Homeward Bound

Let’s get straight to the point; I am moving back to Switzerland.

After spending close to 7.5 years in my chosen Canadian home that I am eternally grateful for, it is time to take this step. I have been thinking about returning to Europe for several years I am perfectly honest. Ever since having an emotional meltdown in my last year of university (the dreaded senioritis), this thought has taken up residence in my mind. Over the years that followed, despite living large in the gorgeous Columbia Mountains, it’s only gotten stronger.

Yes, I have been living a rad and adventurous life out here in British Columbia. Yes, it has helped me grow immeasurably and become a person that I did not even know I wanted to be just a few years ago. I am so glad for all the memories and friends. This place is truly a home to me. I’ll carry it with me wherever I end up.

But this doesn’t take away from the fact that the homesickness and desire to be close to my family has grown so large over time that even all that Western Canada is to me cannot fill the hole that has been dug up in my heart. Even as I write this a day away from boarding the airplane that will take me across the ocean and bring me back to my family, acknowledging just how much I have been missing them all these years makes me cry. It’s an emotional trigger point.

During university (up until the last year) I would have never thought of going home. Ever. But once you graduate and suddenly all your best friends from the past 4 years disperse like pollen in a breeze, and you achieve this educational goal that has been guiding your life, the bubble can burst. What now? Well, I hopped on a bike with Taylor and rode down the coast and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I also spent two years in Revelstoke and half a year in Rossland. I am truly glad I did.

But, over all, life in Canada has made me feel stuck in some kind of vortex. I felt as though I have been drifting aimlessly. I have just not felt fulfilled. I have realized that I need some goal to work toward. But simply training for ultra marathons, while committing, serious, tough, and fun is not enough for me. I need more than that.

This is also why I am going back to Switzerland; I am going back to university. This time, it’ll be for a degree in physiotherapy. I have been thinking of reverting to student life for this professional goal for over two years. I can assure you that I have thought this through – this is more than just a “spur of the moment” decision in order to do at least something worthwhile. I am incredibly excited to be taught and to learn about the mechanics of the human body. I have become so passionate about the workings of anatomy and mobility that I just want to take this interest to the next level. Plus, I truly know the importance of movement and its healing power for our soul as well as our body. I want to make sure others can realize this potential as well, and help them recover from pain and injury. I see physiotherapy as not only a way to make people stronger; it has the possibility to make people truly happy. Being a physiotherapist will be more than just a job; I see it as a vocation. A vocation that I can truly build a life around. A vocation where the learning and possibility for continued education seems endless. I am positive that this is exactly what my brain needs to thrive and be truly satisfied.

I also get giddy with excitement just thinking about getting to live in Switzerland again. It’s not like I left a shit hole of a place in order to live in Canada. I left one of the most beautiful places on Earth; some of the most incredible mountains and landscapes that exist. Back when I initially came to Canada, I did not have a true appreciation for just how cool the Alps are. My love for outdoor exploration hadn’t yet blossomed. At all. I was a lazy couch potato. Canada made me an active, thrill-seeking potato. It made me who I am. I cannot even really put into words just how excited I am that I get to take this person I am now back into the Alps. I am effectively going to discover the place I grew up in anew, with a new set of eyes. I will get to explore this place I used to take for granted with childlike wonder and excitement. It is something I am truly looking forward to.

Of course leaving Canada is also bittersweet. While my departing has been several years in the making, I cannot help but feel that its actualization is quite cut-and-run. But maybe that’s the best – and really only – way to go about this. I am leaving a piece of my heart and myself here. Most difficult of all is to leave while Wiggles stays. It is hard and long distance relationships ain’t easy. We’ve made it through a lot of other tough shit, though. So we can crack this one, too. Plus, in an era more instantly inter-connected than ever, the world is becoming ever smaller. And what better reason to often go back to Canada to visit and adventure?!

French musician Orelsan sums it up best in his song “La Terre est Ronde,” when he says: “Au fond, je crois que la Terre est ronde pour une seule bonne raison. Après avoir fait le tour du monde, tout ce qu’on veut, c’est être à la maison.” In the end, I think the Earth is round for a single good reason. Once you’ve gone around the world, the only thing you want is to be at home. At this point in time, those lyrics couldn’t ring more true. This thing called life is unpredictable and everything could be drastically different a few years from now. But I take it as it comes and for now it is telling me that after so many years away from home, it’s good to go back.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Twyla Dawn Weixl says:

    Dear Jo,
    I’m Taylor’s aunt Twyla and followed your west coast bike adventure with her via your and her posts.Having come to Munich at age 26 and now lived here for 40 years, I can really understand what you wrote about returning to Switzerland. Of course, that country has changed too – Europe doesn’t stand still – so it seems change is our biggest, most constant challenge, no matter where we find ourselves. If you are ever in Munich, do get in touch and I’ll show you some beauty here. Your plans to further study the human body and healing sound really solid and endlessly fascinating. I wish you all the energy and patience such studies demand – und natürlich auch eine gute Portion Leichtigkeit! Twyla


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