I’ve just returned from a long trip to Brazil that was hard work, thought-provoking, and often just plain good fun. But the circumstances just prior and after the trip have kept me thinking about the deeper meaning of travel. I’ll explain:

Our destination is usually what we’re thinking of when preparing for a trip.  The excitement, the planning, the packing and preparation all combine to keep us looking forward….ahead to our destination.  This is especially true when traveling to a new location or an exotic locale.  But this time, all I could think about was the act of leaving and how that had impacted me and changed the nature of my travel.

Leaving West Virginia to go to New Jersey and then to Brazil to work was a heart-rending experience this time.  I left the hospital, my Grandmother’s bedside, with the doctors telling me I would not see her again. She had been in a coma for 5 days and I had spent the last several nights with her, doing whatever I could to comfort her, and I hoped, ease her passage.  I was also leaving my mother to walk the rest of this journey by herself.  I had no choice, but that only made me feel worse.  And so my departure this time was filled with sadness and introspection.

I began to think about what “home” means to me. I live on two coasts these days with a lot of travel in between to other destinations.  So I’m never really sure where “home” is.  I refer to home as the “other” place that I live depending on where I am at the time.  Several years ago, while living in Europe for a spell, I came to know Paris as my home.  I also experience that going home feeling when I visit and work in California at Barbier Farm or Hope Township, New Jersey.  I know a bit of “home” in the southwest corner of Dartmoor National Park in a little place called Lydia Bridge, on a tree filled hillside in Hunting Valley, Ohio, and on Borgo Pinti in Florence, Italy. And now, having spent several weeks in Brazil, I find myself longing for the home that I discovered just outside of Sao Paolo.

I’ve been lucky in my travel these last ten years.  Often I’ve been able to stay longer than the usual week or so in whatever my destination has been, and I’ve made good friends that I look forward to seeing again.  As I’m writing this I am beginning to understand that I have been able to give myself the comfort of home no matter where I am on the planet, that it is the world we create for ourselves that resonates and lasts.  I’ve learned that departures can be devastating and still the right thing. I’ve learned that the best part of home is a smile and a hug from a loved one. And I’ve learned that those things are waiting for me wherever I go.

When I returned from a walk across Spain in 2001, I was asked repeatedly, “what did you discover?” It took a long time for me to answer that question appropriately. I discovered that the world is a vast and wondrous place, made intimate by the connections we share with others.

Next time I’m departing I’ll remember that I’m always headed home.

10 Responses to “Departures”

  1. 1 Wil
    June 8, 2010 at 2:26 am

    So sorry to hear about your grandmother. I know that was weighing heavily on your.
    A great post and as usual a great thought provoker. Your summation certainly makes one think of all the past “homes” that we have had. As you say there is always a smile and a hug waiting for us at our many homes and the new ones we don’t know about yet.
    Glad to see that you are back,

    • June 8, 2010 at 7:42 am

      Hello Wil,
      Thanks very much for the comment. I’m hoping that one of these trips to WV will bring us together for some shooting and smiles. Does Bob Evans count as “home”….for just 30 minutes?
      I hope so. Miss you both. Keron

  2. 3 Riley
    June 8, 2010 at 8:08 am

    Sorry to hear about your grandmother. We seem to be of an age where passages are regular but no less difficult.

    Karen and I have found that we make our home where ever we are, as long as we are together. That is so true of homes that consist of friends anywhere on the planet.

    Welcome “home”,
    R & K

    • June 8, 2010 at 8:27 am

      Thank you, Riley. It’s great to hear from you.
      Now….how/when/where are we going to get together? I’ve missed you both and want to hear all your tales. : )

  3. June 8, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Great note, K. Certainly embodies the age-old saying “home is where the heart is…” Sounds like you had a great trip. Ranger Poole

  4. 6 honey
    June 9, 2010 at 4:27 am

    one of the holiday cards on our wall said, “wherever you hang your hat, that is home.”

    you are teaching us from hillsides to seasides that home is really a place in ourselves. it is the comfort we have that no matter where we are or with whom, we are safe and comfortable within ourselves. you are the roof under which we all feel welcome.

    thank you keron for sharing your thoughts, so that each of us can reflect and grow.

    you live as you are. the camera is just the way to show it.

  5. 7 Dave
    June 21, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    My goes out to you Keron. My losses of late have been life-changing yet until we ourselves pass on, I sense a constant re-birthing taking place. Learning and understanding more each day how to live better till I die.
    Glad you’re home and hope you know you have one here as well.

  6. 8 Dave
    June 21, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Heart! My heart, goes out to you …

  7. June 24, 2010 at 4:58 pm


    For some people, being ‘at home’ means being within four given walls, structures which can serve as a backdrop or be a protective barrier. For others, this wonderful English word allows us to be ‘at home’ in the world at large. At this level, ‘home’ is the timeline of our lives by connecting the present with the past and with the future. I believe it is a gift to be at home in the world.

    When you went on your trip, you left two generations in transition. While you were physically with them you soothed their pain, and you continued to do so with loving thoughts once you were gone. Your grandmother knew this; you have been doing this for them for many years. You can be at peace.

    Much love over many years,


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