I need another suitcase. This beauty has accompanied me more than 100,000 miles and she’s starting to show her age. She’s been the perfect size though – an ample fit for a two week journey that’s not overly cumbersome to deal with. She’s modern, sleek but not flashy. Practical but with a splash of colour and a curve here or there. I’ve packed her this morning in Tennessee to realize that she’s on her last run home, while I’m leaving again from a place I’d like to stay. Time to talk tough to myself and start the next leg of my journey home. Here goes.

Dear Heart,

You will be ok. I want to remind you not to wear your heart on your sleeve but we both know it’s too late for that. You’ve dug yourself a hole you can’t get out of now, invested so deep in a place that’s far too many miles away from where your life is everyday. You’re a bit of a fool, really – but a sweet one.

You should own up to the fact, you could have stopped this years ago. Put your foot down and refused to get involved but people have this way of crawling inside of you and taking up space. The ones that are making a home for themselves in there now are too good to throw away and you know it. But you could have pulled the plug before it got this hard.

So you need to toughen up. You’ve got a couple of hours til your next flight and it pays to remember there’s a whole other family of people you love waiting there, not to mention your family back home. If you wouldn’t spread yourself out so much, maybe you wouldn’t have this problem.

Just acknowledge that every hello comes with a poignant goodbye. Every goodbye is easier when you’ve planned the next hello. And this is a cycle you’ll probably be in for life now. So toughen up, Heart, get on the plane and then you can let your tears swell.

Every year you hope and pray that this year will be the one you travel one way. Every year you find a little more home here and find it a little harder to re-engage back there. Every year when leaving, you say – next year, I’ll unpack for good.

And if we’re honest, you suspect that time is a clock still ticking on things working out the way you suspect they might. You think you might have stumbled on the best of the best but it’s not something you’re brave enough to admit yet.

Here’s the truth of it, Heart. You’re lucky to have found something that is so hard to say goodbye to. Lucky to have people to return to. If you will keep expanding the boundaries and letting more of them in, you’ll always be travelling somewhere. Maybe there’s no unpacking for you anymore. Maybe you’ll always be travelling between here and there.

Maybe it’s time to accept, Heart, that home is the people and life will be a series of journeys between those you love – unless you’re prepared to give one of them up? No, I didn’t think so.

Dear Heart, you are a brave little soul. You throw yourself into loving people with everything you have and wonder while leaving feels so much like being torn apart. But without this pain, you wouldn’t have the joy of coming home. You, Heart, are at home here with these people. Truthfully though, your next stop is home too, and the next. Enjoy the travelling. Tonight, you’ll land somewhere new and begin it all again.

Good luck – you will be ok.