Back at Home. Experiencing travel saudade

High St. Northcote is home.

High St. Northcote is home.

So I’ve been back from my trip for a couple of weeks.  The return to my routine was so swift, it still surprising how quickly this happened.

As I think I wrote in a blog post before I as happy to be back in familiar surroundings.  Having a ‘home’ has plenty to recommend it.  I can drive/walk/cycle and use public transport knowing where to go without worrying that I caught the wrong train, or that the freeway is going the opposite way I want to go.  I don’t have to check out at a certain time. I can stay as much as I like.

But the flip side is that the things in life that create worry, or stress are back.  These are different from the type of stress in a trip, which may involve things like whether to tip or not, or making sure you got your passport.  These are ongoing, continuous.  They are a companion that you know can’t get rid of.  They can be draining, stressful and sad.

I’ve searched on the web about articles that deal about how travel can be used as a way of not only exploring new places, but also a way to alleviate the constant sense of melancholia and anxiety that may be present in your every-day life without much success.  Perhaps those who write on the web about travelling are young and haven’t reached that sense of low level sadness that comes to some who have reached middle age.

Travel for me lifts me out of the daily murk.  I know that it doesn’t resolve things, and even when I travel flashes of issues you’d rather hope didn’t exist come back in your head. But being in a new country, a new climate, being in an hotel creates a temporary new reality.  It is a chemical free benzodiazepine.  And fortunately it’s extremely expensive, otherwise it could be addictive.

I was talking to a colleague about the fear of flying.  Which for me is a very relaxing experience.  Usually there is a crescendo of stuff to do before the day of departure. But once I am on the plane there is nothing more than can be done (and hopefully the real important stuff was done) and all I have to do is read, snooze, decide what music to hear on my noise-cancelling headphones, watch movies while I am fed and asked regularly if I want something to drink.  There is nothing I can do.  I am FORCED to be a couch potato.  All whilst I am taken to a place where I am going experience new things and have fun.  What’s there not to like?  Of course there is the chance of total engine failure or a fueling error that will  make my comfy seat plunge into the sea, but the chances of that happening are so infinitesimally small,  I am not overly concerned.

My main issue is that after a while I often have a inevitable need to fart.  But as an experienced economy flyer I have learned the ‘deep seat therapy’ method where you can expunge you air into the foam of the seat, and it is surprising how little smell results.  The roar of the engines cover any suspicious noise.  Now THAT’S safety.  Sometimes I wonder after a long flight if they ever removed the upholstery where I sat there would be a big brown stain in the foam.

Meanwhile though I am back here.  And I make plans in my mind about going again.   But deep down I know that life and money will prevent me from travelling far away for some time. So I will longingly read the travel section of ‘The Age’ on Saturdays and look at the offers in Flight Centre windows….Melbourne to Milan return from $1,480… I could save that…….

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