Instagram, Pinterest, and every other social network likes to make us think that everyone is constantly travelling the world and adding stamps to their passport on a daily basis. I’m lucky enough to be able to say that I’ve checked several boxes on my to-see travel list, but I do have many to go! This post was inspired by a chat with Katie, and got me to thinking about travel and the role that it plays in my own life. There are beautiful things about travel and about being home, and I think that both need some celebration!
We all have those places that we dream of and would give anything to see in person; they might come from someone’s stories, from a movie, a much beloved novel, or even just a picture, but they exist. We build up these places in our minds and for good or for bad, we set out on journeys to see and experience them and create those memories that we want to have!
As a gigantic history nerd who is particularly fascinated by English and Irish history, Ireland and the UK are where its at for me. I have been to London countless times now, and I would still drop everything to go back there again because I can always find something new to discover. I love the early history of Ireland and the royal history of England, and I can find myself lost for hours. Being able to wander around Hampton Court Palace and see the Great Hall for myself was kind of mind-boggling- Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn stood in this very room (I wouldn’t call it that big of a hall by today’s standards if I’m being realistic…)??? How do I process that?? Walking down the hallway where Catherine Howard begged for her life? Feels pretty desolate and cold when you remember what went on there. Taking tea in the Orangery at Kensington Palace allowed me to live out my Georgian fantasies (yes, my fantasy is having tea at a Palace. You wish you were this cool.) Because history is such a passion of mine, travel allows me a chance to immerse myself in it and experience it as firsthand as I can!
A palace in Scotland- you still find a Winnipeg connection!
I love being able to make connections when I travel! I’m not the best solo traveler, because I enjoy having company for at least part of the day. I can be extroverted or introverted depending on the situation, but one of my favourite things to do is meet new people. When my mom and I were touring Holyroodhouse Palace in Edinburgh, we met a guide whose cousin had moved to St. James, a neighbourhood here in Winnipeg! What are the odds?? I was sitting in the Chapel of St Peter Ad Vincula at the Tower of London, I just happened to be sitting beside a girl who was from our rival high school. Very random but it made for an even more memorable day! I am a social person, and meeting people is always a highlight for me- I was able to meet an Alpha Gam from a different chapter who was studying abroad at UCD who happened to see me in my letters. She has grown so much and achieved so many goals, and I was lucky enough to meet and connect with her through travel! Travel gives you the option to meet so many people that you wouldn’t otherwise have met, and you never know what that will lead to!
Trying New Things
I will fully admit that I like the familiar and I tend to stick with what I know. However, when I’ve traveled and really pushed myself to try something new, it’s always paid off. I really wasn’t sure about trying ballet classes at UCD- not because I didn’t feel comfortable with the ballet part but I wasn’t sure if I would be the only one there on my own. I ended up making a friend who loves ballet as much as I do! One of my biggest “news” was traveling to a country where I didn’t speak the language- I went to visit one of my best friends who was living in Berlin at the time, and I was super worried that not speaking German would be a problem. While I only learned about five actual words in German, I had a fantastic time and I think that Berlin is one of my favourite cities. It was great to know that if I needed to, I could get around and figure out how to make my way if I didn’t speak the language (and even just figured out what sorts of things to look for). I’m also just a super picky eater, and I’ve started branching out in the food I will try! Coming from the kid who said white bread was too spicy, that’s an accomplishment.
In the rush to celebrate and share our travels, I think that a lot of people underplay just how wonderful home can be. Sure, it’s not as exciting as travel a lot of them time, but if you are always excited, excited becomes boring!
Clothing and Laundry
There is nothing so wonderful as having clean clothing that is hung up in the order you like in your closet with the other clothes they should be. Living out of a suitcase isn’t fun for I’m guessing 80% or more of us, so I think we should celebrate just how wonderful it is to have all of your clothing clean and unwrinkled and ready to wear for anything. Also, if something does end up being dirty, you can throw it in your washing machine and dryer or hang it up, and be on your way- no waiting around foreign laundromats while you could be exploring a castle and not guarding your clothes. It may sound boring to some, but when I’ve had a really hard day, I very much appreciate being able to put on a clean pair of jammies with some fuzzy socks and snuggle into my clean sheets. It’s not the same when you are in a weird bed with pjs that you only brought because you didn’t care if you had to throw them away. Clean, comfortable, familiar clothes are the way to go, and no one will convince me otherwise!
If you are one of those lucky souls who doesn’t have to worry about income, maybe a life of continual travel and wandering is the life for you! However, most of us have student loans and bills and mortages and groceries and taxes and several other things that we have to pay, and continuous travel doesn’t really let you do that. (I know that someone is going to chime in and say “there are travel bloggers that get paid $300,000/year to travel!!!!!”, to which I say, those people are few and far between.) It’s nice to know that you have a steady income coming in and that you don’t have to worry about making money for said payments and trying to coordinate them from a foreign country. Unfortunately having a job is part of adult life for most of us, and it doesn’t do any good to be unrealistic about it. Also, this may be pointing out the obvious but you have to save for these trips somehow- working your regular job is a big part of that!
Having everything familiar in general is always comforting- I like being able to go into my cupboard and grab my La La Lemon tea from David’s Tea, steep it in my favourite Nutcracker mug, and read one of my favourite worn out books for an afternoon. It’s nice not to have to think about where everything is and how to use it, to just go on autopilot and relax for a little bit. A kitchen with food easy to make if I’m feeling tired or too busy to slave away in the kitchen, but also with enough ingredients if I want to bake something from scratch. I don’t always want to make an elaborate meal but it’s so wonderful to know that the option is there if I choose. And with the familiar comes your friends and family- if you have a bad day, you probably won’t have to calculate time zones and figure out where people might be, you can just call them or go see them. If you are a lone wolf type of person, you may do well to be one your own and go without seeing your friends for ages, but I miss them immensely when I’m gone for more than a few weeks. I believe that friends are in your life for a reason, and that reason isn’t for you to ignore and never see them!
So, what’s it for you? Travel or home?