For me, taking a trip is a time when I am forced to stop what I am doing and experience things at an entirely different pace for a little while. For the duration of my trip, I am removed from my normal routine, and have different set of thoughts on my mind.
In my earliest memories of going on vacations with my families, I feel like I was always complaining. “Why can’t we fly first class?” “Why can’t I have my own bed in the hotel?” “Why can’t we go out to eat, why do we have to make sandwhiches?” “Why can’t we fly?” (when we did a road trip). I didn’t really understand that all those things cost money, and that going on vacation with four kids is an expensive proposition in general (I still do want to fly first class once in my life. Who doesn’t?). I feel sorry for my parents, having to deal with us kids.
When I was an undergrad, my trips mostly consisted of me coming home for school breaks. I would say that the main hallmark of these trips was loneliness. I would often take a morning bus to the Spokane airport, then fly home. Usually I would get in pretty late at night, making for a full day of travelling. But I wouldn’t have anyone to really talk with for the day. I’m not exactly comfortable with breaking the silence with a stranger on the plane or at the airport. So I would often wish that I had a friend who also travelled the same way I did, that we could share the journey.
That hasn’t changed much, but the difference is that back then I knew when I would be returning.
Now that I am no longer in Washington, my few trips recently have been back there to visit friends. The hardest part of these trips is when I have to return. I really consider Washington to be a home to me, and many of my friends live there. Whenever I visit, I am reminded of how much I want to return there. So after returning to New Mexico, I end up in a funk for a little bit. It’s made all the harder by the fact that I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to go back.
It can be quite difficult to return to my normal routine, one which seems rather mundane and time-consuming. Sometimes it feels almost like I’m just wasting my time until I can get to where I want to go. My freshman year, I went on the SEARCH retreat with my church group. It was an incredible experience, and at the conclusion of the weekend, we had a special talk about how we would be returning to the ‘outside world’. It’s a talk I need to think back on whenever I feel like this.
The takeaway is that sometimes, when you return from a trip or a retreat, it can be a shock. And sometimes it seems like what you did is gone, set apart from the rest of your life. But whatever you experienced is still a part of you. And you can take it and incorporate it into you.
So while I know that I’ll feel melancholy for a few days, I also know that I’ll snap out of it.
Washington, I will be back. That is a promise. Also, all the best to my good friends, M and G, for their wedding. I wish them joy and harmony.
On a side note, I am going to attempt to upload one new blog post a month. We’ll see how long that lasts.