Home is where your Suitcase is?

Claire Quinn
July 24, 2016

Just a week before I was set to depart from America and embark on a 17-hour flight from New York to Cape Town, South Africa, the place I’d be calling home for the next four months, my mom was greeting me with a joyous “welcome home!” But honestly, my childhood home in Connecticut, the place I’ve lived for the past 20 years, didn’t really feel like home anymore. In the past year, I’d been home for about 3 weeks in total. In the past 365 days, I’d managed to travel to 10 different states, 5 countries, and 3 continents. As a person that was constantly on the move, from being at college, to interning in Washington, D.C., to then traveling across Europe, I found myself unsure of what “home” really was. For the past 4 months, I’d been living out of suitcases and making my way from city to city, across the world. It was only after returning from my trip to England to see my sister, sitting with my mom and dad at our kitchen table, with my dog resting his head on my leg begging for some of my dinner, that I remembered what being at home feels like.

 Home is where you feel comfortable. It’s the streets that you can walk with your eyes closed, your favorite meal at the restaurant where you’ve become a regular, and the place where you know all of the families you’ve been close with since you were in diapers. But I was about to leave, again. While I cherish the time I have with my family and miss it fiercely when I don’t have it, I’ve never been a homebody. So I put on a brave face and began the now extremely familiar process of packing my suitcase, but this time I wasn’t packing for a month here and a few weeks there. I was packing for the next 5 months of my life, in a place that would experience basically every season in that time alone. Believe me—you don’t know that struggle of packing for abroad until you’ve packed for the Southern Hemisphere. As I looked at Cape Town’s weather for that day it had started at 30 degrees in the morning and peaked at 77 by two p.m. So with a combined packing list from every person I know that had studied in Cape Town and several hours of Netflix, I managed to pack up my life for the next half of a year.

It wasn’t until somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, 12 or so hours into to flight that the nerves started to kick in. I didn’t know any Afrikaans, Xhosa, or any of the other nine recognized languages, I knew no one, and all I had was a large stack of 10 Rand bills (.70 US cents). Needless to say I was scared, but as I peered out my airplane window and saw stretches of vibrant seascapes echoed by the breathtaking profile of table mountain, I let my feelings of excitement and wonder overtake the nerves.

I am on to my next adventure in my new home where I will eventually learn all of the streets, become a regular, and know the faces I pass everyday. 

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Claire Quinn

<p>My name is Claire. I am a thrill seeking millennial that is out to experience all the world has to offer. This blog will chronicle the greatest adventure of my life so far, a semester in Cape Town, South Africa. I have no idea what to expect, but my love for traveling and trying new things, as well as learning from the people around me has pushed me off the beaten path, and onto something completely new. Here&#39;s to the next six months of my life, I hope every moment is as unpredictable as I am.</p>

Home University:
Gettysburg College
Political Science
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