It is April 2010.  I departed the U.S.A. in April 2009. When I think of my reasons and life a year ago, a short story from Go Your Own Way: Women Travel The World Solo mirrored my intentions: "Feeling empty & dissatisfied, I decided to make some changes.  Eventually, I would discover that those changes needed to take place inside, but, at that time, it seemed easiest to just discard everything on the outside."

From Sydney I flew to Los Angeles, then Chicago & finally to my destination of Akron-Canton.  Oddly, I left Sydney at 11pm on a Wednesday and awoke at 5pm on the same day in California.  Not counting the time difference, I think I flew for about 36 hours on minimal sleep.  I couldn't tell down under from upside down.  However, I distinctly remember as the little jet was about to land in Ohio.  As the plane sunk below the clouds (yes, another rainy/overcast day in Canton) for a minute I could not believe I left temperate, pristine Australia for this!  Then I had my revelation...

Verbatim, this what I jotted down on half a piece of scrap paper:

"All because of you, I believe in angels
Not the kind with wings, not the kind with halos
The kind that bring you home when home becomes a strange place
All you have to do is shout it out"

-- Rise Against, "The Good Left Undone"

I forfeited a lot:
a secure job in a failing American economy; health benefits (which, if you know me, are crucial); a loving house; the puppy I helped raise; the chance to stay with my boyfriend of 3 years.

I paid a lot:
numerous domestic flights; a work visa; hotel rooms; shipping boxes literally across the world; buying all new toiletries & household items.


I gained a lot:
a true meaning of the word "home"; an experience in another world & various cultures; a clearer perspective on my family, friends and blessings.

I go home/back to the United States willingly, with no regrets.  I return home content and excited to see those whom I've missed & have missed me so much.  A part of me -- the explorer in me -- will stay in Australia always calling me back."

My parting wish for you: an important, summative prayer that sang to me from the movie The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button. 
"For what it's worth,  it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again."

Lots of love,