The Value of Home: Contrast to Travel
I enjoy and yearn to see the world, but other than that I am a homebody by nature. Actually travel helps me appreciate home in a deeper way. In the reverse, my home life gives me a place to travel away from. The contrast of both is something I need. One without the other seems pointless.
If you travel without a home, how do you know you are traveling at all?
I am mostly a scientist by schooling and the scientific process usually calls for a control group. In order to fully “get” travel I need a routine. A daily life that is “not travel”. This provides a base to compare things too. Then when I break out of that routine and go traveling, I feel the rush of being “away”. I can take the shape of my life out of the situations that force it to be that way and shape it anew. In the scientific process, I can test my theories and have a control to compare against and see the change.
Travel provides growth and change. This is a given. New experiences let me see the world in a different way, even if only slightly. The real value of this growth is often apparent only when I get home and see how I am different in otherwise familiar situations. I realize what I have learned when I go back into a familiar world and apply those new lessons.
A place to Relax and Think
When I am out on a trip, the sense of traveling is fairly constant. I feel that “awayness” and enjoy the foreignness of things. I revel in the freedom of not having responsibilities like work or dirty dishes. The boredom just drops away in sheets and slabs when I get a chance to see something new. The stresses and experiences often come fast enough that I have little time to think or reflect. Home provides just that.
I get burned out fairly quickly. I love the wonderful exhilarating feeling of travel, but it can wear me down. After a trip I need days to reflect and feel like I am at home. To wrap myself in the security and warmth that the travel stripped away, that I allowed and enjoyed shedding for the moment. In doing so, I get a chance to look at the new form that travel left in me. Then in the daily life I can try out the new nooks and crannies in my psyche that the trip carved out. In not allowing them to set, the newly learned lessons are easily forgotten as the form molds back to life too quickly.
Expat Balance of Extremes
Coming to Germany and becoming an Expat was this feeling. To leap from a comforting rut and force myself into a new form here. I am happy with the life that has been given me. I like that it still has edges of foreignness. It retains a bit of its life bending attributes while still being a home to me.
If travel is really the great changing experience that it always seems to be, then I expect the greatest view of that change is only realized when you get back into “normal” surroundings. Being at home while away is a great way to have both.
Slow travel and expatism are both in this direction. Building a shortterm or longterm home in a place that others would call travel. Allowing both the forming and the setting to happen at the same time.
December 9, 2010 @ 8:08 am
I am much the same as you, Andrew. I love to travel, but I also love to stay at home! Settling in for long periods of time in foreign locales gives me the ability to do both, and I just love it 🙂
December 10, 2010 @ 9:14 pm
Yeah, I think I am a settler pioneer, not an explorer. Especially in the winter, happy to have a warm home.
November 17, 2010 @ 7:39 pm
Great post. I often feel that I need a vacation after a vacation, just to catch up and I know a lot of people are like that.
November 21, 2010 @ 8:39 am
Yup, this is common. Especially when you only have 2 weeks a year, it somehow makes sense to cram in as much stuff as possible. Making you happy to be away, but still exhausted. There is a post on Vacation Juice that I wrote a few weeks ago about the aftermath of that kind of vacation.
November 17, 2010 @ 3:00 am
Lovely post – so many of your thoughts really resonate with me. I know exactly what you mean about needing to be home… I agree that being an expat is the perfect way to get to experience both home and travel all wrapped up together.
November 17, 2010 @ 7:18 pm
I’m glad you enjoyed it. It took me nearly 30 years, but I finally realize that I belong where I don’t belong. And that is the way I like it.