America Part 3: Family, Friends, Community

America Part 3: Family, Friends, Community
By: Chad R. Mitchell

“Home, let me come home
Home is wherever I’m with you
Home, let me come home
Home is wherever I’m with you”
Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

So it comes to the final piece, the last in my three-part series on America. I have reminisced about beer, regretted bad choices, and finally made an excuse to keep from finishing. I had planned on writing my final thoughts about our trip on yet another component of America, but I couldn’t quite decide on exactly what. I debated boring you sharing my love of fishing, or perhaps expressing how much I hate gambling enjoy frequenting casinos, or maybe a final write-up on the beauty of Sonoma County, California.

But in the end I realized that none of these topics would accurately express the most fundamental part of why we love going back, and why at the end of our travels we ache to return to the place we call home. There are so many reasons, but none quite compares to spending time with those whom we love, and those who love us: Our family, our friends, and our community.

Community

One of the things I personally miss the most is the community that exists in our hometown of Santa Rosa, California. It is a small company of folks, and one that many find a bit odd. Whether it is the offbeat festivals, alternative lifestyles, or the small-town feel, it is nothing if not unique, and that is part of what makes it comforting. From the moment we arrive we know we can always expect to find familiar faces, genuine smiles, and open arms. I relish the ability to fit right back in, almost as if we’d never left. It’s almost too easy… really. We always find it hard to leave this supportive group of misfits…

She is well protected!
She is well protected!

The true misfits, and the best example of what the community really offers is exemplified by those we are fortunate enough to call friends. Whether it be the late nights or the early mornings, we tend to fill our time up with those we cherish. Never, not once, did we lack for social outings with this always growing group. The love we feel from those we call friends is truly beyond compare, and it hurts to leave each and every time. There is truly no gift like having friends that you can call family.

Both Jenny and I are blessed to have family spread throughout our hometown and the surrounding state. Zoë got to spend quality time with her Grandparents, Cousins, Aunts and Uncles. Jenny and I got to draw close to those who have nurtured us and raised us, and to share in the love that is like no other. The day we arrive is always a joyful reunion, and there are times we question ever leaving again, especially when we say goodbye to our families as they choke back the tears of departure.

Nothing compares to time with friends and family.
Nothing compares to time with friends and family.

America is always a bittersweet adventure. It reminds us of the life we once lived, and the journey we have undertaken. For good and bad we set forth on this road with excitement, but there is always a piece of us that hesitates to leave. The only consolation is that we are building community with the vagabonds and misfits that we meet along the way. It is always comforting to know we have community wherever our two legs take us…

I know we will visit the United States again, and perhaps some day settle back into the life we have left, but until then we take them with us in our hearts and hope to meet again in some not so distant future. America will always be home. If not for the things and places, but for the love of those we leave behind.

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