A feeling that can't be put into words. A feeling that makes your heart feel whole and your soul feel complete. A feeling that THIS is what life is supposed to be.
Home for me has become something different. It's not a place, a stamp in a passport or a country.
It's the feeling I get by going to a place that scares me. The feeling of boarding a plane and not knowing what will happen. The feeling of walking down an empty, unfamiliar street at 4am in a country I've never been to before. The feeling of exploring a place for the first time. The excitement and anticipation of the unknown.
Ireland changed me. In ways, I'm still trying to understand.
I'm grateful for that. I will always have a place in my heart for the country that filled my soul.
I love that we as humans have the ability to challenge ourselves in these ways. I love that we can run towards what scares us and face it head on and afterwards come to the realization that we are better for it.
I knew a year ago that I didn't feel like I belonged 'here' anymore.
I couldn't pinpoint why. I just knew that something about my life didn't feel right. Now, I know that feeling was my soul trying to tell me that where I feel at home isn't a bed in a warm house with a huge backyard. It isn't a spot on a map that people can meet me. It's not a pin on a globe.
Home is the feeling of change, growth, challenge, fear, and uncertainty. It's a sense of knowing who I am intrinsically, while wondering who I will become. Who I will grow to be in the future because of the things I will see, the people I will meet and the experiences I'll have.
Home is no longer a pin on a map.