I’ve been thinking a lot about home this week, and how my definition—and physical location—of it has changed over the years. My story is certainly not liner. When I was a kid, my mom and I were constantly on the move. As an adult, I’ve lived in Victoria, Toronto, Victoria again, Toronto again, New West (x2), Port Moody, Victoria again and now Squamish. And while I feel more at home in Squamish than I have anywhere else, I know that nothing is permanent and I will always be open to seeing where life takes me.
In saying that nothing is permanent, there is one thing that has never changed for me: the fact that, no matter where I have lived or what my life looked like, I’m always happy to go home at the end of a trip. It doesn’t matter how amazing the trip was. I always get to the end of it feeling genuinely excited to go home.
The first person I shared this with was David, and I was (secretly) thrilled when he agreed. We talked about how we both loved going to NYC, as an example, but we also always loved going home after. Before that conversation, I had wondered if something was wrong with me for feeling this way. If I was so happy to go away, why was I equally as happy to go home? And if I was so happy to go home, why did I go anywhere in the first place? It wasn’t until the conversation with David that I started to discover my answer.
I could write a longer post and tell half-a-dozen stories, but it boils down to one truth: I set an intention for every trip I go on and, after it’s been fulfilled, I feel ready to go home. Every intention is different. I’ve gone to NYC for a “rom-com Christmas weekend” and I’ve gone to Toronto for work and I’ve gone on a huge road trip to visit blogging friends all over the US. And when I’ve done the thing(s) I set out to do, I’m ready to go home. It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that, because it’s just that simple.
There are other reasons it feels good to go home, of course. No matter how little you pack, it feels good to stop living out of a suitcase. And it feels good to sleep in your own bed, to cook in your kitchen, to shower in your bathroom, to see your loved ones and to visit your favourite places. But the overarching reason it feels good is because home is the place you can settle in, establish a routine and feel like your healthiest self. No matter how you structure your trips, travel often disrupts that.
Even during this month of slow travel, where I’ve been buying groceries, cooking some of my meals, and eating lots of fruit and vegetables, I still don’t feel like my healthiest self. And despite being incredibly organized at home, it’s not uncommon for me to miss a work deadline or forget about a task entirely when I’m on a trip. There’s part of me that feels like my best self when I travel, because it opens me up to new experiences, teaches me to be more spontaneous, etc. But routine helps me stay healthy, and I’m craving that.
I love getting to explore other cities and countries, take in some of the culture, and learn, grow and change from it all. Like Amanda said, seeing the world can change your world—and I am so grateful for that, and will continue travelling for that reason alone.
But there’s no denying that travel is disruptive. No matter how slow you go, it disrupts your routine, which can take a long time to adjust to. And every trip will be disrupted itself, at some point, because eventually you’ll need to pack up and go again. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t travel. It’s ok to want to get away from real life for a little while. Set the intention, go on the trip and see the world! And when it feels like you’ve done what you set out to do, it’s ok to want to go home. A good trip will make you appreciate home, however you define it.