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Andy hitting a forehand

Andy hitting a forehand

August 23, 2010

Seattle, WA

Been back in training for a little over a week now. I got everything in during my practices last week that I intended on getting done, and I’m feeling really good again on the court. The week-long break out at the cabin allowed me to get rested, rejuvenated, and eager to play once again. The renewed enthusiasm to play and work hard again is allowing me to make strides in my game and enjoy my time spent on the court. I put a big emphasis last week on lots of set play, a couple good quickness and agility sessions, and some longer conditioning workouts like a bike ride and running stadiums. This week I want to focus a little more on drilling in order to iron out a couple areas in my game that I would like to improve, while also continuing to play sets and getting in good quickness and conditioning work.

This will be the last blog I’ll be writing from Seattle. I have had a wonderful stay up here in the Northwest for the summer, and I have to thank once again the Bator family for allowing me to stay in their home and making me feel like family. At the end of the week my travel partner Brad and I will be making the trek back down south to California, gearing up for the Comcast Santa Maria Open and a stretch of three Futures tournaments down in the Los Angeles area.

Something I have been thinking about while I’ve been on the road is the idea of home. At the end of June I moved out of my small house in San Luis Obispo, CA, stored most of my stuff in a storage unit, packed everything else that I thought I would need while I traveled in my car, and took off for the summer on an arduous journey through the Northwest. I will be traversing through California once again for the next month or so, and then taking off to Laos and Thailand for October and November, two countries that are extremely foreign to me, even though I have been to Thailand once before. After that, who knows where my travels will take me, all the while not really having a specific place to call home. But what does it mean to have a place called home?

Home is a place where you feel safe, comfortable, and at peace. You go home to relax after a strenuous day, driving in your car or train or bus after work, counting down the hours…minutes…until you can walk through the door, smell those familiar smells, see the people you love, put your feet up and unwind on your favorite couch or chair. You step into your shower at home, where you know exactly how hard the water pressure is when the hot water and steam hit your face. At home, you escape from the tension of the outside world, take a deep breath, and feel at ease in the present moment.

While being on the road, and not necessarily having my own physical place to call home, I’ve realized that home is nothing more than a state of mind. Those familiar sights and sounds as you walk through your door at home represent a safe haven for your mind, a place where you can feel comfortable and safe in your own skin. When I’m on the road I replace a house that I am accustomed to with certain activities that I enjoy doing by myself, which bring me solace and peace of mind. My daily routines, such as a long post-workout stretch or reading a book before I go to bed, help ground me and bring me back to center when I feel out of whack. A couple weeks ago I allowed myself to get out of my routines, and the hustle and bustle of the changing scenery around me caught up to me and got me feeling anxious and on edge. Settling down and getting back to my routines and doing the things that relax and center me allowed me to regain my focus and energy, finding my inner peace of mind that represents home.

Being on the road has taught me how to feel at home without depending on a physical home to come back to. Home is simply a feeling of being at ease, centered, comfortable, and safe, and I’m learning how to provide that for myself when the world around me in constantly changing. As I travel from city to city I recognize the importance of finding the balance between immersing yourself in the world around you, while also staying true to yourself. A good traveler can go out of their comfort zone, meet people, try things, and have new experiences while also grounding themselves in who they are, and not allowing the constant change of scenery to bother them. A good traveler finds home wherever they are, not depending on anything physical, but rather finding home through their state of mind.

-AG