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As many of you know, I spent the month of March back in the good old USA. Aside from one post that grappled with figuring out where my real home is now after almost a year on the road, I really only mentioned the trip through my Photos of the Week and my travel quote posts. You’d be forgiven for thinking I went home, vegged out and did nothing blog-worthy the entire month.

But in reality I had a jam-packed four weeks. Much of it revolved around this:

Yes, I ate a lot of food, and had many delicious cocktails, and I admit that much of my pre-trip excitement revolved around Chipotle guacamole. But believe it or not, eating is not all I did while I was back stateside. I split my time evenly between two locations, my hometown of Albany, New York and my adopted city of Brooklyn! I quickly learned that while one month may sounds like a long time, it slips through your fingers all too quickly.

Being home in Albany is always a gift. Sleeping in my bed, walking my beloved dog, and being surrounded by my family and childhood friends. Back in Thailand I had these crazy fantasies of having two weeks at home to relax and watch Law and Order marathons. Ha! I ran around like a crazy person the entire time I was there, both catching up with friends and doing the mundane dentist, doctor and more routine. No complaints, though… I’m grateful that there are still so many people that want to spent time with me after I’ve been away so long. In fact I spent the entire month surrounded by people I absolutely love and adore. How’s that for a good time?

Look out for posts about my visit to my former Montessori school to give a presentation about Thailand and a proclamation of my love for Saint Patrick’s Day celebrated Albany-style.

From Albany I also managed to sneak in a quick visit to Atlantic City with my Vegas cohorts from last year. There was an insane amount of laughter and alcohol abuse going on that weekend. Posts to come.

The other two weeks of my trip were spent in NYC. I really love this city that never sleeps. Again, I hit the ground running and did not stop. Upcoming posts include my recaps of the New York Times Travel Show and the Beneath The Sea Dive Show (where I accepted my scholarship from the Women Divers’ Hall of Fame!), and a round up and giveaway from the charming travel bookstores I checked out around town.

As I left the city soon after graduation it was really amazing to come back and see the careers and adult lives that my NYC friends have started to build. I was so, so proud to see what they have accomplished so quickly! But I also had a bit of a revelation. I looked at my friends, many of whom are working so ridiculously hard, putting in such insane hours and making just enough money. And they are passionate and happy and I’m happy for them and I admire them very much. But I realized… that is not the life for me.

I’m too in love with the spontaneity and the freedom and the flexibility that my current lifestyle provides. Maybe I’m sacrificing stability, and financial security, and a flashy career, but I’m okay with that. I love working for myself, choosing my own hours, and taking a break when necessary. Coming home made me realize… I love my life!

Another revelation: I meet so many travelers that have hit the road because they can’t stand the place that they come from. In one way that makes me a bit jealous, because they don’t grapple with homesickness and the “Am I doing the right thing?” questions that I struggle with quite often. But then if I think about it a little bit more and I am so grateful to be in the position that I am, having so much love for the place that I come from. And I’m so glad that I can come and go, but always slip back into the life I love so much in New York state. It might make saying goodbye that much harder, but it makes saying hello a damn pleasure.

Home will always be my favorite destination.

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31 Comments...
  • Margaret
    May 9 2012

    Good luck on your travels “home” this weekend! I look forward to you being in the states long enough to hopefully get a visit in.
    Toodles

    • Meihoukai
      May 9 2012

      I definitely want to come visit Margaret! I was hoping when I do maybe we could take a trip to Niagra Falls… still have never been.

  • Oh man. I am defending my PhD dissertation in just over two weeks and my lab is already planning my celebration party. Everyone assumes that because I am setting off on this world adventure, the food should be “international”, but I just want pizza and burgers because those are the things I’ll have a hard time getting once Tony and I hit Asia! Glad to see that foodwise, you made your trip home to NY a success! 😉
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 9 2012

      Well, it depends where you are! I’m always shocked by what a range of food you can get in Bangkok. But then I was just in Laos for example and any attempt at ordering western food was a MASSIVE mistake. So you have to take what you can get! Congrats on your PhD!

  • Nadia
    May 9 2012

    Ahhh. I am struggling with this now. Years of traveling and sacrifice to live a life of freedom and spontaneity yet somehow I find myself writing this from an office …. the one with the flashy career that everyone pretends is glamorous but we all know, well, it just isnt. Do I stay and spend time with my family, sacrificing my freedom and navigating the rat race, or do I go off again, living dreams and missing everyone? Pleasure to read about your journey.

