Folding and unfolding can mean one of two things, one: it’s laundry day, or two: you’re packing. Seeing that the first choice is just plain dismal, let’s go with option two. Packing (and unpacking) can also mean one of two things, one: you’re traveling, or two: you’re going home. Both, while equally satisfying, are almost polar opposites on the spectrum of excitement. Traveling ensues going new places and trying new things, the thrill of the unknown making your heart beat faster. Going home can be just as fun; it offers a warm comfort like no other place in the world can give you, steadying your heartbeat to a calming rhythm.
I’ve done a lot of traveling this summer. I have taken every form of public transportation ever invented. I rode a helicopter to a glacier, hiked on it, and drank the fresh water that ran down it. I zip-lined across the Alaskan rainforest, amidst redwoods half as tall as the Space Needle. I ate Alaskan salmon and king crab, Seattle dungeness crab, St. Louis style ribs, and Florida Gulf seafood, all in the places for which they are famous. I took a peek into corporate America at a professional conference, and ate BBQ (mentioned above) in a suit. I came face to face with an elephant, a hippo and a sea lion in the same day. I climbed a 12 story building, rode a ferris wheel on top of the roof, and then proceeded to slide down ten of the stories up which I climbed. I visited (and ascended) the two tallest man-made monuments in the United States. I helped put on an event through my internship for the company at which I one day hope to work. I kayaked in the Gulf of Mexico, fishing pole in hand, and caught a Spanish Mackerel that I then made for dinner. It’s been a whirlwind of a summer, and it isn’t even over yet.
I’ve always loved the thrills of traveling, but traveling always meant I had to come back to reality, to home. Home was boring and predictable, nothing like the excitement of rainforests and glaciers. Over the years though, I’ve learned that coming home has its own sort of thrill. While it does mean almost dying from the humidity that only somewhere below the gnat line can offer, it also means that after all of that going, I get to be embraced by the comfort of family, a broken couch, my own table, and the food I’ve eaten my whole life. Compared to hiking on a glacier that seems pretty mundane, I know. But no matter how much folding and unfolding, packing and unpacking, I will do in my life, that mundanity and comfort of grits, peaches and sweet tea will always be there to welcome me home.