Americas

Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

Food with my childhood friend, Liz, in Baltimore. Sometimes it's who you're with that really makes a place "home"...

I’m driving from my mom’s house in Hanover, NH to my alma mater, Wellesley College, in Massachusetts after a pretty intense Thanksgiving road trip. The descent to North Carolina begins…again.

On the radio– Bon Jovi’s “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”. Wish I could say I had a moment driving in that car and listening to a song that seemed to be the epitome of my recent life. But it took me a solid three days before I realized the irony.

Now that I am in North Carolina, I have found myself in New Hampshire four times in the past five months. That is an insane amount of travel up and down the Eastern seaboard. But in many ways, my friends have found it to be typical “Beth” behavior. As sad as it sounds, home is the place I am least likely to be– home in the “current residence” sense of the word. I have probably been in DC more often in the past few months than I had been during my second year of renting there. My boss has completely lost track of me (and I wouldn’t expect anything else, considering my schedule) and often asks me in our Skype conversations, “So, where are you today?”

It’s absurd– but it’s all true.

On American St. in Philadelphia

When you’re living more or less on the road, home becomes a place with many definitions. I often refer to a number of different locations as “home”, which tends to confuse people. Home can be my apartment in North Carolina, the town in which I was raised in New Hampshire, my grandma’s house in Hartford (the only place that truly gives me that nostalgic childhood feeling), my old college city of Boston, my first independent life in DC. Often, home is whatever place I’m staying that night (“Hey Ann, let’s go home…err…to your house”).

Many would think that living the nomadic life would deprive me of a place to call “home”. Yet in a strange and unexpected way, I often find myself comfortably at home in a number of different locations around the world. Perhaps the experience from having moved quite a bit in my childhood has honed my nesting skills and my keeping-in-touch skills.

Though I travel much, I always go back. Keeping in touch is what keeps me sane. It is a source of comfort in many of my friendships, knowing that I can be relied upon to return. And it is a comfort to me to know that every ending is not truly the “end”.

Though it is true that home will never be the same as you leave it, it doesn’t mean you can’t ever turn around. More often than not, the old and familiar triumphs over recent change.

Bon Jovi is right. You can travel the world. And who says you can’t go back?

Beth Santos
Founder and CEO of Wanderful, creator of the Women in Travel Summit, enthusiastic lover of ice cream, picnics and art.

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