We have been travelling now for more than year and while perhaps I should be homesick, I am not. In fact, sometimes I feel like I'm home even when I'm far from Seattle.
Home for me seems now to be the places where people and customs are familiar. I don't have a physical home anymore, as we sold our house last year. And while our belongings are mostly stored in Seattle, we have things scattered across the US West.
Arriving in Pak Nam Pran, Thailand the other night it was dark, the streets were vacant, and all was quiet. And yet when I stepped off the bus, our good friend Brad was there ready to help unload our many bags from the bus as if this was a normal occurrence. Riding to our rental house in a familiar neighborhood, I didn't even notice that we were on the left side of the road.
The next evening while riding on the back of Josh's motorbike at night, I reminded him to watch out for stray dogs in the road; a fact of life in Thailand that seems to be embedded deep in my subconscious. And although our friend's bar has relocated after a tree fell on it and then it later burnt to the ground, her new bar feels like home too. She gives me a big hug when we roll up and we promise to get drunk together at least once this season. I order my favorite Thai drink--Sang Som (rum) and Manae (lime soda)--and Josh gets his (Sang Som and soda water).
I remember that 7-11 is the place to get "top up" (phone credits) for my Thai SIM card and I remember to thank the clerk with a "Kob Khun Kah." I also know how to get to my favorite coffee place, which sadly seems to have a different--less skilled--chef this year so my typical fried pork and rice breakfast is less than superb. I recognize the Thai massage place where they are a little too touchy-freely for my taste and delight in seeing the seaside massage stand still standing, knowing that I can get an incredible massage there for just $10US.
Driving on the left side of the road now seems more comfortable than being on the right. When I was in the States a few weeks ago, I was terrified to find the car on the right side of the road and had to stop myself from yelling at the taxi driver in fright. But riding my scooter is a breeze and I'm happy for the free AC while I ride around town.
There is something special about returning to a place and feeling at home, especially when you've only lived there for a short amount of your life. And while we will leave Thailand again in a few weeks, I know we will return here many more times in our life.