It may be that the satisfaction I need depends on my going away, so that when I've gone and come back, I'll find it at home. -Rumi
I’ve spent the last 10 days traveling in Spain and France. I’m writing this blog post on my long flight from Amsterdam to Seattle. By the time you read this, I will be home.
The past several years I have found myself traveling solo more often than not. When a lot of people travel alone, they do so beautifully, smoothly, and easily. I’m not always that person. At times, my solo journey is a struggle. Not in some big dramatic way, but everything is just a little harder when traveling alone - juggling the luggage, navigating the map, translating the language. The thing is, I love travel so much that even if I don’t have my preferred situation - a travel partner - I go anyway. The little struggles are worth the transformation that solo travel can bring.
When I travel solo - whether that travel lasts two weeks or two months - I often find myself yearning to go home by the end. It’s a palpable homesickness for familiarity, whether that be my friends and family or my own bed. I used to feel like there was some shame in wanting to go home at the end of a trip. As if there was a weakness in me because I was feeling lonely or wanting to fall back into my normal, every day life for awhile.
But then today, someone reminded me that that is part of the reason why I travel - why we all travel, whether we recognize it or not. We don’t just travel to seek what is new out in the world. We also travel specifically for the opportunity to return to what is familiar. How else would I ever fully appreciate what I have at home if I didn't leave for awhile and then return?
So when I land in Seattle today, I will begin savoring the last few days of the Pacific Northwest summer. I will meet friends for dinner this week. I will sleep well in my bed tonight with my own pillow. I will fall back into a routine. And I will appreciate it all just a little more than I did two weeks ago because I left to travel. But then I came home.