They say home is where your heart is. The problem with this saying is that your heart can be many places, so it is hard to say exactly where your home really is. I have been many places in my life, traveling not only from state to state, but from country to country as well. It wasn’t until recently though, that I really understood what the people who came up with this quote were trying to say.
A few months after my sixteenth birthday I took my first trip overseas alone. From Los Angeles I took a plane to Australia where I stayed in Queensland with my Aunt and Uncle, went to school, and became closer to my dad’s side of the family. I made many good memories with the people I met there, from my adorable six and nine year old cousins, to my 80 something year old great-uncle, to the wonderful kids at my school.
I lived an experience I will never be able to duplicate. I saw the sunset over the Outback, the warm waves of the Yapoon beach, and the drawings left by someone who lived hundreds of years before I was born. I participated in a leadership camp where we carried a girl on a stretcher in the dark, in the middle of the night, with nothing but ourselves and flashlights to get up sometimes vertical slopes. I did so much, met so many people, and created so many friendships. There is nothing I could thank my parents for more than this trip they gave me and yet the whole time it felt like something was missing. What could it be, I wondered. What could be missing when I’ve gone to a whole new country, something most people only dream about doing. It wasn’t until the plane touched down in Missoula, Montana where my family was waiting for my return, that I realized what I had been longing for even as I was having the time of my life.
I was longing for home. Before my trip, I never really thought about what home was to me or what it would be for me in the future. Montana was just the place I lived and it really wasn’t anything special to me. However, when the wheels touched down on that blacktop and I gazed out into the dark where I could just barely see the snow and frost out on the runway, I realized what home was. Home was the snow that covered the land as far as the eye could see, home was the winding road that led from town to my house, home was the people I had seen and lived with for the last six years of my life.
Home was the smell of the pine trees on the wind and the feeling that every time I looked around me I was seeing something that had been there for centuries and yet was still new. It had been there the whole time but it wasn’t until I left to experience life on the other side, that I saw that the grass has been greener on my side the whole time. Home is where the heart is and my heart is and will always be with the mountains, the farmlands, the rivers, the lakes, and the people who make up the beautiful world that is Montana.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.