I Booked a One Way 12 AM Ticket Home and I Don't Know When I'm Coming Back

by Lauren Day about a year ago in humanity

A True Story, Dudes

On Tuesday, I was tired, sad, and restless. I had been sad for the past couple of weeks. Restless. Uncertain of a lot of things. I haven't been sleeping well for like, two weeks now. Moving has been a lot of things but it's mostly been tiring—emotionally draining. But late on Tuesday night, I just decided I was done. I felt this massive urge to go home all day and I couldn't shake it. I needed to go home, see my home. Be in my house. Ride my bike to my favorite coffee shop in the morning and say hi to my barista, Nick (shout out to Nick, by the way. Thanks for always serving my iced black with a dash of almond milk :) ). I needed to see all of my friends again. I needed to laugh about stupid stuff with them again. I needed to watch movies on the beach and go SUPing on Sundays. I needed to go home. I just craved home. I didn't get enough time to say goodbye. I came home from Hawaii and I left the next day. I didn't get to say goodbye to anyone or anything and it made my soul so sad. I missed my physical home. I missed certain people. I missed my neighbors. Friends. Hanging out in my backyard with the sunlight pouring in at all hours of the day. And as simple as it sounds, it's those things that you miss about home. And as crowded and hot as home is right now, it's still my home. It will always be. I will always crawl back to the blessed Southland like the SoCal brat I am and lay on the beach all day and be content with my life.

I called my mom and said I was going home. I told her it was too much to explain but just know that I needed to go home. I needed to figure out some things that were going on in my head. She said you're always welcomed home. I smiled from the inside out.

I grabbed a bus at 12:35 AM to Santa Barbara. Then from Santa Barbara, I would take a train from Santa Barbara to SoCal and be home by 11 AM. I didn't really sleep. I had too many thoughts going on as the bus ran through the midnight road of Central Cal where no city lights touched the sky. I think I might have slept a bit... I can't really remember. It was interesting though because I didn't feel alone with my thoughts. I looked around the bus and I could tell that everyone on the bus was SoCal expats; all going home with the same reason that I am—because it's home. And our home is home.

Students—from CUSF, SFS, UCSC, CSMB, CUSJ—all homesick and bored from the summer. Coming home to say hi to their family. Friends. Their old haunts and have some fun in the sun. Maybe go to the US Open. The OC Fair. Go to Laguna and San Diego for weekend trips.

The Good Long Distance Boyfriends who had to move up north for school, work, or simply because they were tired of the city. They're all coming down from their hobbit holes in the woods up north to see their girlfriends, mates, and family members. Probably going to get off the train and have a beer with their loved ones at Ballast or 805, depending on how far south they go.

The Nomads who have wandered away from the "crazy crowds" of SoCal to seek solitude and get lost in the woods for months at end because they were tired of the "fast-life." Now they're all crawling home because they realized that sometimes, you need to go back to your roots. No matter how much you think that you're "over it."

I fell asleep dreaming of the beaches I've gone to since I was a little girl. I could already picture the beautiful sunsets at my beach. I fell asleep dreaming about surfing all day in my rash and no wetsuit. The spots that I go to when I'm lonely. The hills that I climb when I want to get away from everything. Riding my bike everywhere. Seeing my baby Morgan again, tail wagging a million miles per hour when I come through our front door. Her little teddy bear face with hazel eyes like a human's, staring up at me, waiting to go and do something. Seeing my friends. Seeing my neighbors. My lovely, lovely neighbors. Seeing my—friend.

I woke to see Santa Barbara at its best—6 AM—when the sun just shines over the mountain range and the ocean is clean with no one out on the water yet. In a matter of hours, the beaches will be littered with tourists and locals combined, fighting for some relief from the heat. I was getting excited. Home was near. By 10, I was in LA. By 11, I was at the nearest train station to my house. My dad came and picked me up. I wanted to actually hug him for some reason. He told me Mom was in the hospital for kidney stones. I guess the universe really wanted me to come home after all...

I was in the front seat of the car when I could feel the heat of SoCal already getting to me. I wasn't used to it after two weeks of being away. I loved and missed it. "This is summer," I thought. "Not fog and 60 degree water in the middle of July like back at the apartment." Cruising on the highway, I began to see all of my familiars in the distance. My soul smiled. I was home. And it felt so good. My body ached to be home. I was weary and tired from traveling, but excited to be home.

Crawling down my street, lined with liquid ambers that turned green for summer, I felt like my world was at peace for the first time in two weeks. I felt content. Everything was where it was supposed to be. I teared up a little. I knew when I pulled up to the driveway, my blue house and green lawn would welcome me with open arms. It always seems to smile when it sees me. I knew that my baby was going to be behind the door waiting for me. That my happy, yellow room was going to be there. That my garden in the backyard was going to be taller than I was and overflowing with sweet, sweet cherry tomatoes. That my... friend... was going to be across the street. That my neighbors were going to be home with their kids, playing in the backyards and trying to keep cool under the shade or in their blow up swimming pools. Everything—everything—I knew was going to be there. Just like I left it. And it was. Minus my bedroom, which is now empty. It feels odd to walk into your room, where you knew your life was, where everything was, with certain memories at certain points in your room, only to find-nothing. But otherwise, the house was the same. My yard was the same. My beautiful, beautiful yard with my baby running around in it. Blue rocking chairs out back in the shade.

I had to have it all sink in. I just stayed put most of the day. I just loved being in my house again. Seeing it again. The blue exterior. White picket porch. Sunny kitchen. Massive yard with butterflies going on their slow roller coaster from bush to bush. I loved it. I missed it. I breathed in the hot air and c o l l a p s e d on my bed with j o y. "Oh the things I'm going to do while I'm here," I thought to myself. "It's going to be a blast."

The rest of the lazy afternoon, I saw my friend. We hung out in the backyard like old times. It was great. I saw my mom. She wasn't doing well last night but she's doing well today. She's coming home today. I'm excited to see her better. And today, I woke up. Changed into my same shirt that I wore yesterday, the one that I got here, at home, at my favorite thrift shop and then went to my favorite coffee shop and sat, enjoying my home in the morning sun. Reminiscing on all of the summers, study seshes, and late night bike rides here. It was great. And I loved it.

I came home. Walked to my grocery store, which is right up the street, and saw the same people who had been working there since I was a kid. Got some fresh veggies (ironically, from Central Cal) and walked home. Loved on my dog, who came running around the hall and straight at me like she hasn't seen me in 10 years.

I'm still tired. Overwhelmed with emotions. But I'm here; I'm home, trying to do things with my friends and with myself, like I always did. I'm going to see a surf film tonight that I can't wait for. But for right now, I'm going to enjoy my life... here. In my place in the universe; home. I'm going to enjoy the sun and the sand and the salt and sweating my ass off at 11 AM and I'm going to love it until I don't. Or until I get any callbacks for a job... then I'll crawl back to Central Cal. But for right now... no. I need to be home.

My friends, all I have to say is never forget your roots. If you are sad, go home. Go home to your hometown where your young being grew up and where your family is and your old haunts are. It will ground you, keep you sane, help you figure out what's wrong with your head. I swear, it will help. Love you guys.



Lauren Day
Lauren Day
Read next: Camping > Hotels
Lauren Day

i surf. i travel. i take some photos here and there. i life alot. 

i think. i write. i think some more. 

then something cool happens where i write until my bones ache.

end of story. 

See all posts by Lauren Day