Coming Home

I just returned from a wonderful family trip to Napa Valley to celebrate my daughter’s 30th birthday.  It was one of those rare trips where everything goes right:  the flights were hassle-free, our hotel rooms were clean and comfortable, and each winery we visited was nicer than the last.  More importantly, we had a terrific time hanging out with our son and daughter, as well as our son-in-law and our future daughter-in-law.  It was so nice to take a break from the hectic routine of our daily lives and to spend some quality time together.  It was even better to realize that, even though our “kids” are now adults, we are still close, and that the people they have chosen to spend their lives with not only fit in beautifully with our family unit, but they actually enrich it.

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On a scale of one to ten, I would have to give this family vacation a solid 9.5, and that’s only because the location of this particular trip meant that we had to spend a certain amount of time driving on elevated highways and bridges, which my  husband doesn’t handle well.  I’m proud to report that he rose to the occasion and soldiered on,  just getting buggy-eyed, gripping the steering wheel so tightly that his knuckles turned white, and doing the kind of breathing I remembered all too well from when I was enduring the contractions of childbirth.  Usually, he swears fluently, closes his eyes, and threatens to kill any of us who don’t maintain absolute silence until we are safely off the bridge.

Still, even after such a lovely trip in the company of the people I love most in the world, I have to admit that I was very happy to come back home.  When I was younger, I only felt that happiness at returning to my own house when I had been on a particularly difficult or challenging trip, such as one of our ill-fated attempts at camping (don’t let anyone tell you that tents are waterproof, because they’re not) or a business trip that was especially boring.  But lately, I have noticed that I feel a quiet joy at walking in my own front door no matter what trip I have gone on, or how much fun I have had on my travels.

And I think that’s probably a good thing.  Being glad to be home means that I have, somehow, managed to create a living space that gives me a sense of security and belonging, which is what a home should be.  I like sleeping in my own bed, with a mattress that has just the right degree of softness and the knowledge that some stranger has slept in it the night before.  I like being surrounded by a decor that I have chosen, with the help of my husband, to reflect our personal taste and that comfortably holds our most prized possessions.  I like knowing my neighbors, having my dog roaming freely about, and puttering around my yard, tending to the few hardy flowers that manage to survive my gardening skills.

Being glad to come home doesn’t mean that I have lost my taste for travel or for experiencing new things.  I hope I never lose the desire to go somewhere I have never been before and to experience different cultures, different climates and different environments.  It just means that after a certain amount of time, I begin to long for my own house, in my own neighborhood, in my own town.  Because no matter where I go and no matter how much I enjoy my trips, one of the best parts of traveling is always coming home when it’s over.

35 thoughts on “Coming Home

  1. That was an interesting point you made towards the end, Ann, about how being glad to arrive home again means we have created a comfortable space for ourselves. I’d never thought about it that way before, but there’s clearly a great deal of truth in it.

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  2. One’s home is a sanctuary, I couldn’t agree more, Ann, and that’s something we all need – pity the homeless, as I’m sure everyone here does.

    Your lovely article took me back to the seventies and eighties, when I would visit the Napa region each January, being away from my home here in England on business. I seem to recall a place called Calistoga, which was famed for its mud baths, and which I once tried. Once was enough. The great pleasure of such visits was learning all about wine production though, and how the so-called ‘New World’ produced theirs.

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    • I agree, being without a home is one of the hardest things I can imagine! And thank you for your kind words! We stopped at a winery just south of Calistoga, but didn’t actually make it to that town. I’m impressed that you tried the mud baths, though! I’m not sure I would have had the nerve! Thanks for the comment.

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  3. There’s truly no place like home. Traveling is wonderful, but I truly love where I love, too. Glad you had a lovely time with your family. A hot air balloon ride over Napa Valley one day is on my bucket list.

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    • Thank you! Trust me, there are plenty of parts of my life that aren’t beautiful, but I don’t write about them as much. I want to keep this blog positive and encouraging. So I’m glad to know that’s what’s coming across!

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  4. Sounds like you enjoyed a wonderful holiday together. I always feel the same way when I travel. As much as I live the experience of visiting far away places, there is something magical about retuning home to a place you love!

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  5. You’re right, There is no place like home. I’ve always enjoyed coming home from a trip but as I’ve become a little older it seems I appreciate it even more. There is a certain comfort in walking through that door and feeling your home hug you and welcome you back. It’s all your stuff, your places and as you said, your bed which knows you so well.
    Dorothy got it right all those years ago..:)

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  6. So true Ann. As much I love travel I have to agree with you that nothing beats the feeling of coming home and sleeping in your own bed. How lucky we are. Wonderful post that I can all too well relate to.

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  7. It’s so wonderful that your growing family melds nicely. It means you raised your kids to be wonderful human beings capable of attracting love and positivity.

    I have this quirky thing I do… I’m a clean freak, so when I go to a hotel, the first thing I do is strip the sheets. I bring my own sheets and refuse housekeeping until it’s time to check out.

    I laughed so hard at the thought of your husband swearing to to kill anyone who speaks before crossing the bridge. Hilarious! 😂
    He’s quite a trooper indeed!

    I agree with your interpretation of your longing for being home. A person dislikes returning to a place if there is negative energy there.

    I left home at age 19 and never returned because the very thought brings back many unpleasant memories. My exit was in fact an escape, and no one willingly returns to visit a place they were once help captive. Therefore, returning home for you means you have comfort, safety and love where you are and that’s something we all crave. That, my friend, is a wonderful blessing to be cherished.

    I am truly happy for you and dare I say a little bit jealous but in a good way. I want to create such an atmosphere for myself and my munchkin so we both feel safe and loved like we deserve to be.

    Always enjoy stopping by, have a lovely day. ☺

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    • Thank you! And you know, when I stay in a hotel, I take my Lysol wipes and wipe down almost all the surfaces, especially in the bathrooms, the remote, and the door-handles. I also bring my own pillow cases, but not sheets. So trust me, I get the “clean freak” stuff!
      The home I had growing up was not always a happy and stable place either, which is why I think I work so hard to create a real “home” for me and my family now. It’s an important thing to have, and worth working toward. My guess is you are doing a great job creating that for you and your munchkin, too!
      Thanks for much for stopping by and the comment!

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