September has been so beautiful this year. With the sun, the clouds and the intermittent rain, I’ve found comfort in seeing the daylight fade behind the mountains with a sky full of wispy textures; I come home to the peaks of green and fall asleep with my window open to the soft whistle of the wind as it makes its way across the mountain passes, trees and leaves shaking gently through the night.
When I was on vacation this summer, doing a road trip from Vancouver to Toronto through the USA, I really got to experience how much the surroundings change on this continent with every passing driving hour. In the course of a week, I’d been through the feet of the tallest mountains and across the flattest of lands. I’ve been to where the wind steals your hat (Chicago) and to where the sun stays in the sky longer than you can stay awake. I’ve seen the faces of people with rich cultural histories and those finding their own. It feels really special to have ridden through the land of a proud people and to appreciate the way they see their world. I met travelers who were on their way the way I came, and met new people who were interested in my story.
Being away from home has helped me to appreciate it. I think this is one of life’s phases, learning from the outside-in. There is a saying that you don’t know the value of something until it is gone, but I think there is a missing implicit premise: you learn the value when that something is returned to your life. I had never really cared much for my city and what it has to offer the way I do now. There is so much beauty to Vancouver and the Lower Mainland that goes by if you’re not looking for it. Talking about home to people from other places has shared with me the preciousness of home I had forgotten.
Having been home again, I can already dream of where I will go next. But here is where I will return.