Recently my husband and I returned from a 15 day cruise on the Danube and Rhine rivers. It was a wonderful, highly-anticipated trip that was filled with many wonderful sights and experiences. Travelling to new places has always been a highlight for me and I jump at the opportunity to do so, any chance I get. But as much as I love travelling, I must admit that the best part of a vacation for me is returning back home.
I’m not sure if I can explain why this is so. Most of us dream of getting away from home and the mundane routine of our everyday lives. We often muse about visiting a warmer, more exciting, more exotic locale, but few of us will admit how thrilled we are to return back home. In some ways it’s like coming back to an old, trusted friend.
Carl Burns said, “A child on a farm sees a plane fly overhead and dreams of a faraway place. A traveler on the plane sees the farmhouse…and thinks of home.”
I couldn’t agree with him more. As a child, I often watched planes pass over our small community and I wondered where they might be headed and who might be on board. I promised myself that someday I, too, would be one of the lucky people on a flight off to see the world. As a teenager, I often envisioned myself living in some exotic location where life would be idyllic. But it was not until I was well into adulthood that I had the opportunity to visit other parts of the world.
By this time, I had put down roots, so the idea of just picking up and moving to some foreign destination was no longer a simple matter. Instead, I would have to settle for brief vacations to the places in my dreams. With great anticipation, I planned and eagerly awaited these jaunts to new lands, but what I wasn’t expecting was the even greater anticipation I would feel upon returning home.
There’s something about walking into your home after being away for a while that is so comforting. It seems that we see everything with new eyes and have a newfound appreciation for our abode no matter what it might be – a modern apartment, a cabin by the lake, an old farmhouse or a mansion on the hill.
Terry Pratchett in his A Hat Full of Sky penned, “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you come from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
I will always have a longing to travel and hope to continue to do so for a long time, but every time I leave I will be eagerly anticipating my return. And while it might be true that home is where the heart is, for many of us the heart is at home.