    • Meihoukai
      May 9 2012

      That definitely is the internal struggle that I have on a daily basis. I think I have a good balance this summer… I’m based from home and will have lots of time to spend with family and friends and catch up on freelance work, but I’ll also be setting off on fairly regular adventures. We’ll see how it goes!

  • Grandma Burr
    May 9 2012

    I enjoy your postings and, of course, expect them to continue. You are doing something amazing – so, keep me,and everyone else enthralled. Please don’t consider stopping, Gram E

    • Meihoukai
      May 9 2012

      Thanks Gram 🙂 And yes, that pup is Tucker! Hasn’t he grown?

  • Grandma Burr
    May 9 2012

    What is the name of the new dog? He’s cute.

  • “Home will always be my favorite destination.” That is such a beautiful and powerful statement! Looking hot in your black Vegas dress!!! I wish we could have spent some time in NYC together eating and drinking. One day!
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 9 2012

      Hopefully someday is this summer halfway between Myrtle Beach and you!

  • This post made me want to hit New York as a destination! The food looks amazing! You are lucky to have a great place to be “home”. I don’t really feel like any place is my real home, but I know when I come back to Canada that I will definitely be glad to see Vancouver. I’m sure I will miss it, but I’m ready to escape!
    EM @ Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 9 2012

      The food in New York is unreal! I need to be careful spending the entire summer based there that I don’t come out looking like a whale. And yes, it’s always great to have a place you love to come back to.

  • Katie
    May 9 2012

    This post is making me insanely excited for my month long trip home this summer. It’ll be the longest I’ve been in the US since we moved abroad four years ago and I can’t wait to make the food rounds and see what’s new in my hometown.
    Katie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 9 2012

      Yay for going home! And wow, four years with not a full month at home…. kudos to you, I don’t think I would be able to handle that! I guess I’m still a New Yorker at heart.

  • Diane C
    May 9 2012

    Such great photos…as a sideline you could also do food photography!

    • Meihoukai
      May 9 2012

      Thanks Diane! All the photos in the little collages were actually taken with my blackberry though… so I think it’s just the deliciousness of the food rather than the skills of my camera!

  • Dad
    May 9 2012

    I am happy to read that ‘home’ is your favorite destination and happy that you also enjoy your life on the road. You have a lifetime ahead of you to settle down so keep going as long as it motivates and satisfies your curiosity. You can always come home for a respite. Love Dad

    and PS mom, the dog is Tucker

    • Meihoukai
      May 9 2012

      Looking forward to the respite this summer…

  • Andrea
    May 10 2012

    I feel the same way about “home.” Many of the other teachers here in Korea hate their hometowns and don’t mind rarely ever going back. I love traveling, but going back is amazing too.
    Andrea recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 12 2012

      Andrea, glad to hear I’m not the only one! When I talk to people who’ve gone years without even a quick visit home I’m just gobsmacked. My family and friends wouldn’t allow it!

  • Sarah Somewhere
    May 10 2012

    Meihoukai, you have no idea how lucky you are to realise what you want for your life at such a young age! I don’t say that to condescend you, but rather to let you know that it is a precious gift to be able to listen to your inner voice, something many people choose not to do (or can’t do) in their life. The sky is the limit for you! Great post, love those images of NY.
    Sarah Somewhere recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 12 2012

      Thank you Sarah… I don’t see what you said as condescending at all, I definitely see it as a gift!

  • Fidel
    May 10 2012

    A beautiful selection of photos for this post Meihoukai. I mean, the food alone was tempting. If I was in New York, I’d probably eat nothing but pizza and street hot dogs for the first week.

    You have a beautiful puppy!
    Fidel recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 12 2012

      Thanks… re: both the food pics and the puppy! Pizza is one of my favorite things about New York, but then there are also the bagels and the tacos and… I could go on!

  • I’m such a foodie – those first few shots were making me hungry! I’m glad you enjoyed your time back at home.
    Audrey | That Backpacker recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 12 2012

      I don’t consider myself much of a foodie considering when I lived in NYC (ie: didn’t eat out every meal like I do in Thailand) 60% of my meals came out of the microwave. Oh well, I still love to eat!

  • Neil
    February 3 2016

    David Lynch said something to the effect of having a stable and comfortable home life allowed him to take risks, whereas someone from worse circumstances might be afraid to travel or find it too difficult to achieve. So if you think of it like that, there’s no disadvantage in loving home. I suspect that even people from poor neighborhoods miss where they’ve come from at times.

    • Meihoukai
      February 6 2016

      Absolutely — there’s no price tag on nostalgia and home is home no matter what kind of house, apartment or other structure you affix with that label.