What does it mean to be home after such a long trip?
Strange enough, 19 months abroad, and when we’re back, I feel like somehow many things stayed the same while noticing little differences such as a new condo here or a new business over there.
When we were riding home from the ferry terminal, I didn’t want to lead our merry little pack home because I wasn’t completely sure I would remember the right roads…
…but the roads came back to me as our tires rolled across the black asphalt. I would just know where to turn when the streets came up and soon we were rolling into the quiet residential streets right before home.
I also realized as we turned onto a quiet residential street maybe a few hundred metres before home that my front tire was flat. I have only had two flat tires on the whole trip before this! Ironically, when I was running through the farm roads a few days later, I would twist my ankle. 19 months away and both my bike and I get injured at home! Well, I joke that I was just saving it all until the end.
So home is recovery, in body and soul. It is a place where you are comfortable and can just let go. Home is a time when you do all your laundry, not just those that obviously fail the sniff test. It is letting that ragged riding shirt finally rest and retiring my cracking front rim (which had continued to carry me for the last couple thousand kilometers!)
Home after a long trip is a time of reflection and looking back over the photos of the trip… and it is a time where new ideas for future are just starting to sprout like green shoots in fertile earth after a rain.
There is also a taste of home. Favorite foods of home are reminisced about and drooled over during long empty stretches far away. Experiencing food and home are often so interconnected and unlike intangible feelings of home that can be hard to express in words, food is this material thing ingested into our bodies. Home is tasted and savored. In that bite of sharp cheddar cheese, Bryan tasted home. For me, home was truly relished when I bit down into fresh piece of spicy salmon sashimi at a little sushi restaurant in East Van with my family on our weekly Sunday get-together. Bryan has had cheddar cheese and I even had some sushi before getting home but it just didn’t taste as good until we were here, back in Vancouver. Home and food were inseparable in the family dinner Bryan’s wonderful parents cooked up for Easter dinner the first night we were back.
Good company is often shared over good food.
Home really is a community. It is reconnecting with family and friends.
Home is a lot of hugs.