Today’s post is a little different from my usual blogs. It’s way more personal and a bit more serious, but I really felt moved to write it due to recent circumstances that hopefully you’ll understand.
My uncle Charles passed away earlier this month after a series of strokes, and last weekend I traveled with my mother to her hometown of Seaside, California to attend both his military and civilian memorial services.
Both homegoing services were very emotional, filled with beautiful tributes to Charles’ life from his siblings, children and close family friends who flew in from around the world to be able to say a final goodbye. People came from as far as the United Kingdom to say goodbye to my uncle, which I think serves as a testament to just how much he meant to his friends and family.
Before and after the memorial services my family would either gather at the house where my mom and her siblings grew up, or we would go to a nearby restaurant and have a big family meal. Yes, we were that family that pushed five tables together and did not use our inside voices #dealwithit. Despite the sad circumstances that brought us together, it was really nice to catch up with my aunts, uncles and cousins, and just be surrounded by family that I don’t see as often as I’d like to.
I also got to spend some quality time with my mom, who is my biggest role model and personal superhero. We went on a mini-road trip to the 17-Mile Drive in Monterey, argued over what to watch on the hotel television, and talked about life (well fine, she asked me what I was doing with my life, but same difference). Of all the time we spent together over the weekend, one particular moment between my mom and I stood out to me above the rest.
We were driving from my mom’s childhood home to get sandwiches from a nearby lunch spot. I whipped out my smartphone, ready to be the helpful daughter I strive to be and navigate us to the restaurant, but before I could start to dole out directions, my mom shook her head, waved the phone away and said, “I don’t need those, I know where I’m going. I’m home.”
“I’m home.” It was such a simple comment; on any other day I probably wouldn’t have given any thought to it. But for some reason those two little words stuck with me, and really made me reflect on the importance of appreciating where you came from.
As a travel enthusiast, I am constantly thinking about what’s next on my quest to see the world. Questions like, “what country should I explore after this trip,” or “what cities should I add to my bucket list” run through my mind all day long. I’m always looking for the next big adventure, but sometimes in my rush to embark on these new journeys, I inadvertently forget to stop and appreciate what I’m leaving behind.
The simple fact is, I could travel to hundreds of new places, and create incredible memories in all corners of the world, but there will always be something special about home that I cannot find anywhere else, and I really need to treasure that more. From my OG hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, to the life I’m making for myself in California, I have such a great support system of family and friends that make both Atlanta and LA more than just a place where I live, but a home that I love.
My weekend in Seaside was a reminder for me that there really is no place like home. My home helped shaped me into the person I am today, and even though I still believe that we should all try to see as much of the world as possible, sometimes the best place to go is #homesweethome.