Today we have a guest blogger sitting in for travel editor Serena Brower. Dr. Kelle Z. Riley is a world traveler whose home is wherever loved ones gather. True to her Gemini nature, she has a real-life duel personality: Ph.D. scientist by day and writer by night. A 2005 Golden Heart Finalist, her first book—a romantic suspense entitled Dangerous Affairs—was published in 2006. Kelle believes in the magical power of storytelling to entertain, educate and enthrall both readers and writers of all ages. When she’s not saving the world’s water supply, or kicking butt in a karate class, she can be found at her computer, spinning tales of love and happily-ever-after. -- AP
Hi Anastasia, thank you for inviting me to stop by the blog. As you know, I'm often flying around the world for business, traveling to exotic places like Bangkok, Singapore, Sweden, Paris and more! It is nice to "land" here for a few moments to reflect on life. Maybe some time you'll invite me back and I can tell you about my travels. Shoppers might enjoy hearing about the night market in Bangkok. Those in need of some pampering might like to hear about the "fish spa" in Singapore. But for now, I'm delighting in being home in the USA!
As I sit in a darkened, windowless meeting room today, my thoughts aren’t on project deadlines, profit margins or any of the issues on the corporate agenda. Although it’s still too early for crooners to remind us “there’s no place like home for the holidays” or to hear the plaintive refrain of “I’ll be home for Christmas” on the radio, my thoughts are already turning to Thanksgiving and “home.”
But in an increasingly mobile world where jetting across continents becomes commonplace and jobs require moves every year of so, where distances between family members are measured in time zones rather than hours, what do we really mean when we say we’re going “home?”
Nostalgia may tell you it’s the house on the block where you grew up, the smell of mom’s special sugar cookies baking, the crunch of fallen leaves and dozens of other images from your childhood. But those things are memories. Visiting the old house—even if mom is still baking cookies—won’t turn back the clock and let you relive your childhood.
I believe the longing we feel for “home” is something else. It’s not a place or a time. It isn’t even family members gathered together under a single roof to feast on turkey and pumpkin pie. The longing for home is a longing for connection. Connection with those closest to us—spouses, children, parents, siblings, even our crazy cousins. It’s also a longing for a connection to community—neighbors, those who gather at your place of worship, and humankind in general. Humans are social creatures and we aren’t fulfilled unless we’re part of a community.
What a wonderful time we live in then, when we have so many options for interacting with our loved ones and communities. If we can’t drive or fly home, we can call, text, check up on social networking sites or even write an old fashioned letter or card (the kind that requires a stamp!). The possibilities to reach out and include far-flung family and friends are endless.
There’s just one catch. To really connect you need to focus on the person you’re reaching out to. Focus on their voice (if you can hear it) or hold their image and memories of your times together in your mind (if you’re using social networks, texts or letters). Don’t rush the “conversation” just because our communication devices allow it. Rather, savor that moment with your loved one like you would savor a fine piece of gourmet chocolate. Imprint the interaction on your mind, heart and soul. When you do, faster than you can click your ruby slippers three times, you’ll be home.
Thanks for stopping by, Kelle! And do come back again soon. I’m sure our readers would love to hear about the night market in Bangkok and "fish spa" in Singapore. Remember, readers, post a comment this week to be entered into the drawing for a free book from our Book Club Friday guest author. -- AP