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Life Lessons Learnt in Asia: There’s No Place Like Home
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Thoughts on the Internal Struggle of the Wanderlust

My mother’s favourite movie is The Wizard of Oz and as a singer of the American songbook I know the film’s music well. As a traveler the song lyrics “there’s a land that I heard of, once in a lullaby
always speaks to me. I am constantly searching to find that “land”.

Recently I went home to visit my family in Massapequa, New York. It hasn’t changed much since I left but as an outsider I am able to view my childhood home more objectively. I can see all the rosy parts of my hometown. It is a wonderful place.

During this past visit the thought crossed my mind, “could my ‘over the rainbow’, be my own

Waking up to a house with people I know and love inside makes me smile. Sitting out on our back deck, the sun in my face, the birds chirping, our family dog under my feet, my mother telling me the names of the ‘families’ in her bird houses, brings me peace (as an Aries, that feeling is rare!).

Going for a run and passing all our neighbours, a little bit older but still recognisable, still in the same house, watering their gardens and waving hello, “Welcome home! When did you get back?” is wonderful too. But as always, I am confronted by the next question, the inevitable one, “how long will you stay?” even they know I will not be staying long.

It frustrates me. “Why can’t I stay here?” “Why can’t I be happy with this life?”

Nothing compares to the comfort of being surrounded by my sister and brothers.

They knew me during my years with braces, when I cut off all my hair and bleached it orange, when I came home after freshman year 15 pounds heavier. They know me well (and they certainly don’t let me live it down!). Before I arrived home, I had not laughed to where my tummy hurts in a long time, but home in New York it is a daily occurrence.

“Why can’t I stay?” At home on Long Island I am at peace. Gone are the nights of insomnia that sometimes plague me when I’m away. “Why?” I don’t know why I cannot stay but I do know that deep down something in me just can’t. I am certain that if I decided to stay I would find myself itching to book a plane ticket somewhere before long. I suppose it is just the curse of the wanderlust. I have accepted that my permanent home will probably never be in New York.

I also know and have learnt that home is inside of you. I have to channel it into the place I am in.

Find what makes me happy there. Make my peace in that place. “There is no place like home” but home can be anywhere. I will continue to scratch my travel itch and I will remind myself that it is up to me to makehome. It is up to me to bring that feeling of home with me because as Dorothy says in the film, “if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”

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