This week we headed back to Idaho where my parents live, thus completing a full loop and returning to where we started our travels from. It wasn’t a trip that we had planned on making, but we’ve learned to expect the unexpected in our life as we’ve spent the last year learning to go with the flow and allow ourselves to be taken where our intuition directs us. (This is made possible in large part due to Wind’s military benefits, which include a retirement pension and free “space available” flights. I know, HUGE perks.)
This week I also celebrated a milestone: I used to own a pole dance studio, and one year and one week ago I sold it. It’s fitting, then, that in completing this travel loop we drove in to Boise (from my parents house an hour north) and made a last minute decision to stop in to the studio to meet with my cousin who was also visiting town and happened to be taking classes there! It was all very serendipitous. This time stopping in, the place was full of familiar faces, and I got to see people I hadn’t seen for at least a year. I also got a chance to see the studio in action, jam-packed with happy people hanging from the rafters in aerial silks and on poles. It was both overwhelming, and exactly what I needed.
Let me fill you in. For five years running, this studio was my life. As any small business owner can understand, I thought about different aspects of it constantly; it was a huge, major part of myself and my identity. The sale of this business was the culmination of about a year’s worth of a few other major life transitions that, inwardly brought me to a place of congruency with my truest self, and yet outwardly brought me to losing my shit! Before, during, and afterwards I found myself in a washing machine process of trying to make sense of life under new terms.
It was such a long stretch of confusing and emotional events that even after five months of traveling around the world, heading back to Idaho where my life had been still made me nervous.
Many of us travelers face a shock to the system when we return home after extended travel. We spend months (and sometimes longer) exploring the world and digging deep into ourselves. We have the time, space, and freedom to make great leaps in understanding. We have incredibly breathtaking moments; we have spiritual awakenings; we come to see life from a whole new perspective. And we worry: will we lose it all, along with the peace we have found, when we return to our old stomping grounds? Will being surrounded by what we once knew throw us back into who we used to be?
I was worried about coming back to the US, but I surrendered. I knew that facing my fear was the best way to get through it and see if all the changes would stick. Likewise, and perhaps even more so, returning to Idaho and seeing the studio I had sold again, this time in its new location and full of new students as well as students I knew from before, was an incredibly healing experience. I was able to see that I am really different now, and I’m also still the same. In a familiar setting with familiar people, I felt different because I have truly let go, energetically and physically. I also felt the same, because I still felt the love for these people and for the studio that I felt before, but this time without all the sadness and stress that I intentionally let go of and healed from during my travels.
And now, the most amazing part of this return home is that I know I can be me – the me I have come to know and understand through traveling – no matter where I am or who I am with. And because of my experiences, I can also approach people whom I may have known for years with an open mind that they are a new person everyday. We are all changing all the time, traveling just gives us the space to let the changes root and grow.
Have you returned home after extensive traveling? What was your experience like?