The Comfort of Coming Home
It’s the comfort of coming home that makes going away so much more meaningful
Yesterday, my fiancé and I returned home from a week-long camping trip in Maine.
We spontaneously planned this trip at the end of May, realizing that we needed some sort of vacation that didn’t require flying and was somewhat low maintenance and inexpensive.
We had been to Maine two years ago when we camped at Acadia National Park and loved it so much that we figured that it would be great to go back. Only this time, we stayed at a different campground just to change it up.
Now, you’d think that after being cooped up in the same place for nearly five months, with very limited contact with other people, we couldn’t be more excited to get out and get a change of scenery for a little while — and you’re exactly right.
We were ecstatic.
Since we’ve been home so much because of COVID-19, we were constantly connected to our electronic devices.
We were always checking our phones, going on our laptops, and watching more television than we could ever imagine.
A break from all of that was exactly what we needed and that break couldn’t have come soon enough. So the days leading up to our trip, we were just itching to leave.
It was a nine-hour drive from our apartment in Queens to our first campground in Baxter State Park in the northern part of Maine.
We left before the crack of dawn last Saturday and arrived to our campsite around 4pm, so we still had a few hours of sunlight left.
As we were getting into the park, we had already lost cell service. We were literally in the middle of the woods, so it was just going to be us and nature for the next few days.
And for those few days, I had almost forgotten where I came from, what I did for a living, and any obligations that I had back home.
By the fourth day, we left for a different campground, two hours south of the first campground we were staying, and our cell service had returned once we got to the second campground.
And when it did, I was overwhelmed with all of the reminders from my life back in the city.
Both my personal e-mail and work e-mail had quickly flooded with hundreds upon hundreds of unread e-mails filling my inbox.
Text messages flooded in, one quick ping after the next.
I hardly bothered looking at them because I knew that if I did, I’d get sucked back into the vortex of reality all too soon.
But, the temptation got the best of me.
I handpicked a few, read them, and responded swiftly to let people know that I was doing okay.
I then returned to vacation mindset until the remainder of the trip.
Every time I go away on a planned trip or vacation, I have the peace of mind knowing that people were aware that I was taking a break from the world. From my world.
That I needed space.
So, for the most part, they let me be. And it was always such a sigh of relief to know that my personal space was being respected — even more so now that giving people literal, physical space is the norm.
But, I always knew that eventually, I’d return and slip right back into regular life and settle back down as if I had never even left.
And it was always so fascinating to me how quickly I was able to snap back like a rubber band taking its original form after being stretched. And every time I snap back, I always wonder, “What if I didn’t snap back?”
What if I didn’t return?
What if my vacation life was my regular life?
I wonder how well I’d adapt. I wonder if I would forget about the normalcy of life back home and how quickly that would happen.
Then, I suddenly realize that the thing that I love most about going away is the act of coming home.
It’s the comfort of coming home that makes going away so much more meaningful.
It’s having the privilege of being able to take a break whenever I see fit. I realize that this a luxury that many people don’t get to have.
As meaningful as the trips themselves are, it’s the act of coming home that makes every journey worth traveling (even in the middle of a pandemic).