I Don’t Want to go Home. Ever.
We’re heading home today and I’m not ready to go. Of course, anyone (everyone?) says that vacation is more fun than non-vacation, but I think either I have a worse case of it, I’m truly a vagabond, or I just like “change” more than most. Do I dislike home so much? Are my vacations that wonderful? Maybe a bit of both?
But for me, it’s not just vacation. It’s the lure of a different way of life. Not forever, in fact, it doesn’t need to be that long at all. I just like seeing how others live elsewhere in the world. I like to imagine what it might be like to live there, live like they do. It’s even as local as picking up my son at a birthday party and I want to go into the parents’ house to see how they live. Even better: stay for a glass of wine. Best of all: do a home exchange for a weekend. Sound odd? Yeah, maybe, but how else do you get to know someone? Get to know a lifestyle? Learn about your own? I learned more about the United States when I first … went to live in France for a year and a half.
To really learn where you’re from, you need to get far away from it.
You need to shake things up, get away from what you know. See how others do things. I get an admittedly weird satisfaction from learning the oddest things about other places. For example, I have no idea why, but the trash cans are underground in Puerto Rico. At least most of them that I saw. There’s still a metal trash can, but it’s sitting in a hole big enough to fit in there. Then it has a lid. I could have asked why, but didn’t. But that’s OK, it’s fun to just notice.
I mention all of this mostly because I hear people say, “Oh, I can’t wait to get home to [pick favorite thing at home: my own bed, my shower, my cat, etc.].” But I’m not sure I’ve ever said that. I like that it’s different. In fact, I like it because it’s different. A friend of mine was in Spain (from Holland) for five days and couldn’t wait to get back to his dogs. OK, I have a soft spot for dogs, but Spain? Sun and fun versus rain and gray? I could always wait to get home to whatever it was that I missed. It would always be there when I returned. Dog would have aged (times a factor of seven!), but they’ll be there and then you’ll be there and it’ll all be just like before. So what’s the rush?
I can’t exactly pinpoint it. I like that I don’t know where the scissors are. I love rental cars. I like that I can’t remember which way to get out of the village for the first week. I like that there’s a gecko on my windowsill in the kitchen. I like to find a favorite chair or sofa to read to my son. I like that it’s not the one we’re used to. I like that nothing is what we’re used to. It’s change. It’s different. It’s growing, learning, experiencing, observing, enjoying, frustrating. Maybe it’s just traveling or living. Isn’t that what travel is all about? Or maybe, dare I venture out: what life is about?
It doesn’t have to be nice, expensive, beautiful, hot, sunny, cultural, or, well, anything. It just needs to be different from what I’m used to.
I have to be away for quite a while to miss what’s back home. I have to be gone an even longer time for it to be “new” again (in that way where you say, “Oh yeah!” while you appreciate it). But even to be away for a weekend can do the trick. It’s just that change of scenery that I thrive on, that I somehow need, that I live on like oxygen. A weekend is great, a month is better, a year can do wonders. But even for a glass of wine to talk with my son’s friend’s dad and see their huge photograph of rocks in the dining room? Just a glance into someone else’s life, to experience another house, another town, another trash can? I’ll take it.