With a month left of my European backpacking excursion, home is on the horizon.
I haven’t been home to Colorado since New Year’s Day, and I miss my family more than words can express. However, I don’t exactly know how to return home.
At the beginning of July, I will return home after having gone to six European countries and traveled thousands of miles by plane and hundreds more by train. I will have seen the Roman Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower and the Prague Castle.
I texted my mom the other day and all it said was, “I don’t think I am ever going to stop traveling after this.”
All I have ever wanted was to travel and now that I have a taste of it, the idea of returning home seems impossible. I don’t know how to come home to America, or more specifically school in Indiana, and stare at the same view every day.
I love waking up every day having no idea what the day will hold or what my eyes will see. I love packing my bags every three days and ending up in an entirely different country. The thrill of randomly ending up at a lake and having to follow the rule of the summer: if there's water, you get in.
I love meeting people from all walks of life and who have stories of the world to tell, whether that’s in a bar or simply the owner of a coffee shop.
Sharing a room with random strangers in a hostel might not sound appealing, but I even enjoy that. The blending of personalities, languages and cultures all in one room makes for very entertaining nights. Even when one of the roommates screams in Spanish in the middle of the night.
Everything is a story to tell later. Even if it’s not funny in the moment, I promise it will be at some point.
So, after everything, how do I go back to the cornfields of Indiana? How do I go back to the same walk to class every day and the same people in the same room?
Try as I might, you can only adventure in Indiana so much!
People always say leaving is the hardest part; but I think coming home is far harder.
Gentry Keener (she/her) is a junior studying journalism and political science.