When you first leave a place or a country, the thought is that you can always go home. And in one way that is true. You can always move back to that location and it can become home again.

So why this post? Honestly, even though you can return to locations and remake it home, you can’t just go home again.

Home changes. It’s been over 18 years since I graduated high school and left “home”. During college I would travel back to visit “home” and this is when I first started experiencing this phenomenon that I am writing about today.

You see, home changed. Or so I thought. Yes, it got a new Walmart and a few new restaurants. But that is not the type of changes I am talking about. It didn’t feel the same.

It wasn’t until years later and lots more travel and experiences that I realized I was the one who had changed.

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We who are journeyers, travelers, explorers…we see, experience, take in, and become a variety of different things along the way. Those experiences change us. Let me share with you a drastic one that took place in my life several years ago.

In my early 20’s I made a trip to the Philippines. Most of my time on this trip was working with street children. On one particular day, we visited the city dump. Yes, you read that right, the city garbage dump. You see, in the Philippines, just like many other developing nations, people live all around the city dump. During the day the children will walk through and sift through the trash to find scrap metal or other odd things they can sell for money. The family pulls the money together at the end of the day and hopes to be able to buy a small amount of food.

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Coming from my privileged American upbringing in suburbia, I had NEVER seen anything like this. I spent time playing with the children. We even climbed to the top of the dump and played soccer on top. The sight of these children who had nothing, but were smiling and happily playing with me sure changed me.

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After my trip I returned back to normal American life. But here comes the problem. It was nearing Christmas time in the United States and everyone was present crazy! I want this…and I want that… All that wanting I saw, made me crazy angry. I could hardly walk through Walmart or Target or a mall. In fact, that Christmas season I avoided them like the plague.

But it wasn’t “home” that had changed. Again it was me. The experience of working with those children in the Philippines forever changed my view on life. My world view, if you will, was altered from that trip in a drastic way. Other times, the altering has been subtle. But travel, experience, new places, it all has a way of altering the way we see life.

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As I have experienced this sort of thing, year after year, I have come to find a new way to define home. Home is no longer where my husband or I grew up. It’s not even places we lived previously. Home is simply not a specific place anymore. Home is with my hubby and kids, wherever we may find ourselves.

Until next time…I wish you many wonderful travel experiences that cause you to grow and change also!

~ Sarah