I had a very specific idea for how my last Remote Year / Just Bail post was going to go. I was going to write out a list of lessons I’d learned, some funny, some serious, because I really cannot read one more post about what travel teaches you.

You know what? Travel taught me way more than I ever needed to know about how to immediately get data on my phone in any country in the world, to always wear my shoes at the beach, and that Qatar has THE worst Big Mac. Maybe some of you might learn these thing too, but travel teaches everyone different things based on the experiences you have, so seriously, let it go travel brand bloggers.

But then I got home. I was so tired I pretty much just laid on my parents’ couch for 5 weeks. There was some fun on the weekend, but most days I couldn’t muster the energy to even talk to them.

And when I finally emerged into the World of America again, I was surprised by one thing. I was relieved, about a fear I didn’t even know I had until I felt the relief that the fear wasn’t true.

A year is a long time. A year didn’t feel long when I was leaving, but it feels like an eternity now. I was gone for a little bit over a year, and I was really, really scared that this awesome life I’d left behind wouldn’t have room for me in it anymore.

I joined Remote Year because I loved my life and I wanted to take it to the next level. But I was less than a handful of people in my cohort Cousteau who joined RY for that reason. Most were escaping something, or trying to jumpstart their lives, or using RY as a fixer. A lot of the people who joined RY for the reasons I did quit early. And my loving and kind Cousteaus, who remained with me to the end, they could listen to me, but they couldn’t really empathize with what I was going through: I was homesick.

So this final chapter documenting my year of traveling the world, this is for the people I left behind. This is for the family and friends and coworkers I bailed on. You welcomed me back with open and loving arms. I cannot explain to you what it felt like to finally and really know that the life I’d spent 26 years building, that I pressed pause on, could seamlessly start again. I can tell you I almost cried, in front of a stranger, in the back of his car/Lyft. I got a headache from holding back the tears.

I left you, and I’m sorry for that. You supported me all year from far away with Gchats, FaceTimes, and even visits. You reminded me that what I was doing was really, really cool and I needed to be grateful, but you also reminded me that the people and life I left behind were cooler.

I’m now back in New York City, it’s like 50 degrees (Farenheit, I know it’s stupid we use this still, I have no power to change it), and it’s raining outside, and I can’t help but feel super grateful for this incredible life I don’t deserve.

That amount of sincerity without any irony nearly killed me. You can find me reviving myself at Taqueria on St. Marks pretty much any day of the week.