There are a lot of memories and lessons I will take home from this journey but I think that the most important thing by far I have learned is that Dorothy hit the nail right on the head.
There is NO place like HOME.
It really does take leaving to appreciate the place you call home. I've never had more love for South Carolina, my family, and all the comforts that come with being southern than I do at this moment.
So...like I like to do, I made you guys a little list from my perspective of the top 5 reasons to be thankful for your home.
1. You're never alone. You know how when you go to the grocery store or Wal-Mart you run in to atleast 5 people you know? Yeah, that doesn't happen when you're 1400 miles from anyone you know. I used to hate that. Running into everyone and their mama, literally. Now I miss seeing a friendly face on a day to day basis. EVERYONE is a stranger here. No babysitters, no family, no friends. It makes you feel incredibly disconnected. You might go crazy and start a blog or something:)
2. Every day comforts are missing. This may not be true if you travel just a state away; but if you go halfway across the country, you'll see what I mean. Just to name a few things that this little part of New Mexico lacks compared to my hometown....sweet tea, grits, Hardee's, Bi-Lo, Zaxby's, good tasting water(not kidding, the water here is so bad it's not drinkable), Bojangles, Chick-Fil-A, and the smell of fresh air. Yeah, it stinks here. It's the dairy capital of the southwest. Know what that means? It smells like cow crap all the time. Not. even. kidding.
3. Things are just different. People talk different. Obviously where we are, most of them speak spanish. Laws and regulations are different. I told you the story about how I'm not allowed to drink in the grand old state of New Mexico at all even though I'll be 23 next month. Yeah, make sure your license is turned the right blessed way before you leave home. You're gonna need a drink at some point, trust me. Red lights are turned sideways instead of dangling around like precariously placed Christmas tree toppers. The bugs are different; say hello to giant ants and tarantulas. The stores are different; you can buy liquor virtually anywhere, including Walgreen's and Wal-Mart, if your i.d. is turned the right way, of course. Even the people are different; it's New Mexico, ya'll. 'Nuff said.
4. Memories. I said this simply because it is simple. Home is where you grew up, where you first made your mark on the world. There isn't anywhere I can go in upstate SC where I can't see a place and recall some kind of fond memory. It's good for the soul to remember good times and great people. Memories are sweet and irreplaceable. Everywhere you go in a place that is not home is full of strange places and other people's memories. It's not that you can't make new memories; it's just that there is something comforting about being in a place where everything is familiar.
5. You will always belong. It's obvious to the natives here that Blake & I ain't from around here. My accent sticks out like an alfalfa sprout. My manners are like a foreign language to some of these critters. Seriously. Try and walk down an isle in Wal-Mart here. At home, everyone gives the right of way to a lady with a baby...not here. They will run you over just as fast as they did the little old lady on isle 5. You are a product of home and no matter how far you go, you will always belong to the place that raised you. It doesn't matter where you are; your roots are deep.
It's a short list; what we've experienced out here on the road so far is not anything I can really put in words. I know this though, I've never loved home as much as I do right now; which is why I felt the need to write this down. To always remember where I come from.
That being said, I encourage you to travel...to see the world or heck, just see the country. I remember on our way out here all the incredible sights we saw along the way, never knowing that they were accessible to us if we were only willing to step out of our southern comfort zone a little bit.
Remember, travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.
So of course...here's to God, love, & some more miles on the truck!