“Travelling – it gives you a home in a thousand strange places, then leaves you a stranger in your own land.” – Anonymous
When I read that on the way home from a truly awesome month long journey around the United States, I got chills from realizing how much this one quote described my exact situation. After a month on the road, coming back to Maryland didn’t feel like the homecoming I had expected. At no point after the first day or so did I experience any kind of homesickness that would make me want to go back by choice. Maybe it was because I knew in my soul that my new home was the road, and leaving it would be what would bring that feeling of homesickness crawling back.
After meeting so many amazing people all over the States, many of whom generously let me stay with them several nights of the trip, I found I had not just one home, but many. Not only that, but I found that home is wherever you want it to be. Home is where you are happiest.
So what happens when you leave that home behind for another that doesn’t exactly feel like home? It feels like a homesickness for something other than what we would consider home. Maybe it’s this realization that home is where we are happiest, and maybe that means you might not be happiest in what you consider your physical home. And that’s a slightly jarring, possibly life-changing thought.
To be fair, there are those who feel relieved to be home after a long trip. Many more of us feel that relief after a long day at work. Then it comes down to finding the happiest place for you, so that you have it to come back to.
The bottom line is this: sometimes we need some recovery from our recovery. The best ways that I’ve found to do this are taking a day to literally recover and accept where you are physically and mentally, unpack and get back into a normal routine as soon as you can, and express gratitude for the experience you had and what you learned from it.
For example, some of the things I learned on my month trip:
- People are generally nicer and more caring than we give them credit for.
- What you think you need is much different from what you actually need.
- Learn to trust yourself; there will be times when you are the only person you have to rely on.
- Fear has no place in living an awesome life.
- You can choose to be happy – or not.
- There really are endless possibilities. The only limit is how far you’re willing to go.
Just reading through this short list makes me feel immensely grateful for the experience, and also reminds me that it’s not gone forever. I will have these lessons and experiences to lean back on for the rest of this lifetime, and I can always create more experiences and new adventures as I go. The important thing to remember is this: Happiness isn’t a place, it’s part of your being. You can choose to stimulate it or you can choose to ignore it. Either way, do what makes you happy and you’ll never have to worry about having a dull life.
What makes you happy? Have you had any positive life changing experiences that you want to revisit, or any travels of your own you’d like to plan?