If you've deeply resonated with another person or place, the connection remains despite any distance, time, situation, lack of presence, or circumstance. If you're doubtful just try it - go and revisit a person or place and see if there's any sense at all of the space between now and then.
- Victoria Erickson
The price of seeing the world and loving people from everywhere is that you are perpetually missing someone. Travelers make so many connections to wonderful people and places, and it is impossible to maintain all of those connections simultaneously. Moving to a new city, transitioning from high school to college, or going abroad can mean feeling homesickness, even in the place you consider to be your home. It can feel like no matter where you are, there is always someone missing.
As college students, our futures are in flux. Life could change, job opportunities could appear, and any of us might end up anywhere. The end of a semester brings graduation for some and relocation for others. Change can be overwhelming, and one of the most intimidating parts of change is facing new challenges without familiar people beside you. Striking out on our own without that security blanket makes us stronger in the end. Unfortunately, there will be moments in the middle where you wish you could stop everything and retreat to that familiar place or have a long conversation with someone far away. That will not always be possible, and I am not pondering this idea because I have a perfect solution. There will always be people and places I am wishing to to back to.
I have no solution, but I do have an alternate perspective. What if the feeling of missing someone isn't the sign a friend or family member is slipping away from us, but the signal telling us that connection still exists?
I also believe life has a weird way of bringing the important people back into our lives. Not when we expect them, but when they are supposed to be there. And once they return, no matter how many days, weeks, years have passed between visits, it will feel like nothing has changed. I met two girls at a summer camp when I was sixteen. The camp was four hours from my house. The other girls lived in a different state than I did and in separate cities from each other.
Two years later, we ended up at the same college and on the same college speech team. We became best friends, and last year we were roommates. My college experience would not be the same without them, but at the age of sixteen, I planned on leaving at the end of the week and never seeing them again. That isn’t how it happened, and I never would have anticipated the way things have turned out.
Today we are lucky to live in an age where speaking to someone else in real time through a screen is just a click away on a keyboard. These kinds of digital connections can cross oceans, but they don’t completely eradicate homesickness. That is a reality many of us have to face when it is time to go home.
I don't enjoy feeling homesick, but I am starting to view it as proof of the fantastic people and places I have known. There are places worth missing when my adventures are over, and people worth coming back to when I am far away. Homesickness is sad, but also unavoidable. Most everyone will face it at some point. The more often you do, the more you begin to suspect the feeling is just a record of the strong connections you have been able to make, and their faithful, stubborn refusal to weaken even when thousands of miles are placed between them.