In today’s Filled With Gratitude series, Rachel shares the feeling of finally going back home in the arms of her family, after traveling for so long.
This is such a beautiful and heartfelt story, and I hope this inspires you to appreciate your family more.
Thank you Rachel for contributing your story to us 💕
Stepping off the plane, there is a familiar scent in the air. There is absolutely no way to describe the scent because it is composed of far too many individual scents to truly know how to describe it. Then again, maybe it’s not a scent at all but rather a recognition. I left with every intention of never coming back. I knew my life was meant to be lived throughout the cultures and lands of unexplored places but as I drag my suitcase behind me, listening to the snap of the wheels clipping every divot of the tiles laid beneath my feet, I know this is part of my path.
The beautiful slurs of the Italian language ring in my ears; my body relaxes into the pace of letting life lead me rather than pushing myself forward. The moment I boarded the plane initially, I changed. Taking off to a country I had never been to and knew nothing of the language was my adventure, my challenge. Every weekend filled with new cities or countries to explore and dive into, only to return Monday morning for class; focusing to refine my craft, lead by the culture which distinguished it in the first place. Finding myself in situations, places, moments which I could have never anticipated and yet, couldn’t live without. Every moment was perfect. Every taste, every sight, every emotion was better than the last. Yet, as I pass the security guard stationed next to the sign which states “no re-entry after this point” and round the corner to see my Mother smiling her broadest smile, a piece of my heart falls inline that I didn’t even know was misplaced.
As a teen, I couldn’t wait to move out of my house and explore the world. When I was freshly 18, I moved from a small single stop sign town to the biggest city possible, New York City. Many claimed I was crazy, wild, a dare-devil of sorts but that was only the beginning as I would later announce I was moving to Milan, Italy. I couldn’t understand why everyone was so captivated with me wanting to travel the world, why I was such a conundrum of wanting to venture out and experience more. It wasn’t until this moment of returning home and feeling a new sense of peace that I came to realize… well, much more than I think I can ever put into words.
I was raised adventurous. I was raised curious. I was raised independent.
Feeling her arms wrap around me and squeeze, watching my Dad slip his phone in his pocket to come greet me himself, and my brother patiently standing in the back with his ever so sly I’m-going-to-pretend-I’m-not-emotionally-affected-by-this smile; this is the reason why I travel, the reason I return home. I choose my purpose and I lead with intent but this is my strength, my foundation. Finding inspiration and encouragement in those who will always be looking to greet me with open arms.
Growing up my mom always said, “At the end of the day, all you truly have is family.” I never valued that statement more than in that moment and it was within that moment that I truly recognized its value.
I am grateful for every moment had, every adventure filled, every place explored, but I will never be more grateful than for the moment I return home.