In a day and a few hours, I will be hopping on a plane and traveling back in time. And after around 20 hours of time travel, I’ll land in Norfolk, Virginia, my hometown.

It has been a little over a year since I’ve been back to the States, but it certainly feels a lot longer. For many of the people I’ve met while traveling, a year away from family, friends and home is nothing. That’s because they haven’t been home in several years.

Of course money often plays a big part in whether a person can fly home. But, it’s still hard for me to imagine going several years without out visiting my friends and family. Recently one of my friends who lives in Australia told me how she waited a few years to visit her home in Scotland because she was worried if she went back any sooner, she may not return to the Land Down Under even though she loves it there.

Like her, I have also thought this. I will admit that I’m worried I may not want to hop on my return flight to New Zealand when the time comes to do so at the end of September. Don’t get me wrong, I have had a really fun and life-changing experience, but I do miss my friends and family.

img_7525.jpgI also miss the place I truly call home, Richmond, Virginia. For those who may not know, Richmond is located about an hour/hour-and a-half drive (depending on traffic) from Washington D.C. and it’s the capital of Virginia. Even at times when I may not think I miss this little city, my subconscious kicks in to remind me that I do. For example, many of my friends from Richmond keep randomly appearing in my dreams. Even during a meditation the other day, my mind also took me there and I saw myself walking down Cary Street toward Boulevard, passing The Byrd Theatre, Ashtanga Yoga Studio and the former Dixie Donuts location.

There’s something about that city that lures me in. Perhaps it’s James and his endless supply of activities. His rhythmic rapids, beautiful sunsets and rock hopping opportunities. Perhaps it’s the sense of community I feel when I attend a show in a dark, grimy, loud basement with 15 or 20 people, a pleasant mix of strangers and friends. Maybe it’s my support system or the many vegan and vegetarian options across the city. It could be Richmond’s central location on the coast, making it easy to take weekend trips to the mountains, the beach or even up north a bit to a bigger city such as Philadelphia or further north to New York City. It could also be how easy it is to walk or bike to almost anywhere in the city, which is something that has always been important to me.

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Myself and my friend, Nandez, enjoying a show with some of our favorite people in a crowded basement .

Maybe it’s the residents’ pride and passion for its city or even the plethora of outdoor activities available. Oh and I can’t forget about the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts with its peaceful and relaxing sculpture garden (also known as one of my favorite places in the city). I could likely go on and on because Richmond is simply just a special place.

I’m just hoping that when I return I’ll feel the same way about Richmond that I do while I’m away from the it. I guess I won’t really know until I drive down I-95N toward Richmond and see the skyline in the distance.

Here’s to returning home and finding out. I’ll let you know when I return to Kiwi land.

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