Last spring, while I fretted over my impending move across the country, a professor told me that I could always take the next bus home.
It was so simple and palpable — the most reassuring words I needed to hear. Maybe it was because everything that came from her red-lipsticked mouth was said with such fierce conviction. She was my life cheerleader, always rooting for me — even if she knew nothing about sports.
Or maybe it was that buses were so comfortable. I had traveled the Peter Pan bus line between Hartford and New York for years. It was my portal as I shuttled between Dad and Mom, between my different homes. I knew the prices and hours, met strangers and battled motion sickness. Being on a bus was a familiar staple of growing up.
So, with my professor's supportive and disarming declaration, my fears of change were put at bay.
Now, a year later, I reside in Colorado. I'm 2,000 miles away and with an empty bank account, that bus ticket home is intangible.
The further out of reach the bus becomes, the more I am lost. I find myself disoriented in the distance from home, spinning in circles looking for those recognizable street names and faces. One day boldly exploring, the next day too weary to get out of bed. Although there is still something thrilling about having all my belongings packed into a suitcase, I struggle in trying to bring my foundation with me — trying to pack all the people, places and neighborhood shortcuts into my luggage — without facing an overweight charge.
Many people have the ability to go far away and never look back. Others are so serenely happy in their homes that a move would be as disruptive as waking a sleeping baby. Some are stuck in a painful routine, sinking in the quicksand around their homes and not able to get themselves out. And then, there are the complacent.
I am not. I uprooted and headed west. Part of me kicks myself for accepting my professor's words so unquestioningly, for not asking that wild-haired, red-lipsticked professor, ''What if I get carsick? What if I can't afford a ticket?"
Hypotheticals hold you back. I wouldn't be here, searching for an antidote to homesickness, if I had so many doubtful pangs before I left Connecticut.
So, I am here. And I don't know where I'll soon call my home base. The unsettling part is when I finish running the bases of this adventure and return home; when my feet hit that familiar soil I've walked on for years, I fear I won't want to go up to bat again.
It's a wrestle of emotion and desire so foreign from the feeling I felt in my professor's office that one spring day. But, for now, I continue on, rounding third base on unknown ground with coaches telling me if I should stay or go. The bus is parked outside the stadium. Maybe, someone might even offer me a few bucks for a ticket. Or I could stay and play. Because from wherever I'm standing in the field, I can look out into the stands, up into the far away nosebleed seats, and see that wild-haired, red-lipsticked professor sitting there, pulling for me.
The bus may leave, whether I'm here or there, but I can find a comfort of home in knowing there are always friends willing to give you a lift.
Danielle Ennis, 23, grew up in West Hartford, graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2012 and is a ski instructor in Winter Park, Colo.
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