The Best & Worst Thing About Traveling
Is coming home.
Coming home is the best part of traveling because we know it's time. We feel it. We notice it feels like work to explore yet another centuries-old, gilded church. The soaring arches, rich stained glass and intricate carvings just don't resonate the same way and the easy green grass of our backyard beckons like paradise. Our 1,100 square foot house seems humongous and super luxurious. And it smells and feels like us. All my stuff is exactly where I left it. It's clean and the neighborhood kitty pops in for regular snuggles. I get to cuddle up on our comfy couch and watch Netflix with great WiFi signal on a TV that feels like an IMAX screen. I get to poop in my own toilet (hallelujah), shop for fresh veggies that I get to cut with my own sharp knives and cook in my own perfectly seasoned pans. There's a calm that envelops me when I'm home. A reassuring rhythm in the routine and in seeing the rising and setting of the sun from the same place. Our bedroom feels sexy and warm and I sink into our feather comforter. After weeks or sometimes months of living out of a suitcase, sleeping in a strange bed, and using someone else's toilet (or lack thereof), I revel in the pure bliss of a space to call my own. A place that harbors so much love, that's been the setting for so many fun dinners and parties. I can't wait to see our friends, invite family over for a visit and throw a backyard BBQ.
But coming home is also the worst part of traveling. I always feel a bit like an alien in a strange place unable to relate to my surroundings. My house feels unnecessarily big and all the stuff inside feels ridiculously superfluous. There are so many things we have that's sole purpose is to simply fill up the space. Why? After being on the road with only the essential and seeing people live with so much less I often feel ashamed. I hate to see people's heads bent low over their phones as if willing the outside world away and doing anything to avoid connecting with it. It sucks when I notice myself doing the same thing so quickly after being home. When we're traveling we see new and different things every day, and the routine of daily life at home drags on my spirit. Sitting, for hours, in front of a computer screen numbs my brain and I find myself staring out the window longing to be outside, exploring a narrow, cobbled road. Moving my body. My eyes strain for new faces, my feet itch to traverse new places, my mouth salivates for new tastes.
I guess it's this dichotomy, these two conflicting but connected feelings that keep our house of cards from collapsing. The beauty and calm of home always lures our world-weary bodies back, embraces us in the familiar and the safe, but it's the pulsating, gut-deep hunger to do, see, and experience more of this beautiful world that pulls us back out again and again. It starts subtly with a tickle in our feet, a "hey wouldn't this be fun' idea, a peek at Google maps and our work schedule, and it grows from there. We start looking at flights, places to stay, travel blogs. And finally, with one long, slightly mischievous look into each others eyes we know. Its time.