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I’m preparing for the trip of a lifetime.

I should be ecstatic, but I’m not.

My relationship with traveling has always been complicated. Seeing the world ranks right up in the top two things I want to do during my time on Earth. (Getting traditionally published is number one, but I have less control over that.)

I haven’t done as much traveling as I would like. After an epic journey to Africa in 2001, I didn’t go anywhere of note for nine years.

Lately I’ve felt this pressure, like I’m running out of time. If the opportunity to go somewhere new arises, I jump at it.

But instead of getting excited, as I hear “normal” people do, I start to wish time would stop. It’s too soon! I’m not ready! I need more time.

More time for what? To throw some clothes in a backpack and print some vouchers? I’m not sure.

Sometimes, I will actually cry as it comes time to leave my boyfriend, my babies, and my home. And when I’m on the trip, no matter how much fun I’m having or how busy I am, I will be keenly homesick and counting the days until I can be reunited with them.

Until the last two days of the trip, when I will realize how fast it’s gone, and that I’ll soon be back in my cold city of never-ending winter, with a pile of assignments due, not to mention house cleaning. Once again, I’ll wish I could stop time and have just one more day on the beach, or in this case, on the Great Wall.

It’s bizarre, and I don’t understand it. I’ve never comprehended how something I want so badly can make me feel fulfilled and miserable at the same time.

I seem to be an odd combination of adventurer and homebody. It’s not an easy compromise.

Just like some people want to get rich and famous without having to lift a finger, I want to see the world without the sadness of missing those I’ve left behind.

But that will never happen, so I try to be grateful that I have a home worth returning to. Some people dread coming home to their job or a nagging spouse. I’m always thrilled to come home.

Maybe, in a strange way, that’s a good thing.

How do you feel before a big trip? Are you ever conflicted, or is it just me?

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12 Comments

  1. Ev

    This is _totally_ how I feel. Wow. You will have a wonderful time. And you will miss home. And home will be cozily waiting for you! 🙂

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Thanks, Ev. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one. Thanks for the kind words, and for commenting. I hope you’re right! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Chris

    Only one answer: houseboat!

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      I’ve got another word for you: seasick. 😉

      Reply
  3. VR Barkowski

    While traveling, which I used to do frequently when I was gainfully employed (read: not a writer), I never missed home per se. Possibly because I’ve moved so often throughout my life. While I missed my S.O., I could talk to him on the phone. It was really my fur-babies that cracked my heart wide, I think because I couldn’t explain why I wasn’t there to spoil them. I was sure they thought I’d abandoned them, and yes, there were plenty of tears.

    VR Barkowski

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      I’m glad I’m not the only one, V.R. Thanks for your comment–it makes me feel less alone. I have three cats, and one I am particularly attached to. She needs a lot of love, and I really miss her when I’m not around. She gets quite hurt when I leave and sometimes snubs me for a bit when I return.

      I really appreciate your comment.

      Reply
  4. Stephanie Faris

    I feel the same way! I don’t think we’re alone, either–I see a lot of comments on this across the blogosphere. I think it’s about routine and comfort. We’re comfortable in our routine but travel is the unknown. It’s one thing to imagine and dream about a trip, but another to jump out there and do it! As kids we loved vacations because our parents were there and it was safe…but as adults, we don’t have that safety. But then once it’s over, we look back and miss it!

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Ain’t that the truth. I didn’t get many exciting vacations when I was a kid, though. We mostly went camping or to my grandmother’s farm, but I still had a lot of fun.

      Thanks for your comment, Stephanie. Have a great month!

      Reply
  5. Lisa

    Not me…I get that giddy excited feeling before a trip. I tend to pack the night before and to heck with anything I forgot…I can usually do without (unless it’s a passport, toothbrush or book to read)
    If I didn’t have so many deep roots here I would be travelling way more…
    Coming home is tougher the more exciting the vacation is…Like the one I just returned from…Work seems so dull right now…:0|

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Lucky girl! I’m hoping the experience I had on this last trip will make the anticipation about traveling again a little sweeter, but I expect there will always be some fear of the unknown involved. I certainly don’t pick easy trips.

      Reply
  6. Crystal

    I feel anxious about getting to my destination (I despise turbulence). Once I’m there, then I’m able to relax.

    I do miss the comforts of home though, especially with the chaos that can come with moving from hotel to hotel. It can leave me feeling unsettled and longing for my own bed!

    I love what you wrote about having a home worth returning to. It’s certainly something to be grateful for!

    Reply
    • Holli Moncrieff

      Ah, and I love turbulence! It’s like a roller coaster in the sky. I think I’m finally getting used to epically long flights, too.

      I hope you had an awesome trip. I think traveling helps us appreciate what we have at home, including silly little things we often take for granted, like ice-cold drinks.

      Reply

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