The last hour of our drive back to Austin yesterday, I remembered how much I love this city and calling it home. Driving back in I started to feel the excited anticipation to see our home again. It’s the same feeling I would get as a kid coming home from a long trip.

In every vacation I’ve ever been on, I experience this sort of parabolic curve of feelings about home. I start out detesting regular life early in the trip. I say things out loud and to myself like:

  • Gosh, I wish I could just move here.
  • Why can’t normal life feel this way all the time?
  • I wish things were as beautiful back home as they are here.
  • I could totally see myself living here.
  • Why don’t we just stay?

This usually lasts somewhere between mid to late in the vacation. Then, I start faintly missing home like a muted whisper coming from another room.

The more time I spend away, the more that whisper grows into a calling. I never detest the place I’m vacationing in or around, but it does slowly lose the glimmer and sheen. I begin to realize that daily life happens everywhere. It might look different in the current place I am in, but similar challenges exist there too.

At the end of the trip, there is this strange juxtaposition of emotions. At once I get excited about the prospect of getting back to my life, while simultaneously feeling melancholy about leaving the place I’m in. On the trip home, the excited anticipation comes in and I get ready to get back to life with a renewed energy and purpose.

IF you want to read some more tips on transitioning between vacation and real life, this is a great article to read.

Coming back to a clean home

This is not a new concept to me, but it is one that in my adult life I have not practiced before living with my girlfriend. She insisted that we clean up before we leave, and I am thrilled that she did.

Having our house clean, the bed made, and things put away allowed me to retain that much more clarity and mental space getting away had gotten me. And, honestly, it took an hour to clean before we left at most. Additionally, unpacking was far less stressful in a clean environment.

Now, we can peacefully enjoy the day between travel and work that we scheduled for ourselves. There’s nothing like being able to take a full day between traveling and work to just do whatever you want in your own space.

Home can be more than one place

There are several places that I think that I call home. Or at least, that my brain associates with the familiarity and comfort of a “home”. Until my girlfriend and I moved in together, I didn’t really feel like my house was a “home”. Then again, I never put any effort into investing emotional or mental energy into the space. That has since changed a great deal.

At various times, I feel the same anticipatory excitement when returning to my childhood home, my dad’s ranch, seeing a loved one or close friend, and areas that I have previously visited. My brain has associated some form of healing, comfort, and refuge in all these places and people. It’s vital that I remember to revisit them. There’s no replacement for the places, people, and things that give you that recharge. If I don’t, I start to feel like a mad man charging through life on a steed of anxiety, swinging an axe of scattered manic energy.

That being said, having a set location as my home is also incredibly important to me. And, I’m starting to truly learn how important it is to treat my home like a sanctuary too.