My home, for as long as I can remember, has been my safe haven. No matter how many arguments my family and I got into, I always knew my home to be a place where I could feel safe, at peace, grounded, and most importantly, comfortable.
This is why, when I decided to embark on a journey to Israel, 6,000 miles away felt like I was traveling into space. I felt as if I couldn't move forward without my mom by my side, reminding me everything is going to be okay. The relationship that my mom and I have is a special one, and knowing that I was not in close proximity to her created much-unwanted anxiety for us both. Knowing that while she may have only been a phone call away, that she wouldn't be able to come hold me if I needed her to, was something I really struggled with.
While I was away, I had hoped that my excitement for the trip and the adventures that were to come would keep me grounded and sane. Unfortunately, as the days went on, I became more and more homesick. However, I was able to learn some really important lessons in terms of the importance of my home, and sometimes the need to escape it.
The new friendships I made showed me that sometimes it's okay to make plans with people besides your mom (only partially joking).
The new foods I tried showed me that there are so many different types of foods that my chef of a mother hasn't even heard of.
The new experiences showed me just how important it is to step out of my comfort zone, even if doing so means I have to be 6,000 miles away from the comfort of my mom's arms.
There are hundreds of thousands of things that this trip has taught me, but it especially taught me that life exists away from your home as well. While it is natural to want to stay close to the things that bring you comfort, it is also essential that you allow yourself to grow.
I couldn't be luckier to have had such an incredible experience abroad, but I also couldn't be luckier to have been able to come home to a mom that was waiting with open arms and open ears.