Almost exactly one year after I left New Zealand, I landed back in Wanaka. I went for a hike with a long lost friend, and as the sun set over those familiar mountains across the lake, it felt like coming home.
I braced for a repeat of tearing myself away from this place again in mid-September, caught in a surreal emotional loop.
I spent the next days thinking about all that’s happened in the year between. My nephew learned to say my name, and I discovered my canine soulmate has cancer. I explored the West—from hiking through the Cascades and the Grand Canyon to skiing in the mountains of British Columbia and swimming in the Mexican ocean. I took a job with a startup that has the potential to change everything, if we give our hearts and souls to it. I turned down a dream job in my beloved Wanaka. I fell in love.
I’ve come to understand that I’m not the same person that I was a year ago, and I can be released from this emotional loop. While I’m so happy to be here in this heartbreakingly beautiful place with my friends who feel like family, I’m ready to stop longing for that life I could have chosen here but didn’t.
This time, I will look forward to going home to Montana.
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. That’s just human nature, and in my case, my severe level of FOMO can paint the grass across the way in hypercolor. The trick is learning to appreciate the shade of grass on your side of the fence. Sometimes it’s worth exploring the other side, which takes some guts. Sometimes it takes leaving to realize you actually loved where you were.
I’m not ready to stop being a gypsy entirely yet, because the world is too big and my restlessness doesn’t seem to quiet down for long enough. But I am ready to practice being fully present and grateful no matter where I find myself.
Here’s to now.