I woke up this morning at home, wished the construction guys across the street would keep it down, made my coffee, stood in the back yard for a minute taking in the fresh air, then thought about what I need to do today.
First up? Unpack.
And that’s when I remembered I just went on a long trip — over 3,000 miles of driving and about 15 nights of camping in the last three weeks. I had actually forgotten!
Funny how Home Brain takes over so quickly and naturally from Trip Brain. Did I even go on a trip?
There’s a pile of gear in the corner that needs to be dealt with: washed, put away, thrown out, replaced, whatever. Somewhere, there’s a “to-do” list that tells me what needs what. The odometer on the car says 3,000 and something. My Facebook feed is filled with comments like “great pictures” and “looks like a fun trip!” So yeah, I suppose I went on a trip. But it already seems a long way off.
I think we have files in our head where things go, and this last trip has now been filed away. And for me, that raises a question: What was the point? If I’m just going to file it away and go on with life, then why did I go in the first place?
That’s not to question the value of travel, just to bring up the idea again and ask why I go through it. Is it just to collect experiences? Sure. Learn something? I would like to think so. Brag-post on Facebook? Ugh, maybe.
One part of it is definitely that when I’m traveling, I don’t have moments like I did this morning, where I forget what I was doing yesterday, how long I’ve been here, and what I need to do today. On the road, every day is something new and interesting; every day brings a story worth telling. And for me, anyway, the story is usually the point.
But the biggest thing, I think, is to drag myself out of my comfort zone and test myself. Sometimes, for better or worse, that comes off as a “pass/fail” kind of test, which can be a slippery slope (I seem to “fail” a lot).
But the better times are when I stress myself a little, like running your car hard to see how the engine does, then settling down and taking stock. In my case, I travel to remember that simply being on the road brings me joy and inspiration. It reminds me that collecting and telling stories is why I’m here. And, on this last trip, it reminded me that staying true to who I am, and staying connected with people with whom I share an appreciation for life and each other, is what brings me joy and connection. Also, that dealing with “life on life’s terms” instead of attaching to fantasy or getting lost in despair keeps me centered and fairly sane.
So I think I’ll thank the travel gods for another outing, then connect with some of my home friends; I have some new stories to tell, anyway!
But first, unpack. And more coffee.
It’s good to be home.