the pull between here and there

“Home is not a place; it’s a feeling.” – Cecelia Ahern

I feel fortunate to have found and known—and continue to find and know—home, a sense of home, in places around the world and among people around the world. I often find the people are more important to that feeling than the place itself. Though the two in combination, when the feeling is right, are quite a powerful force.

Of the places I’ve lived and traveled, Michigan and Patagonia carry the greatest feelings of home for me.

There’s seemingly always been a pull between here and there. But when I was unexpectedly back in Michigan in January and February and then again in May and June, that pull on my heart was different. It felt stronger in that I could more clearly see the value I find and feel in each place, if that makes sense. I could more clearly see what each place holds for me.

It was also different in that I wouldn’t describe this pull as a tug of war. It’s a gentle pull. There’s a respect between these two places that occupy my heart. They each carry meaning and importance. They each carry a significant part of me.

On the one side, there’s my family, lifelong friends and communities and spaces I love and can sink into so seamlessly. There are people and places and memories that have shaped me into the woman I am today. There’s a deep comfort in the familiarity of my home state and all that it holds.

On the other side, there’s this space that is altogether foreign and familiar, where I am finding myself and my purpose. Where I have built and am building a life and community. Where I savor the pace of life and often revel in the freedom to paint outside the lines. Where I am challenging myself and growing and stepping into a life I never fully imagined. There are moments I laugh at the oddity and serendipity of it all and share stories, in my mind, with a younger Emily.

In each place, there’s community, comfort, creativity, inspiration, light and love. There are four distinct seasons. There are favorite trails and favorite coffee shops. There are bodies of water. There are countless adventures and stories and a sense of freedom—though, at times, that freedom looks different depending on the place.

Do you think you’ll move back to the U.S.? How much longer will you live in Argentina? Why do you have to go back to Argentina? What do you have to go back to?

Many people have posed these questions, or some form of them, to me this year—and throughout the past 2.5+ years. I can’t fully explain my life, my decisions and the pull I feel between here and there. I think you either get it or you don’t. I just know that, at this time, Michigan and Patagonia carry the greatest feelings of home for me. So for now, I am resting in that truth and navigating not only the pull but also the balance between here and there.

August 28, 2019

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