They don’t say “There’s no place like home” for no reason. Even for passionate travelers like me — when I’m traveling I nearly always wish I could extend the trip indefinitely, even when I’ve been on the road for months — there are some definite perks to being home again. For those travelers who are reluctant to stop, these reminders might make you feel better about the inevitable end of your journey.
#1: Eating Real Food Again
I don’t eat too badly on the road, but there are some meals you simply can’t throw together in a hostel kitchen and there’s definitely a limit to how many times in a row you can eat out and still enjoy it. While I’m traveling I tend to let my healthy side go a little bit and permit myself a few extra chocolate bars or the special cake or pastry of the region, but ironically when I’m nearing the end of the trip there’s just one thing I’m usually craving: a big bowl of homemade, stir-fried vegetables.
Being home also means simple things like making sure you have access to enough water to drink becomes easier again. Even in countries with perfectly safe drinking water, it’s not that easy to always have water at the ready, because you probably have to carry it with you. At home and even (the dreaded) back at work, you can always find something to drink — a simple pleasure.
#2: Sleeping in Your Own Bed
Crawling into a bed freshly made with clean sheets that no strangers have ever slept on, and fitting in to that dent in the mattress made just for me — that’s heavenly.
I’ve heard rumors that some extremely comfortable beds exist in luxury hotels, but I’ve never had the budget to test that theory. The places I sleep while I’m traveling range from you’d-rather-sleep-on-nails beds (especially in some hostels, but also while camping if the air mattress deflates) to better-than-nothing simple comfort.
Coming home after some time away, crawling into a bed freshly made with clean sheets that no strangers have ever slept on, and fitting in to that dent in the mattress made just for me — that’s heavenly.
#3: A Hot Shower and Clean Clothes
At home, you’re much more in control. There aren’t a hundred other hostel guests who might use all the hot water before you get to the shower. The shower cubicle at home is clean, or if it’s not, you’ve only got yourself to blame, plus it’s your dirt, not the dirt of strangers.
And then you get out of your nice hot shower and put on fresh clothes. Not the same jeans that you have been traveling in for a month, or the practical but unattractive jacket that’s been keeping you warm on your trip. At home, you can delve into your entire wardrobe to choose your clothes, not just rummage around in your backpack and put on a shirt that’s almost clean because you’ve only worn it once or twice.
#4: A Chance to Reflect
When you’re traveling, you’re constantly being exposed to new experiences, sights and sounds, and no sooner do you get used to one new thing than another comes along. It’s difficult while you’re still traveling to actually sit down and appreciate what you’re seeing.
The real reflection, for me in any case, comes when I arrive back home. Particularly in the first few days after I return from a trip, when people around me are asking me about my experiences and I’m downloading my photos and unpacking my bags, I’m reminded of some of the most memorable experiences of my trip and I can think about them in more depth. That’s one of the great parts of travel for me — learning about new aspects of culture and other countries and then considering the differences between them and my own culture. Or simply reminiscing about a favorite adventure as a fond memory. All of this works much better when you’re at home in familiar surroundings, rather than someplace that’s giving you even more new impressions.
#5: Time to Plan the Next Trip
I’m not sure if it’s a universal experience or just a bad habit of mine, but being on the road tends to inspire new travel ideas in me. Perhaps a fellow traveler tells me a tale of a place I’ve never been but sounds so fascinating I have to put it on my to-do list, or something even quirkier like eating at a Cambodian restaurant in Amsterdam inspires me to visit Cambodia itself.
In any case, being back home is the best time to start reading, dreaming and planning for the next trip. Rather than get the post-trip blues, just dive right back into immersing yourself in guide books and travel stories, and planning the next adventure. It doesn’t matter if it’s a year away or even ten, because there’s always more to learn about a destination and its culture.
Maybe Ending a Trip Isn’t So Bad
I’m the kind of person who would travel full time if finances and life in general allowed, but at least making this list has made me appreciate some of the comforts I’m so lucky to have at home.
Have you got other home comforts and staying-in surprises that you enjoy when you return from a trip? Let us know in the comments!