I just got home from a trip to Europe.
I love to travel and I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to explore many exciting and unique destinations. Most of the places I’ve experienced have been journeys well worth taken.
What I don’t enjoy about travel is the just before I go and the returning home parts.
I’m not sure why it’s so difficult for me at these times, before and towards the end of travel. I genuinely love and get excited about trying new adventures, but I have anxiety about leaving home.
I suppose like most people, my home is my comfort zone. It’s my place to just be. Sure, there are some things that I have to do around my house, like laundry and cleaning, but for the most part, I love being in my home.
Therefore, before I travel, I have to physically and mentally prepare myself for being away from home. I used to over pack. I would throw in excess clothes, just in case.
Who knows why I feared not having enough or going without, but I just felt better knowing that I was overly prepared for anything. After being on many trips, I’ve grown to realize that the more stuff I pack, the more stuff I have to lug around with me.
Plus, I started noticing that a lot of the clothes and other things that I was packing , weren’t even getting worn or used while I was away. This seemed wasteful somehow and I began to look at the real reason that I felt the need to drag excess baggage with me while I was away from home.
Looking back, I believe that I was looking for comfort in the things that I packed in order to ease my homesickness. This seems like such a dramatic word to describe my state of mind that I had while away. But, aside from the hardcore nomads, I truly believe that everyone suffers from a little homesickness when they are away from their home. I do. Every single time I’m away.
A home is a safe environment that we’ve created and usually contains familiar things, memories, and people (and animals) that keep us balanced and secure. Our home, to a certain extent, is not only our place of residence, but it is in part our identity. It’s not just where we come from, but it's also who we are because it’s where we live. Why would we want to leave it?
To grow. At least that’s my goal when I travel. And to gather new experiences from new people and places.
Too easy would it be for me to stay nestled safely in my home. I really could do this. There are enough people, pets, objects of comfort and familiarity in my home to keep me quite content for a very long time. I may need to have supplies shipped in of modern day necessities and conveniences, but I could stay home and be happy for the rest of my life. How boring and stagnant would I be?
So, instead, I battle through my anxieties and pack a smallish bag of whatever is absolutely needed on my travels to somewhere new and hopefully exciting.
While I’m away, I usually have the best time. I’m just one of those annoyingly optimistic people that can find interest, meaning, and happiness in the most boring, uncomfortable or awkward of situations. I feel there must be a reason for the discomfort, awkwardness, and boredom I'm feeling and I use these times to grow and learn what I need to.
Then I get to bring home the lessons that I’ve learned from new places, people, and situations I’ve experienced. Kind of like life souvenirs.
This is why I need to have extra space in my bag. Traveling home for me isn’t just a quick flight and unpack. Before I get home, I need to prepare once again. In order to face my return home, I have to gather strength and hope that I can find a space in my home for my new baggage.
This takes a lot of breathing and a lot of patience from my husband.
The most difficult part of travel for me is not the new places or faces or adventures. The ‘returning home’ moment is the toughest. Returning home is like finding new pieces that fit into the puzzle. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I have to discover new ways to fit pieces that make it all feel complete.
I just finished unpacking from my trip to Europe. After a few days to regroup back home, I have to say, my new souvenirs seem to go really well with the place.
Tracy Bryan is an award-winning Indie author. She writes whimsical books for kids ages 4-12. She likes to tackle important and diverse topics that affect kids and their families.
Tracy just released her debut fiction picture book called Put Away Your Phone! with illustrator David Barrow. They are currently working on their next book together called Too Many Things! due to be out early 2017!