Earlier today, the dog rolled in poo. I don’t know whether it was hers, or whether it was from one of the neighborhood cats that use our garden as a litter box. So we had to give her a bath unexpectedly, and then spend some time cleaning the bathroom. She shook off, leaving puddles and soapy spray all over the place, as she always does.
Just before that, the cat knocked a plant in a glazed ceramic pot off the counter, shattering and sending clay shards and dirt all over the kitchen. I cleaned that up, too.
We’ve cooked at home for every meal since we’ve been back (more cleaning), and the laundry has piled up faster than I remember. [Related note: I’m contemplating throwing away any clothing we can’t fit in our little backpacks–if we didn’t need it for a month abroad, we probably don’t need it now that we’re home].
In the last week, we have also had to get back to work, attend a family funeral in Los Angeles, and resume other social and volunteer obligations. I thought we were too busy to blog while we were traveling, but I forgot what being home was like.
Notwithstanding these mundane annoyances, coming home was the one of the best parts of our trip! How can this be, when I spend so much time dreaming, plotting and planning our far-flung adventures? Not to mention, I just started a travel blog because of my fascination with all things nomadic.
Traveling independently on a budget, particularly in the developing world is difficult! It can be uncomfortable, dirty, and depressing, physically and mentally exhausting. Our last week in Peru was particularly challenging, and Kevin and I talked repeatedly about how much we looked forward to being home. Most of all, we missed our dog, Posey!
Normally I love these challenges—the problem solving and negotiations we do constantly to get through the day. And I love seeing difficult things that provide insight into other peoples and cultures. But all this wears on me immensely, and I remain, I admit, a bit of a homebody. I love to see new places, people and environments, but I also love being in my own familiar place, with familiar people and familiar environments.
I was embarrassed at first for feeling homesick. We weren’t traveling for nearly as long as many people we’ve met, so I thought maybe we are just not good travelers. I admire those with the ability to live constantly on the move, continuously adapting and able to withstand whatever life throws at them. But the more I think about it, I have decided that it’s okay not to get too comfortable with the inconveniences and annoyances of travel. These are things that remind me not to take for granted the enormous privilege I enjoy by having the means to be able to travel. Further, these are the things that make me appreciate home all the more.
I got an email a few days ago from a friend we met while hiking in Chile. She and her husband have been traveling around the world for more than two years, he works remotely as web developer. She told me about their difficulties finding a stable internet connection in Potosi, Bolivia, so that they could make a Skype call to a client in New York. When they finally found a working internet café, she had to convince with the owner to keep the shop open later in case the call ran over–one of those frustrating little negotiations I mentioned above. She ended the story with a summary that just about sums up how I feel: “Ah, travel–never easy, never boring”.
So alas, even though I’m probably not cut out for long-term travel, I intend to take off whenever I can, going out of my way to do things that aren’t easy. And then the best part is… I’ll come home.