Tomorrow I will set out on a 11 hour road trip to my hometown. I am so excited to see my parents, my sister and old friends.
I've been lucky enough to have multiple "homes" since I left home for college in '05. For 4 years I called Columbia, Mo. home, and now I call Fayetteville home. In each place I've been blessed with great friends that become like family. Loved ones that make being so far from Illinois not so bad.
Going back to the place I grew up always feels good though. It feels right. It's nice to see people that know you in a different way. People who know your parents. Who know what is was like where you grew up. Who you had sleepovers with, went to school with, got in trouble with, shared secrets with. The people who were with you through your first kiss, your first love, your first heartbreak. The people you went to prom with. Graduated with. And cried for hours with when it was time to leave for college.
Whenever I've lost sight of myself, they serve as my anchor. My roots. They remind me of who I once was and how capable I am of achieving what I want to achieve. They have no doubt in me because they've already seen me overcome trials and tribulations. They've seen me have a dream and go for it. They've seen me succeed. They believe in me, often with more faith than I believe in myself. They are the people who know where I came from as I continue to figure out where I am going.
So my heart's in Illinois. And in Arkansas. And Missouri. Home really is where your heart is, and a little bit of my heart is in each place.
To my loved ones in Illinois, I can't wait to see ya'll. (And listen to you incessantly make fun of me for using the word ya'll. Hey, some things do change.)