I have roots and wings. The familiarity of home is just as important to me as the novelty of the unknown. Therefore it wasn't even much of a decision when I booked a ticket from Rome back to the States for early September. After almost two and a half years, it was time to go home and lay down some roots.
With the purchase of my one way return ticket, I was confident that my traveling days would be far from over. Perhaps just in shorter stints rather than years abroad. My oldest sister, Audrey, gave birth to a blue-eyed boy in April and he stole my heart before even meeting him in person. My second oldest sister, Leah, announced she was pregnant with a darling little girl and due in December. My family was expanding and changing exponentially; so with that growth came the pull to return home.
The growing Perri clan coupled with the onset of a quarter-life-questioning were the determining factors in my homecoming. 26 was creeping up on me and although that is far from an old age, it did make me reflect on where I was in life and where I want to be headed. The cyclical habit of teaching English for a school year, Croatia for a summer, and another country for the following school year could go on forever. This pattern could be easily perpetuated by my adoration for new places and the excitement I revel in from change. However, every September I was starting back in Box 1. There was no long term potential in that plan.
From speaking with other travelers and reflecting on my own intentions, I decided that returning to the States to spend time with family and invest in a job that has a future was the best move. I wanted to find a place that encourages growth of the individual but also offers the security and stability I was subconsciously craving. I wanted to land the job that combined education and travel.
The majority of all the moves and places I have experienced in the past three years were done by divine timing. I rarely searched or planned, but rather, these opportunities were presented to me and there was little reason to ever deter me from accepting them. As this past summer came to a close, the only path in front of me that was clear and open was the one to move home.
This is what I truly believe in, that my journey will be revealed with time. I am meant to take each road and each detour to learn and grow. Those years of residing under a gray cloud feeling restless were vital catalysts to ignite the massive change in my life. Every person, city, and moment I experience sets precedent for the future.
So when digesting the fact that I would be returning to the States, a place I quickly and eagerly turned my back to, I found solace in discovering the next level of my soul searching journey. My homecoming will be a test to see if I am strong enough to carry the values, insight, and lessons I learned while abroad across the Atlantic. Will I be true to the woman I have become? It is extremely easy to succumb to routine, complacency, and being average when all the luxury comforts are at your fingertips in America. It is beyond easy to watch television shows of the beautiful outdoors or relationships blossoming rather than going outside and doing so yourself. It is scarily easy to be a passive visitor in this life instead of actively living it.
So my return will be a testament of my time abroad. I vow to hold the torch up high, paying tribute to every waterfall I swam under, every sunset I shared with incredible people, every joyful smile that came from the truest depths of my heart, while I attempt to make a life at home. Then when the timing is right I will embark on my next journey, whether that lasts several years or is spread out over time.
Choosing to come home is not the end all be all, it may or may not be for forever. However, it is the right decision to make at this time. Traveling is part of my soul, but my family has my heart. Instead of holding a map in my hand, for the time being I will be holding my nephew and soon to be born niece. I have spread my wings, and that freedom of flight will never go away, but now I shall plant my roots.