Eternal, Bittersweet Jet Lag of the Soul

by Ekua on January 18, 2014 in general travel,wanderful words

It’s been two weeks since I returned to San Francisco after a taking trip to Ghana to celebrate family, the holidays, and life. Slowly, the physical jet lag has worn off. But I still feel like I’m suspended in the air, stuck between places. According to my passport, I’m home, and yet I feel that home has eluded me.

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In the midst of traveling long distances by plane, moments seem much longer than they are. But when you pause and think about it, it’s mind-boggling that within the short time it takes for the earth to fully rotate on its axis, you can place your feet on three different continents.

You zip around the world so quickly that your body can’t keep up. But if you do it enough, it begins to seem wholly natural despite the time zone readjustments.

As you wait out a layover, it doesn’t seem unfathomable that a few hours ago, people were speaking English with thick accents and you were right by the equator where it was hot and humid. Now you’re in another country on another continent much further from the belly of the world with a language you don’t understand; a place where you can feel the chill of winter seep through cracks of the jet bridge as you walk from the plane to the airport. And half a day later, you’ll mix things up once more after flying over an ocean and across thousands of miles of frozen landscape to get to the opposite edge of another continent.

It’s kind of crazy and miraculous when you think about it. It’s wild how individually, we are tiny blips on the Earth, yet we have the have the ability to make the Earth so small.

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Somewhere along the way, while zooming around the world, I got stuck in a perpetual haze of jet lag of the soul. To a certain extent, it was preordained for me because I’m an offspring of immigrants who cannot define myself by just one place or another. But I’ve also gotten to that state through my own endless curiosity which has led me around the world to inevitably find new locations whose spirits and passions are in line with mine.

So I pine for the place where I was raised when I go away. I pine for the place of my blood and heritage and I want to know it more. I pine for the adopted homes in between, places that sometimes offer the greatest sense of belonging because of their familiar cultural mix-up or because they offer new enticing worlds or because they don’t expect me to fit into any kind of mold like my two other homes.

Whether I’m moving around the world or nesting in one spot, I’m stuck between here and there, never quite sure where “home” is. So the concept of home becomes redefined, it multiplies, it becomes migratory. It’s a beautiful, yet heartbreaking thing when “home” is intangible.

“To belong nowhere is a blessing and a curse, like any kind of freedom.”
– Leah Stewart

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Britney McSweeney January 21, 2014 at 5:14 am

“Whether I’m moving around the world or nesting in one spot, I’m stuck between here and there, never quite sure where “home” is. So the concept of home becomes redefined, it multiplies, it becomes migratory.”
Exactly! I think all of us nomads can relate to this. Everywhere you go, you leave just a bit of your heart behind. The way your wrote it out is just perfect, thanks for sharing it.

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Nikita February 26, 2014 at 11:41 am

Beautifully written, and entirely relatable! I’m glad I stumbled across your blog, you’ve had some great experiences!

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Ekua February 26, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Thanks!

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