So many stories of where I’ve been and how I got to where I am

Photo by: Michael Young

The day before Thanksgiving. “That” Wednesday. The biggest travel day of the year.

You pack a bag with so much thought, analyzing every shirt you’re bringing and who is going to see it. You reserve a few hours into the schedule before and after your meal for a build-up and come down. You think about … who I am going to talk to? Who I am going to give in-depth answers to, and who is getting the “good, everything’s great, enough about me, what about you responses?” You envision what room you will be sleeping in. The old wallpapered bedroom you grew up in? A thin pull-out couch where you can feel the springs puncturing your back? A sleeping bag? Regardless, you know for many reasons you are not going to get much rest.

At the core of this cyclone of thought whirling around your head is a gentle four-letter word. Home. You’re going home.

That’s the thing about Thanksgiving as compared to many other holidays — it’s literally centered around a table. It’s not a reunion at a state park or a destination Christmas at Disney World. It’s conjoining under one sentimental roof. Each brick in the foundation contains a time capsule of memories. Even if it’s not your house. You still think about the town where you grew up, your childhood home, how things were, and how things are.

Whether your holiday starts with a long drive, a flight, or just walk downstairs — here are 10 songs to accompany your personal journey. Though each is different in meaning and melody, the underlining theme takes you to place of reflection. You may be proud to be back or proud to be gone, but in both scenarios, there’s plenty of room for thanks.

Photo by: Michael Young

“Home Sweet Home” by: Motley Crue

“You know I’m a dreamer, but my heart’s of gold….
I’m on my way, I’m on my way
Home sweet home”

Your car is packed, full tank of gas,… you’re finally on the road.

“My Hometown” by: Bruce Springsteen

“I was eight years old and running with a dime in my hand
Into the bus stop to pick up a paper for my old man
I’d sit on his lap in that big old Buick and steer as we drove through town
He’d tousle my hair and say son take a good look around, … this is your hometown.”

You pull off at your exit and reduce your speed to meet the suburban back-roads. Everyone else in the car is asleep. You have your moment to yourself.

“Back in the Day: by: Blues Traveler

“It’s been a while since I’ve left home
But I’m coming on back today
Kinda funny but I picture it only
Exactly as it was back in the day
Sure enough when the train pulls in
There’s so little that I recognize”

You make it to the center of town, everyone starts to wake up and it makes you flustered. What is this store? Where did Bernie’s Bagels go?

Photos by: Michael Young

“Home” by: Daughtry

“Well I’m going home,
Back to the place where I belong,
And where your love has always been enough for me”

You’ve arrived. You pull in the driveway and crank the parking break so loud it screeches. Mom is waiting for you at the door. You embrace in a giant hug. You close your eyes. Nobody makes you feel like mama does.

“Faces in a Photograph” by: Carl Bell

“That was real and that’s my life”

Before you bring your bags to your room you look at all the old photos on the wall. Some you don’t recognize. Some feel like yesterday. All of them true.

“The Story” by: Brandi Carlile

“All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am”

You are all gathered around. You realize each person at the table is a little part of you.

“New York City’s Killing Me” by: Ray LaMontagne

“Gotta get back up in the country and have a couple drinks with the good ole’ boys”

Maybe the moment you were most looking forward to (or resenting)… at a barstool at the local pub. Sharing a pint with an old friend.

“Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town” by: Pearl Jam

“I seem to recognize your face
Haunting, familiar, yet I can’t seem to place it
Cannot find the candle of thought to light your name
Lifetimes are catching up with me
Hearts and thoughts they fade, fade away”

You wake up ridiculously early the next morning and decide to take a sunrise drive by yourself — aimlessly around town, down old streets, and you take the long road over the hill. You drive past the radiant new Starbucks to go into the “Coffee Cup” — mostly because the chains jingle on the door as you step inside. All the rusted signs we ignore throughout our lives, choosing the shiny ones instead.

Photos by: Michael Young

“My Old Man” by: Zac Brown

“He was a giant. He was lion. Now I’m a giant. Got a son of my own.”

Anxiety starts to kick in as your time to leave is approaching. What’s going to happen between now and the time we meet again? How long will it be? Wait, I won’t get to see you next week, even just quickly for five minutes to drop something off? There’s no consideration for anxiety.

“Home” by: Foo Fighters

“Echoes and silence
Patience and grace
All of these moments
I’ll never replace
No fear of my heart
Absence of faith
All I want is to be home”

… to be home.

All original photos by: Michael Young | Given2FlyImages

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