Who says coming home is the end of your adventure? Photographer Phillipe Blondel on the feeling of coming home after an expedition.

Coming home is reconnection. Back in your comfort zone, back with your essentials, and most importantly, family and friends.

Coming home is nostalgia for the experience just lived. The travails of travel leading you back home again.

I am lucky to live in Laurentian’s, the mountainous region north of Montreal. I have found it impossible in this place of plenty, of lakes and rivers and creeks, of trees and wildlife, not to love the natural world. This is home; this is where I developed a deep connection with the elements.

It is where I took my first steps into photography, quickly spending every second outside until late at night when the light had finally fallen away, capturing every small moment of beauty that nature provided.

Coming back home is an adventure in itself. These are the most authentic moments of life, a real experience, an adventure that is within me always. Whether it’s boots on and hiking a mountain or simply relaxing around a lake with my twin brother and a couple of my best friends – my people, the right people – that’s real life.

It’s in these times, when I return to the place where I belong, that I have the most profound conversations and discover the questions burning inside me. Getting lost right behind the house where I live, that is being home.

I have a secret place too, of course, where I can spend time alone. It’s a place to put things into perspective. It’s a place, twenty minutes on my bike from home, where I camped for the first time with my peers, no parents allowed. It’s the site of the most remarkable tree in all Laurentians. The quiet water allows this twin tree to appear, alive on a small island in the middle of the river.

Coming home is the end of a trip. Coming home is the beginning of something new.

Home is the place where I have ideas, where I try – and fail, where I doubt myself, and where everything always finally comes together.

And when I leave again? I ask myself, is it worth it to move away from the comforts of home? It’s always yes, of course. Coming home is worth it; I enjoy it way more than I ever could have done if I’d never left.

Read more from Philippe away from home in ætla 02 as he travels in search of puffins in Iceland, available to preorder here now