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Goodbye New Jersey. Hello World! A record of my journey as I give up my job, my possessions, and life as I know it to go off and see the world!

I'm Going Home Tomorrow

NEW ZEALAND | Saturday, 28 July 2012 | Views [5174] | Comments [3]

I remember the first time I put on my full pack. Man, the thing was heavy. Walking with it was awkward and I felt like I was carrying the weight of another person. There were things in that bag I knew I shouldn't have packed (sleeping bag) and things missing I should have (rain coat, proper toiletries bag). I couldn't tell what was going on behind me as I walked through busy Penn Station in New York and I had to take care not to hit anyone when I turned. I was so nervous about what was ahead of me, being on an around-the-world backpacking trip starting in Ireland and ending ?? But I was anxious and ready to go.

Today, 2 years later I slip on my pack and it fits me like a glove. It's been awhile since we have been together, and I can't help but think “hello, old friend”. A certain thrill runs through my blood that I haven't felt in a long time. My attempts to wash the dirt and smells off it have long failed. I see the brown spots and think of it being shoved under benches in Chinese and Russian trains. I smell the flowery odor of my conditioner in the top pocket where my toiletries burst open more times than I would like. I smell...well I am not sure what you want to call it....muskiness? The bag has been on 13 planes, about 10 trains and a few boats and buses. I don't think the smell is going away anytime soon, so why bother? I touch the fabric and think of the time I had to hold it in my lap on a cramped 4 hour bus ride through southern China. My knees started to go numb after a bit. I should get a new bag really, but I won't. We will be together until it dies, because I am just too loyal to something that never gave up on me.

I am going home. For a holiday. Then I am coming back to New Zealand where I currently live. Just as I didn't know how long I would be when I initially left, I am not sure how long it will be when I leave again. It's bizarre, that I am going home for just a visit. I haven't seen my family and friends in 2 years and now it will be for just a tiny few 3 weeks.

I sit in my bedroom and finger the few American notes I currently have. They feel familiar and yet foreign to me at the same time. I guess the same can be said for how I feel about home. At first I was so excited but as the trip draws near I am nervous. What are people going to think of me? Do people still think of me the same way as when I left? I start to feel badly about the people I lost touch with. I am really not the same person as when I left- neither mentally or physically. In some ways I am better and some ways I am worse. I left home because I was lost. But to be honest, I feel no more found as when I left, perhaps I am even more lost. I am nervous about what I will think of home. Will I not want to leave again? Will I regret any choices that I made?

Living abroad can be a hard choice, particularly if you live on the other side of the globe. After awhile you get used to missing all the events at home. But you have this comforting feeling that everyone is still there, looking forward to seeing you. It's a scary thought that perhaps people have moved on and have perhaps given up on you.

Bottom line, it feels good to get that pack on again. It's been far too long.

Tags: coming home, living abroad



Hey Lauren,

Alicia here. I hope you have a great visit in the states - returning home is always a roller coaster of emotions. I thought I would share your post on our Facebook page today, as this sort of experience so clearly resonates with our travel community.

Happy travels!

  scholarships Jul 30, 2012 10:13 AM


Hey! This probably sounds really weird, but my friend and I both had you as a teacher a few years ago and I think we saw you at walmart on sunday. I didn't know if you'd even remember us so we didn't go say hi, haha. But we looked you up and found your blog, it sounds like you've had a lot of great experiences, so awesome! I hope you enjoy your visit home

  Marissa Aug 7, 2012 2:13 PM


Hi Lauren,

Thanks for sharing this. It reminds me of my love for my own backpack. It really does feel like a close friend. I also resonate with your feelings about returning home. I hope you had a good return journey!

  Daniela Nov 15, 2012 4:02 AM



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