This is the time of year for all students who are abroad, be they Gap Year, boarding school, college, or study abroad, when connecting with family is usually a thought that begins to erode even the most stalwart of constitutions. It’s the pull of the open road and the immediate interactions of the world unfolding in front of us, … and the simultaneous pull of family and friends that calls us back to our roots and who we once were. I’ve seen many students over the years in this timeline – most famously remembering a chicken pizza in Nicaragua with a student group. It was as close to turkey as we could find and the memory of the taste is much better than the reality of it actually was – if you understand me there
We are an ever-evolving species, and it’s true what evolutionary biologists say: change happens in spurts, not in these graceful nor gradual ways that feel most comfortable. So as you’re out there, maybe pining to be home or maybe just enjoying where you are, just know that wherever you are and whomever you’re with, you are exactly where you’re supposed to be … because you are there makes it so. Make the call back home and let your family and friends know (not with a text message of facebook post – I guess I’m a bit old-school that way) that you love them. … and then remember what amazing place you are right now and engage in the fantastic things that surround you. Sometimes, reaching backwards, to the friends and family that made you who you are (likely, the same who gave you such courage to be out where you are now) is the best way to keep your bearings and continue choosing your own best path. What is a good Gap Year if you’re not growing through these moments and choosing to better be you?
Jack Kerouac once confessed that whenever he was on the road he always pined for home. Conflictingly, and so unsurprisingly, whenever he was at home he likewise pined to be on the road. Maybe this is simply the human condition and just as likely it’s cultural, but I do know that on my own Gap Year, I thankfully learned that ‘home’ was something I could find in just about any location, … as long as I didn’t forget where I came from but instead honored it.