Bringing a place back home

You can leave a place, but it doesn’t leave you. Quickly, at least.

Maybe you’ll bring back a few jolly pounds from samosas and sweetshops. You’ll have some of the country under your fingernails and clogged in your pores. Its exhaust will take a few days to clear from your lungs so your boogers might stay black for a bit. It floats through your blood for weeks, so you keep swallowing those malaria pills.

In your dreams, the place sticks around. How else to explain last night’s mountain-biking-with-a-rickshaw dream?

Its bracelets linger on your wrist, its beard on your chin, its sun in your hair. Favoring of the right hand continues.

Maybe your stomach will have flip-flopped, and takes offense to the first taste of home’s tapwater. Maybe your stride has changed, a little faster or a little slower. Or maybe now you prefer sandals to sneakers, or dirt to pavement.

What’s the point of noting this? Who cares about these overlaps — body in one place, mind in another? To me, right before or after a trip is when I’m most aware of the magnitude of a journey. These bookend periods are shaped by the act of travel just as much as any official on-the-road day.

If you’re traveling to learn about yourself, these transitions can’t be ignored. So maybe it’s time to think again before announcing with conviction, “I’m home!”

Photo by fr1zz via Flickr.

Posted by | Comments Off on Bringing a place back home  | May 12, 2010
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind, Vagabonding Life

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