Thursday, February 21, 2013

Does Coming Home Always Feel This Normal?

Traveling is such a thrill to me. The prepwork, the excitement when you arrive, the exploration of a totally foreign city... but then it's time to go home. You pack your bags and your belongings don't fit quite right. You return home, and you think "if I were in ___ I'd be doing this right now," or "it's ___ time in ___." You miss your journey, your companions, the experiences you shared. The disappointment of coming home is is never quite enough to mask the joy from the trip. For some, it is a whirlwind cycle of trip --> come home --> plan new trip to cancel out sadness of last trip ending --> repeat.

The 12 Apostles
But what is it that makes us so melancholy about returning home to a place we (mostly) love?

For some, it's the loss of adventure. For others, it means returning to a life they aren't completely satisfied with. And for still more, it means not having something to look forward to.

I had the greatest vacation-high I've ever experienced when I returned from Australia. I felt rejuvenated, enriched, fulfilled, and ready to take on the world. I jumped back into my life with gusto, speaking fondly about my time in Australia and how I felt it changed me.

Sydney from a ferry
Coming home from Argentina brought a similar feeling of elation. I was happy to be home, and I realized that sometimes even the best of friends do not make the perfect traveling buddies. I also learned that traveling solo freaking sucks and I should abandon all hope for enjoying it. What can I say, I thrive off of other people's energy.

Iceland was different for me. I knew the trip would have a lasting impact on my relationship with my best friend. I also knew deep down inside that this trip wouldn't be life-changing for me. What I didn't know is how at peace I would feel about it.

En route to Gulfoss
It was just a trip. A really rockin' trip that continues to amaze me as I look at the pictures and tell stories about it. But the reality is, I left on a Thursday excited about the adventure ahead, and I came home on a Monday thrilled to be back in familiar territory. No major revelations. No life-altering decisions.

And it makes me wonder - does that make me a real "traveler" to take a trip that doesn't have a lasting impact on my life? I'll always remember Iceland. I'll always look back fondly on a fabulous 3.5 days with my best friend. And I'm certainly better because of it.

Merely thinking out loud here, but I'm happy the trip didn't bring any huge changes or ah-ha moments. I'm pretty happy living life just as I am and I'd hate to ruin it!

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