There's some truth to the old saying. Leave home for even a few months and it's a different place when you get back. It might look the same, have the same buildings and such, but it's changed while you were away.
My wife and I weren't gone all that long, less than three months. We kept in touch by phone and e-mail. Even so, we've had some surprises since we've gotten back. Couples have spit up. Other have married. People have moved away. Some have died. Plenty of things happen when attention is elsewhere. It takes time to catch up and get back in the rhythm of things.
Grandkids change fastest of all. They are one of the main reasons we aren't full time live aboard sailboat cruisers. Some cruisers try and compensate by flying home every few months. That's not for me. I couldn't afford to do it. Also, the TSA can't physically insult me if I never fly again. I put my foot down. It's a line I won't cross lightly.
Even those who fly back all the time don't have a good solution. They get to see friends and family, but as visitors, not regular parts of their lives. On the other end, they aren't exactly full time cruisers either. They have their feet in two different worlds, not quite rooted in either. One thing I noticed while traveling. After about 3 months or so, you put out a different vibe. You are a gypsy. Fellow wanderers recognize you as one of them.
There are benefits for having that gypsy vibe. People share information that they wouldn't tell short timers: cheap but good campgrounds, where the locals eat, which towns harass transients, which places are cool, a good hotel with relaxed rules about dogs. You might get a line on part time work. Someone will invite you over for drinks, because after all, you are all part of the wandering tribe. The jet setters never quite develop the full gypsy aura.
The long time traveler doesn't even have a home to go back to. Home is the journey. They recognize more than most the impermanence of things. The best spot in the world can turn into the worse, just by a different batch of people moving in.
You never can home again. Even if you do and by some miracle everything is nearly the same, you are different.
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