A while ago, a friend of mine went on a skydiving adventure in Spain, where he completed a number of jumps to get his skydiving proficiency certificate. He told me that "after the first few jumps, you stop seeing skydiving as jumping out of a plane -- it's about entering a skydive."
I think I get it now.
After my family and friends disappeared from view as I made my way to the boarding gate, I could feel the dread of departure being replaced by the anticipation of arrival. There is my cosy room, my trusty Ford, and old friends for me when the plane doors open again. Better still, new colleagues, new experiences, and new challenges all lay ahead.
The walk to the boarding gate was a brisk one. I was no longer jumping out of the plane; I was entering the skydive.
To all the friends who I met this time back, and also to those I didn't (sorry!): Thank you for a great time and reminding me where home really is. Till next time, when we will all have new tales to regale each other with.