Welcome Home! What's the First Thing You Do?
On my last trip to Bulgaria, I awoke at 3:00 AM after a very short, very fitful sleep to meet up with a driver to bring me from Plovdiv to Sofia for an early flight to Paris, where I spent a blissful day walking and eating and walking some more. Scooting back to the airport, I caught my flight to Montreal and from there I just made it onto the train to Ottawa. Pulling into the train station, I dragged my luggage to my parked car to retrieve my parking stub, headed back inside to pay my balance, and drove home. It was SUCH a long, full, incredible, exhausting day. When I arrived home, I was greeted by an equally joyous yet exhausted doggo. Oliver himself had recently been on an adventure -to the doggy hotel as Ryan too was away that week - and a friend had kindly picked up him before closing time and dropped him off at my house so I could reunite with him without delay. With a quick walk (for Oliver) and a bite or two of macaroon (for me!), it was time for bed.
What followed was the BEST SLEEP IN THE WORLD! For both of us, actually, as Oliver was blissfully flaunting all the rules and sleeping in the bed next to me. There are no words to describe that moment before you drift away in what you know will be the perfect, jet lag busting sleep, your final day of busy chaotic travel behind you and your body swathed in soft, fuzzy, sweet scented pajamas. Sure, Bulgaria and Paris were wonderful. But reuniting with my own bed and my beloved fur boy was SUBLIME!
As much as I love to travel, I'm always anxious for the last 24 hours of a trip to pass so I can return home. As luck would have it, some of my most aggravating delays have corresponded with my final flight home, putting my fuzzy pajamas tantalizingly out of reach. Not every travel day goes as smoothly as my return from Bulgaria did. So frustrating! There's nothing so nice as sleeping in your own bed, on your own sheets, wearing your favourite pj's - you know, the impractical fluffy flannel purple polka dot ones that you never take on the road. Throw in a long, hot bath, some homemade food, a cuddly pet or two, and you have a one outstanding homecoming!
I'm not the only one who feels this way. Everyone I know who is passionate about travel is also passionate about returning home, connecting with the people and things they love as they re-calibrate from their latest adventure and adjust to 'normal life'
Find out what other travel bloggers think is the best part of coming home!
Eat! The best thing to come home to is familiar food.
First meal we have when we get home from any trip is a bowl of congee. It's the best part of coming home! It may seem odd but even when we travelled to Hong Kong where all we ate was Chinese food, upon our return our first meal was at our local congee restaurant. Congee is comfort food - warm, flavourful rice porridge and it reminds me of family and home.
More Eating... With A Side of Laziness!
Often times, coming home from a trip is the very last thing that I want to do. Before even making it home, I set it up in my mind that I still have a mental day away. Meaning, I let everyone think that I will be back home a day (or so) later than I actually arrive. It is like my presence is sensed and the calls don’t stop!
After setting my mind up for its extended vacation, I always come home and have a Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich with cheese and no tomato. Every time! Who isn’t hungry when they get home. I know it is probably a terrible habit but it my favorite fast-food restaurant. That sandwich is JUST SO GOOD! After eating that sandwich on the way home—I get in the bed, and then commence with my mental vacation. The mental vacation consists of an entire day of tea, laziness, sleep, television, and an in-bed cocktail to top off my laziness. Nothing remotely productive.
Eating Some More... With A Side of Patriotism!
What I miss most when I travel is food. In fact, I become a little bit obsessed with it. Being French Canadian means that I often fixate on poutine, to the point of losing sleep. But the real thing that I miss the most when travelling abroad is good old Tim Hortons. It's the best thing to come home to! In fact, when returning from a year abroad, I instructed my mum to be waiting at the gates with a ham and swiss sandwich, already unwrapped so that the first thing I could do upon arriving was take a bite out of it. Sure enough, I walked out of the arrivals gate to see her waving a sandwich around!
Cleaning! No, really....
The Living Room Laundry Unpack!
It doesn’t matter if I travel for a weekend or a month, when I get home from a vacation the first thing I do is open my luggage in the middle of the living room floor. Since I’m pretty anal and pack everything in packing cubes, I open them systematically one at a time and create the laundry piles. Whites, darks and delicates get their own pile of clothes and go straight downstairs into the laundry room. Then I move my toiletries to the stairwell, the travel only accessories to the travel closet and the souvenirs on the dining room table. I shut the empty suitcases and ship them to the basement and I’m done!
Settling In - Maybe With A Drink!
In the past, when we actually had a home and got back from a trip, the first thing I would do is unpack the bags and start doing laundry. Mostly because I was paranoid of bringing back unwanted insects! For Tim it would be having a shower and making a snack since as a rule we’re not big on plane food.
Now that we don’t have a home in the regular sense, home is wherever we’re housesitting. If we're in one place for weeks or months, that's home. Keeping in mind that we usually arrive at destination in the afternoon or evening, typically we’ll have a drink.
Nat (and Tim!)
Visiting Your Happy Places
Returns can be bittersweet - when a good trip comes to an end, I can’t help by wonder if I’ll ever be back. Plus, air travel allows us to wake up in one place on the planet and go to sleep thousands of miles away. There isn’t much transition time - you hop on and off a plane, arrive home and… that’s it. My post-trip routine is aimed at dealing with the bizarre I-was-just-there feeling.
While letting the trip sink in - by unpacking, going through photos, eating whatever food items I may have brought back - I also get re-used to being home. And that means going to my ‘happy places’ around town: coffee shops, a jazz club, favorite beach.
The best part about being back? Getting a good night sleep in my own bed. After all, "No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow." (Lin Yutang)
Jetting Around: Facebook
What about you? What's the first thing you do when you return home?
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