Share a story about the furthest you’ve ever traveled from home.
“Are we on Mars?” I remember thinking to myself as we drove through an area of construction on Route 29S in central Virginia. Large yellow bulldozers and nudged the terra cotta-colored dirt into heaps along the side of the narrow highway. The dirt wasn’t the only unfamiliar sight. Big box stores with names like Rose’s, Belk, and Food Lion flashed by. There were cows and fields and barns falling in on themselves. The loamy, pungent scent of manure filled my nose as I stepped out of the car at the gas station.
I had traveled farther away than this from my home in Connecticut, a bedroom community of New York City, or “The City” as we called it. Even though my family was of modest means, my blue-collar dad made sure we explored the country. I’d been Wyoming, Montana, Utah, and Florida. The difference between this trip and those trips was that my parents would be depositing me at Lynchburg College and leaving me behind.
“If I don’t like college,” I remember asking, “can I come back home?”
I don’t remember my father’s reply. Probably some generic reassurance about feeling better once I got into the swing of things. He could acknowledge my anxiety, but he floundered when it came helping me talk through difficult emotions.
After the lugging my junk to my dorm room and quick tearful goodbye, he and my mom left me alone to sort out my feelings . Far from home.