Choosing a career in the international sphere, I spent the better part of the last decade back and forth to Africa. Returning home at the end of 2013 after nearly 4 years in Malawi was more difficult than I cared to admit. I was overly emotional. I was irrationally angry. Most of all, I felt very alone.
Re-adjusting to life back home, a saying reverberated through my mind over and over again: “Don’t you know, you can’t go home again?” This statement made by writer Ella Winter inspired the title of Thomas Wolfe’s book ‘You Can’t Go Home Again.’
Thomas Wolfe writes: “You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood, back home to romantic love, back home to a young man's dreams of glory and of fame, back home to exile, to escape to Europe and some foreign land, back home to lyricism, to singing just for singing's sake, back home to aestheticism, to one's youthful idea of 'the artist' and the all-sufficiency of 'art' and 'beauty' and 'love,' back home to the ivory tower, back home to places in the country, to the cottage in Bermude, away from all the strife and conflict of the world, back home to the father you have lost and have been looking for, back home to someone who can help you, save you, ease the burden for you, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time--back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”
This idea has remained omnipresent in my life over the past couple of years as I tried desperately to regain my footing at home. It has been something that I have had to come to terms with. When you leave for long periods of time, life at home does not remain static. Although intellectually we know this, emotionally it can be difficult to appreciate the changes brought about by time on the places we know and the people we love. Told to go out and explore the world, because ‘home will always be there’ … I became wrought with grief because as it turned out, this time – it wasn’t. Home had changed. I had changed. And as obvious a statement as it seems, dealing with it was much more difficult than I could ever anticipate.
Running became the cornerstone on which I was able to begin building a new version of my old life. Running gave me an escape from my inner turmoil, but also the strength to face it. It gave me a new community to feel a part of. In the end, it was running that brought me home. As my life goals and my running goals continue to evolve, it has become clear that they are inextricably intertwined. This is where the idea of runninghome.ca came from. This is a way to share this journey and expand this community. Still a relative newcomer to this sport, it’s a place to learn, and a place to share triumphs, failures and lessons.
For all of us who continue to wander, run and adventure as a way of life….