A Good Trip Will Make You Appreciate Home

A Good Trip Will Make You Appreciate Home

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.

  • Totally agree with this! Some trips I’ve taken I’m definitely NOT ready to go home yet – because I had a purpose of going but left the vacation feeling unfulfilled.

    But at the end of a good trip, I’m always thankful to be home again and get back to my ‘regular’ life.

  • Home to me used to be my parents’ house, and that was an odd thing to struggle with when I moved into my apartment 3.5 years ago: was home my parents’ or the city and the apartment I was living in as an independent adult? But as time has gone on, my own apartment has felt much more like home to me. I remember the first time I got back from a trip, opened the door to my place, turned on the light, looked around, and thought, “wow, I’m so happy to be back at home!” It’s a wonderful feeling.

    I love routine. I’d been super busy and out of my routine for about a week until Wednesday night. It felt so good to walk home from work, change into my workout clothes, walk to the gym, and then to the grocery store after. There’s so much to be said for good old, boring, normal life!

  • I find a similar comfort and “settled” (in a good way!) feel when I am at home. Travel can be an amazing opportunity to open my eyes to the world and learn about our fellow humans, but coming home is where I find myself. I find my roots, my community, my life… my heart.

    I am glad you are happy to be home after the recent travels :)

  • As a rock climber and outdoor junkie, I’m jealous that you are in Squamish! It’s on my bucket list.

    Great post, I do always feel blissful when I get home from a trip, even though I do my outdoor trips because I feel I need to get away from home and do them. It’s kinda weird how it works that way, but it does.

  • Home is Oklahoma for me. I enjoy traveling, but there is no place like home. I guess I just feel the most at ease when I am in my home state, especially when I get to sleep in my own bed. I think I miss that the most.

  • When we go back to my hometown to visit, I am going home. When the visit is over and we are headed back to where we live now, I am going home. When we lived and traveled for three years in an RV, we were always home but the view outside our windows changed frequently. When we sold the RV and moved back to Minnesota, we were going home. If home is where your heart is, I’ve left bits of mine all over the place.

  • Cait, as Dorothy in that famous classic movie “The Wizard of Oz” said: “There’s no place like home”!
    I think we all agree with that sentiment. To have familiar surroundings, friends, routines, definitely to regularly sleep well in one’s own bed – those are things that we all crave after the travel attraction has worn off.

  • This is very insightful and parts of it I relate to. I have definitely experienced that I was in a healthy routine and managed to completely throw it out the window; even by having an amazing vacation! On the other hand, I have repeatedly gone on trips and really not wanted to come back. I spent five months in Asia with my partner and little daughter and was not at all ready to come home. Last time I left Mexico City I felt gutted I couldn’t just live there instead. I usually feel very glad to have my bed, and my coffee pot, and people I love nearby; but I also fall into depression upon returning home quite frequently. Reading your post and the comments above make me think I may genuinely want to be in Asia (at the moment, Vietnam). I think in my ideal world I could live in a city in Southeast Asia for at least half the year, and the other half in the Gulf Islands where I love now. Thanks for the thought provoking post!

    • I lived in China for two years and still, nearly 20 years later, have pangs for it. I would never have thought, growing up, that Asia would seem like home even in the tiniest sense. I say high-tail it to Vietnam and drink a cup of coffee in Hanoi for the rest of us. :)

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this! As someone who has moved around more times than I can count growing up, I’ve always had a hard time defining where my hometown is. (Is it where I was born? Or where I spent the most time? Or where I currently live?) I am still figuring this out but I’ve also realized I miss my dog the most when I am travelling, so maybe home is where the dog is!

  • I agree that traveling makes me appreciate home. I think this is mainly because traveling and seeing the bigger world outside “home” make me appreciate life in general, and there’s some sense of growth each time I step away from home. :)

  • I don’t really like to travel. Actually I don’t like it, period. I love my house, I love being in my things, I love my routine. When I travel I’m ready to go back home after 3 days usually (I’ll even get depressed). I hate packing, I hate sleeping in a different bed. I don’t enjoy eating unknowned food. I’m not that interested in other cultures. I’m a homebody and I made peace with it. Home is where my heart is!

  • This post reminds of a quote by Lin Yutang: ‘No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.’ That first night back home, in my own bathtub, with my own pillow, my feet against the wood of my own floor, is the best. Lovely writing, as usual. :)

  • This post spoke to me, Cait. I’ve been quietly following your blog for quite a while, and love your simple, heartfelt posts. This call to home, and your experiences of living your best life when you’re at home is exactly how I feel as well. Though I love to travel, I feel my best when I’m home. And I’ve made sure to set up my home – both functionally and aesthetically – to bring out my absolute best. Many of us do well with simple routines, and I feel that our homes can support those, thereby turning daily chores such as healthy cooking into automatic habits that don’t take brain energy. As an interior design blogger and coach, I often get asked questions about how to make a home beautiful”; I always say let’s make it supportive and then it will be beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing your journey and so many great lessons on simple, beautiful living.

  • Seeing your perspective helps as I work through my own definition of home, Cait. My job has me traveling 3 weeks out of each month, so this has been on my mind for a while. Without noticing it, my travels have gradually become my regular life while home is the temporary space. You’ve given me something else to chew on, so thanks, Cait!

  • I always feel this way too and take it as a sign that we’ve built ourselves a good life here. Vacations or other trips are fun and exciting, yet it’s always nice to come home to beautiful sunsets, my nieces and friends, my own bed, our exercise routine, more fresh and healthy food, and a little more space and organization than a tent or a hotel room can offer.
    I love how travel both exposes you to new places/ideas/experiences AND makes you appreciate what you already have.

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