Lessons from coming home...

lessons for clara

Dearest Clara, Coming home from a trip is always a bittersweet moment, a mixture of relief that you made it safely with a touch of sadness for an adventure completed.  I’ve never been good at all of the activities that are supposed to take place after a trip: the laundry, the photos, the getting back into the swing of things at work.  I alternate instead between reliving the memories of where we’ve just come from, and dreaming away into planning the next adventure, the next trip.

Nonetheless, I still love the familiarity of home, wherever it is for us at the moment---here is what I always do when I arrive at ours:

  • Tell people you are coming home a day later . . . or even two: The minute people know you’ve walked in the door, the world will start turning just as fast as it was before you left.  Tell others you’ll be home just a little later, and enjoy the quiet time that comes with no one knowing you are there.  Use the time for whatever you need for yourself.
  • Don’t go back to work on a Monday: A boss of mine told me this years ago and I’ve stuck to it ever since.  There is something overwhelming about coming in first thing Monday morning with a list of things to do and a line of people to see you a mile long.  Come in on a Tuesday;  the week can start without you just fine.
  • Drink lots of water: Whether you came home by plane, train, or automobile, I guarantee you didn’t drink enough water on the trip.  Drink lots, more than you think you need.  It will make you feel better and help ward off any unwanted souvenirs.
  • Unpack on the first day you are back: Unpack at least a little . . . if only to throw your dirty laundry in the hamper (that alone should be the bulk of your suitcase anyway).  If you don’t start unpacking the first day, you can bet that your suitcase will stand there for at least a month before you touch it.
  • Write it down: You think you’ll remember everything from your travels, and you think your photographs will be enough, but it is amazing how quickly the details start evaporating the minute you walk in your front door.  If it was important to you and you want to remember it, write it down, even if it is just a quick list in a notebook.
  • Have a “coming-home” routine: Order dinner from the same place, take a taxi from the same stand, spend the first evening taking a bath or reading a magazine . . . whatever makes you feel relaxed and comfortable.  Since our home changes so often, we can’t always rely on the structure itself to make us feel like we are “back”.  Rather, the routines that we have developed over time have become our sense of home, our sense of arriving back where we belong.

I know you will travel far and wide over the coming years, and on your own---probably much further than I will ever go.  Enjoy every adventure that comes your way---but don’t forget that being at home sometimes can be just as beautiful.

All my love,