As of yesterday, my baby brother is living in Australia. After finishing university, working and saving all summer, he applied for his first credit card, bought a plane ticket, and boarded his first overseas flight. We are all so nervous and excited and proud of him, my family and I. We can't wait to see (via Facebook) and hear (via Skype) about all his adventures.
Also, he's not there alone. My other brother, who has spent the better part of this year down under, was meeting him at the airport. Together, they will work, explore, and discover whole new worlds.
I'm unspeakably proud of both of them. Travel, if you have the opportunity and privilege to pursue it, is one of the best things for the human mind and soul. It expands, shifts, and shapes a person irrevocably. By choosing to go, you are opening yourself up to becoming different.
About a month ago, my mom was standing at the dryer folding my brother's laundry for what she suddenly realized might be one of the last times. Her youngest child was moving out, moving away, and moving on to new horizons. Although she knows he (and we) will return as often as we can, this realization that we are all physically away from her was overwhelming.
I've been living in Montreal for over five years now. I've travelled to countries all over the world, alone and with my love. There isn't a day when I don't long for home, but technology helps us stay connected to each other in ways that wouldn't have been conceivable a decade ago.
I planned my wedding with my mom and bridesmaids (none of whom live in my province) with the help of email, pinterest boards, and smart phones. Through Smugmug, my mom (my photography mentor) can give me feedback on my work before I ever post any of it online. Through this very blog, I can share my experiences with my dad, and tell him the stories that accompany the photos.
Of course, none of this replaces the feeling of sitting in the same room together. This Christmas will be the first one we don't all share together. But, this will also be my first one with a husband, and my parents' with a son-in-law, so that's a whole different kind of change. A family is an evolving unit, and I'm so grateful for the changes in mine.
Spread out across Canada and the world, we're a family seemingly divided by space, but tied together by wonderful communication technology and our close bonds. My parents couldn't be more supportive of my brothers, Brian and I in everything we do, and always encourage us to travel anywhere we dream of going.
To my family: thank you for always making me feel at home, wherever in the world I am.