Home again, Home again, Jiggety-jig

28 Feb

So, if you haven’t noticed already, I’m a huge travel nut. Surprise! (That’s sarcasm.  Look, I’m getting it!)  And if you’re a travel nut like me, you know the process of ending your final adventure and heading back home can be bittersweet. You know the feeling: heading to the airport, staring at all the other travelers as you feel the chapter close, smiling while you reflect on all the crazy moments, nostalgic for the people you met and the times you had with them, sad to leave it all behind, giddy to hear “welcome home” from the TSA agent, and relieved that you get to sleep in your own bed.  Of course, travel can be hard (really hard) at times, and the thought of home’s comforts are intertwined in the jumble of emotions that come along with leaving Greece, Cyprus, and the former Soviet Union, so, instead of making this a “goodbye” post, I’ll make this a “hello” post and acknowledge some of the things I got to experience almost as soon as I touched back down into the good ol’ US of A.

 

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This never gets old.

 

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Andrew showing me some love.

 

Perk # 1

One of the main things I was excited about was getting to see Rick Steves speak at the Pittsburgh Speaker Series. If I’m being completely honest, I came home way earlier than I usually do because I knew Rick Steves was going to be speaking in Pittsburgh this year. I couldn’t not see him; I admire him so much.  He’s been someone who has influenced many of my travels, and I value his knowledge and what I learn from him.

Long story short, the talk was everything I hoped it would be. I stood waiting outside before the show in order to get a good seat, and what do you know? I got a seat in the 2nd row, close enough for me to gaze upon Rick in awe. Early bird gets the worm, kids. He (obviously) talked a lot about travel, but I love that he also incorporated some of his personal ideologies into the talk. He discussed a lot of hard topics like racism, drugs, cultural diversity, and poverty. I think he really inspires people to travel because of the way he approaches people.  

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Front and frickin’ center.

 

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Rick Steves droppin’ some hot travel knowledge on all of us.

 

Anyways, at the end of the talk I actually got to meet Rick Steves. This is not a drill. I repeat: I actually got to meet Rick Steves. I shook his hand and everything! And even though I may or may not have practiced what I was going to say to him in the mirror before the event, I somehow still found myself choking up and stumbling over my words when he asked for my name. But of course, Rick Steves is the warm, strong, and inviting person I imagined him to be, and he was really kind despite my shortness of breath. He even asked for my name a third time when he couldn’t understand me the first two.  He lingered with me for a while and signed my book (and took a selfie!) before he left. As he said hello to a few other people, I saw (because of course I watched him like a hawk as he walked around the room) that some woman gave him a business card. Genius.

NOTE TO SELF: Make business cards in case of Rick Steves sighting.

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SELFIE WITH RICK STEVES!!! I mean… selfie with Rick Steves. It’s cool…no big deal. Do I look like I’m crying in that picture?

 

Perk #2

When you have a travel blog/ have any form of social media, people are going to see you looking cute.  They see you looking cute in front of a cool landscape; they see you looking cute in front of a famous monument; they see you looking cute in general. I mean, hey, I get to select the photos after all.  But — I’ve said this before — what they can’t do is smell you. Now, I’m not saying that I smelled awful (shout out to coco butter), but I did only have one pair of pants with me for 75 days.   I was able to wash them twice during that time (a HUGE thanks to Iryna and Despina!!!), so I was incredibly ready to put on a new pair of pants and finally do some laundry with an actual dryer. It’s hard to do your laundry on the go, especially when you’re moving around a lot, have only one pair of pants, and don’t feel comfortable walking around pants-less at a Couchsurfers house.   So I was definitely grateful for the spin and dry cycle when I got back home.  

 

Perk #3

The food: Going to a new place and trying the local dishes, the famous cuisine, the interesting, new flavors is all part of the fun of traveling. Not only that, but also you can keep a list of your favorite dishes and try to make them when you get back home (anyone up for a Greek salad?). That being said, I still love the food at home.  And, I ate my absolute favorite meal that very first night.

Being adventurous with your food while traveling is, I would say, a must; however, eating your favorite comfort food when you finally return to your old stomping ground is almost just as thrilling.

 

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My number one.

 

Perk #4

🎶Reunited and it feels so good🎶.
I was
extremely excited to reconnect with my city and the people in it, and of course, my wonderful friends and family.  I couldn’t wait to be near my best friend!  Bella probably could’ve worn me as a backpack because I just wanted to follow her around and soak up her presence as much as I could.  I was ecstatic that I could finally call my friends on the phone and not have to worry about a spotty connection with WhatsApp or calculate time to talk between time zones.  I got my hair done with Joyce! And, like always happens when I get back, I started talking to strangers in the grocery store because PITTSBURGH and ENGLISH and I MISSED IT ALL.

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A picture from Mom and Dads birthday.  Also, please notice my mom’s amazing hair day.

 

Galavanting across the globe and coming straight back home,
‘mi

One Response to “Home again, Home again, Jiggety-jig”

  1. Jerry Pitts May 16, 2018 at 3:50 am #

    Oh Sammi, welcome home. I know your folks are thrilled to have you back in the USA! That pic of them is so sweet too. Your mother is such a beautiful, lovely person and that hair–I am so envious! Jerry and I have traveled vicariously with you in every country and thoroughly enjoyed your blog. Love you, Kathy and Jerry

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