Open Ticket Travel Confession: Sometimes I Need The Comforts Of Home Stephanie Spitler

I have a confession to make. As much as I love exploring new places, trying new things and getting out of my comfort zone, sometimes the only place I want to be is sitting on my couch, slipper-socked feet propped up on the coffee table, drinking tea and reading.  Sometimes, the most adventurous decision I want to make is whether to watch a new movie or an old favorite. To paraphrase a wise girl from Kansas, sometimes there really is no place like home.

Wanderlust is a funny thing. It’s a permanent part of me, and even if I’m not currently indulging it, it’s always there. But I also have strong homebody tendencies; I’m often content to enjoy the silence and ease of laying low. I’m not sure how it’s possible to be both, but there you have it. As much as I love “new” and “different,” sometimes I crave the familiar (even while traveling).

It’s not that I need my specific brand of shampoo on vacation, or that my trip will be ruined if the city doesn’t have my favorite bagel shops. The comfort of home that is important to me when I travel is more an idea. It’s the lack of guilt I feel when I take time for myself and slow down. I never feel bad about spending a weekend afternoon bumming around in my pjs at home, but on vacation I feel obligated to make the most of every minute. But everything has to be about balance: work/life balance, wanderlust/homebody balance and travel/rest balance.

This need for down time has struck on some (ok, most) of my travels. After the constant struggle to communicate in a language that’s mostly unfamiliar, I admit that I’ve sought out the local Hard Rock Café, more for comfort and predictability than for the food. I needed to find a place where I could relax and speak without having to mentally translate first. And while being surrounded by incomprehensible (to me) words is one of my favorite things about traveling abroad, adding to the mystery and excitement of a new place, after a few days of speaking in halted, abbreviated sentences, it’s nice to go somewhere where I can let the words flow freely and know I’ll be understood (and able to understand). I wish I was one of those people who could fluently switch between lots of different languages, but I’m not even close.

Sometimes, though, language barriers have nothing to do with it. Sometimes your feet are aching from days of walking… and your camera is full of pictures of historic sights you’ve already forgotten the names of… and you’ve been getting up with the sun to fit as much as possible into every day…and now the weather’s turned cold and rainy outside and you’re out of band-aids for your blisters. It’s time to stop and take a breath. Sometimes the comforts of home you crave are the very things that will improve your trip, like the time to relax and take a break. Sometimes you need a day off from your vacation.

I’ve spent a morning (or afternoon) propped up in the hotel bed, watching the local news or a dubbed sitcom. Sometimes I’ve slept ‘til noon.

Especially on shorter trips, you can feel guilty about taking some time to rest. You’ve been going-going-going non-stop from am to pm. After a few days, the pace can get to you. Sometimes the best thing you can do is put your feet up and give yourself permission to slow down. Or go spend the afternoon sipping coffee at a sidewalk café, content to watch the world go by. Take the time to rejuvenate yourself, and your trip will be even better.

Image via Shutterstock

comments

Please help us maintain positive conversations by refraining from posting spam, advertisements, and links to other websites or blogs. we reserve the right to remove your comment if it does not adhere to these guidelines. thanks! post a comment.

  1. I spend a lot of time on the road in hotel rooms and I always feel guilty if I don’t go out every night because i’m so lucky to have a job that pays for me to see the world. When I actually get to travel for vacation, I plan at least one day to rest. I’m gald I’m not the only one:)

  2. My idea of a holiday from hell is one that’s scheduled down to every minute and includes non-stop sight seeing. My husband and I will often just take an afternoon to hang out in our hotel room, watch some TV (that we’ve brought with us on a laptop), drink tea (that we also brought with us), and hide from the world. After that we are ready to go again as our batteries are totally refreshed and we appreciate our next outing all the more. I don’t think there’s any shame in that at all, it’s meant to be a HOLIDAY :)

  3. I’m an American, and I spent my fall semester traveling around the UK and France with a group of students, moving cities every 3 or 4 days. I now completely understand the need for relaxation and familiarity during travel and how difficult that is to reconcile with feelings of guilt about missing out and not experiencing every place the the fullest. When I think about the time we went to McDonald’s in Paris or the number of occasions we got coffee from Starbucks in England, it’s apparent that a desire for a taste of home can supersede everything else.
    Once I came to accept that, no matter where in the world I was, there were going to be good days and bad days and days I just wanted to sit in bed on the internet, I was able to enjoy my time abroad while still getting much needed alone/relaxation time.
    Thanks for writing this; you shared some great insight!

  4. I can absolutely identify. For me after about 2 weeks being some place new, I have about 3 days of pure exhaustion and frustration with the place I’m at. I get tired of translating and not having the comforts of home. In that moment it is so important for me to give myself a break, and not feel guilty about staying in bed and being ultra anti-social.

  5. “It’s [wanderlust] a permanent part of me, and even if I’m not currently indulging it, it’s always there. But I also have strong homebody tendencies” is EXACTLY how I would describe myself too :)

    Here’s another good homey thing to do while travelling – go to the movie theatres. No matter where you are, there is bound to be an english movie.

  6. sailboat

  7. Thank you for this! I always feel so guilty if I’m not constantly rushing around and trying new things when I’m travelling, and I feel especially guilty about craving home-things. Next time I’ll remember that it’s more than ok just to sit still and enjoy a hot chocolate and a good book :)

HelloGiggles Podcast