The difference is subtle, but it’s there. Being exiled isn’t the same as running away, because it’s not a choice – rather, it’s a consequence, and he has to use time as the form of payment for his actions. Time away from home, away from where his heart is and where it should be but couldn’t because of his wandering nature.
They are all exiles coming home, totalling in the tens of thousands, and their hearts and homes have been wandering for a long, long time. So when the gates are finally built and ready to be opened, he can’t help but feel the sun burn its way down the sides of his face and remember that all these emotions, all these sentiments and all of the above are much, much more than he needs, and even more than what he deserves.