How Often Do You Go Home, Hmm?

by Mike Dang and Logan Sachon

Mike: Logan, you’re going to visit your parents soon, right? Do you go home more often now that you live here vs. when you lived in Portland (Oregon)? Because it’s cheaper?

Logan: Funnily, no. I thought that I would — and one of the reasons I moved back East was to be closer to my family. But when I lived in Portland, my parents used to buy me plane tickets and now they don’t! So I don’t go home as much as I used to, even though I’m closer, technically.

Mike: When I lived in Los Angeles, I could just drive the few hours to visit my parents, and then when I moved to the East Coast, it quickly became something I could do only during the holidays, or for occasions like weddings or funerals. When I was in grad school, that was my Christmas present — a plane ticket home, or some money to cover part of a plane ticket home because flights around then were about $500 or more. I spoke with my mother two weeks ago and at the end of the call she said, “So I’ll see at Christmas?” She gets that it costs a lot. She also doesn’t have the money to fly here. (She also doesn’t really like the city.)

Logan: I’m trying to think about why it is I used to come home more. I think because it felt so far away, because it was so far away, and so my mom and dad would sponsor me to come home because they missed me and knew I couldn’t afford to come home myself. But now there is a bus that goes to Virginia that is $35 each way, so because of that, I can afford to go home often, so they don’t feel compelled to rescue me because I could just come myself, but I don’t. It’s just really difficult and uncomfortable and not that fun. The bus, I mean. This is making me sound kind of like a gross person — I only would go home when it was a plane that I didn’t pay for, ha.

Mike: There’s also this thing for me now where I feel like I’m missing out on some things. Some things with my family, but also, for example, I have a really close friend who I’ve known since I was about 12. Every time I fly home, I see her. And we’re grownups now! We’ll see each other and update each other and say, “So, we turned out okay?” And every year I fly home there is a clear understanding that time has passed. I finished grad school! She finished business school and got married! And she just sent me photos of her newborn and wrote a note saying something like, “She can’t wait to meet her uncle, who will be the best role model.” And hopefully that’s true, but I also think things like, “Can I even be a role model if I’m not even around that often?” I’m sure you feel that way about your nephew too. You want to be around to watch him grow up, but you can only afford to be around so much.

Logan: Yeah I think I also learned to chill out a little bit about that. I was on the West Coast for his first year, and I flew out for his birth (credit card) and then a few more times I think. But now, like, I want to see him all the time for sure, but also, he’s not going to remember much of this now, so hopefully it’s when he’s older that I’ll be able to actually be there. I don’t know, Mike. Do you ever feel like you might want to be closer to family? Like what if your brothers started having kids?

Mike: I guess I wouldn’t really know until that happened, but so much of this is also about building the life you want for yourself as well. Like, would I want to move home to be closer to my family so I could be a part of their lives? Yes, but it would also be because it would mean I am building the life I want too so they could be part of mine. And honestly, I liked living in California, and found it nice. But I’ve built a career and basically grew up and became a financially stable adult in New York and things are working in a way that I feel good about right now. Of course, we are both still fairly young! Who knows — we both may get married and then move to like, North Dakota or something. I want to have kids. I don’t know if I want to have a kid in NYC, though.

Logan: I also grew up and became financially stable in New York! We are the same. Also, that is a joke.

Mike: Hey, you’re getting there.

Support The Billfold

The Billfold continues to exist thanks to support from our readers. Help us continue to do our work by making a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time-only contribution through PayPal.