THE QUESTION ALL TRAVELERS ASK THEMSELVES AFTER COMING HOME

by Carmel on March 4, 2015 · 24 comments

Amongst our traveler friends, there’s always discussion when talking about coming home of whether or not you’ll go out and do it again. After 7 months home, it’s a little premature to say yes or no, in my opinion. We had a great time in our 11 months of travel, but we were also really tired at the end of it and lost a lot of the spark for exploring that we enjoyed in those first months of the trip.

Train

I miss the adventures, I do not miss my backpack

Shawn and I are, at heart, very much home bodies. We love the comforts of home – cooking, watching football on Sundays in the fall and winter, hosting dinner parties… These are the things that make us happy and travel makes those things very difficult. But the type of travel we did isn’t the only way. There’s always housesitting, living abroad, etc. – slower travel where we could establish a base, a routine, and just be. Kind of like we did while we were in Granada – and we loved our time in Granada.

Granada

The view wasn’t so bad at our place, either

Then there’s a voice inside me that only speaks at a whisper, to make sure I’m listening, that tells me: travel is not our path. I read the accounts of some of my dear friends that I’ve made through blogging – living and writing in Mexico, traveling around the US and doing pilgrimages, web designing and saving up for the next tuk-tuk adventure in some foreign land. They all sound amazing. So amazing that I want to cash in my retirement savings now and take off. Then I remember MY dream. The one to have a family, to own a small house, and to open my own business. And I remember Shawn’s dream to write. Our dreams require us to stay put. Yes, you can have a family on the road. I’ve seen so many people do it, I know it’s not only possible and even a little appealing. Shawn can write anywhere – that’s obvious since he wrote a freaking book while we were traveling (seriously, how did he do it??). But the voice pops up and just says, “not now.” It’s just not what we need or want right now – our answers are here in the Pacific NW.

Tacoma-1

Exploring our new city offers us a few new adventures

I will admit – when things get stressful here or I’m having a bad day or feel isolated, my first instinct is to take off. At this point, I see travel as a comfort. It was such a huge part of our lives for so long – not just in the doing, but in the planning and saving – it feels easier in some ways to just do it again. But travel isn’t about comfort, is it? Or it shouldn’t be. The real adventure is in taking a risk. I’m taking a risk right now and, just like when we were traveling and things were hard, sometimes we mentally want to run away to what’s easy.

We’re not done traveling. Of course not – we’ll always be travelers – it’s more than a lifestyle, it’s a mindset. We have to redefine what that looks like for now. Maybe one day when my business is off and running and I can get someone else to manage it for awhile, we’ll take off again. Our trip was only a sampler plate – we have a list about a thousand miles long of other places we want to go and places we want to return. We’re not done yet, but for now, we’re content with where we are right now.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob March 4, 2015 at 8:39 am

100% with you on this Carmel. Great post really well written, and saves me writing this myself 🙂

Good luck with all your exciting plans, we will be following along.
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Carmel March 13, 2015 at 7:39 am

Ha! Well, glad to have saved you the effort. 🙂

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Karen March 4, 2015 at 8:40 am

Beautifully shared sweet lady.

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Carmel March 13, 2015 at 7:39 am

Thank you xoxo

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Kellie March 4, 2015 at 8:53 am

This echoes all of my thoughts Carmel.

Our dreams have evolved and for the near future, travel takes a back seat and I’m not one bit sad about that.
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Carmel March 13, 2015 at 7:41 am

I think taking a back seat is a great way to put it. I’m not done done, I just need a break. A pretty big one, but it feels right to stay put. Even though I still look for deals…just in case my other plans tank!

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Rhonda March 4, 2015 at 9:59 am

Wise words.. as you know, the grass is not always greener, and there are pros and cons on both sides. We’ve been home now 7 YEARS, not 7 months, and know that, while we absolutely appreciate the comforts of home, we are looking for something different. Not even to remain nomadic for good, but to make our way in a different place (yes, I can almost bet we’ll end up in Mexico for good one of these days). I think we all lead our own path, and understanding what it is that makes you happy is, in the end, all that matters.
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Carmel March 13, 2015 at 7:41 am

And you’ve found a way to fulfill all your needs! I can’t wait to follow your adventures!

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Bethany ~ twoOregonians March 4, 2015 at 11:38 am

Yes, yes, yes. I’m such a firm believer that each of us must find and follow the right, best path for our own lives. The diversity of stories is what makes the human experience inspiring! I’m encouraged to see the way you’re intentional about putting your roots and your heart in the right place for this next season. Wishing you all the best! Xx
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Carmel March 13, 2015 at 7:42 am

Thanks, Bethany. 🙂 Shawn is always encouraging me to go with my gut and for now this feels right.

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Emily March 4, 2015 at 11:45 am

Travel is the same way for us – a mindset. After our year of travel in 2014 I wondered how we would feel, and I think at least for now, we are so happy with the perks of being ‘home’ and were kind of burnt out at the end of our travels. We will travel again, and I hope on longer trips rather than short ‘vacations’, but for now, it’s nice to be here.
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Carmel March 13, 2015 at 7:43 am

It’ll be interesting to see where we were are in 2016, huh? We’re still doing the “where were we a year ago?” thing and it feels fun and exciting. Maybe when it’s not so close we might start feeling the pull. Hope to go on some short-term adventures in the meantime!

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Sarah Somewhere March 4, 2015 at 3:10 pm

Follow your heart and it will not lead you wrong. It hasn’t so far… Xxx
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Carmel March 13, 2015 at 7:43 am

Very true. <3

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Ana March 5, 2015 at 7:41 pm

For everything there is a season – Now cherish is time to put roots down and then later transplant…. Mom

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Carmel March 13, 2015 at 7:43 am

Every step needs to be enjoyed, that’s for sure.

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Maddie March 22, 2015 at 6:07 am

I think no matter how happy and content we are, there is always a little niggle that makes us want something else – there are times when travelling that you just desperately want to be at home and definitely vice versa. I’ve had plenty of those moments over the last year where I’ve just wanted to run but then you remind yourself that the long term plan is something else entirely. You and only you know what’s best and like Sarah says, you haven’t gone wrong so far 🙂
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Carmel April 16, 2015 at 11:14 am

Oh how I wish I could just take off whenever I pleased. Unfortunately we a) don’t have the money and b) don’t have vacation time. Like I said to Ali, I think I just crave the freedom that travel afforded me. But then that was when we had money. There’s always some commitment and eventually you have to decide which commitments are worth making sacrifices for.

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Ali April 10, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Ok, I’m a little behind here, but I did just binge read the last 4 months of your blog. I can totally relate to a lot of what you wrote about in those posts about being a perfectionist, being too hard on yourself, putting yourself last, trying to lose weight….so similar to me!

Anyway, about *this* post. I envy the perpetual nomads quite often. I think it sounds amazing to be able to live on the road, staying in one place for a few weeks or months, and then moving on to the next interesting place, always having a change of scenery, new food, new experiences. But when I actually try to do it, it does NOT work for me. Andy and I have tried a few times, and even though I can clearly see some huge mistakes that, if we could redo, would make the whole experience better, I’m still not sure it’s for us. We’re kind of home bodies too, an we both really like/need routine. We just moved to Berlin (a decision that actually came out of our most recent 4 1/2 month trip) because we love it here so much, so we’ll get a little of that travel newness feeling for a bit, but mostly I’m just glad to have a home base we really like. But it also means no more long trips for a while, at least not longer than a month, because we can’t sublease our apartment here. It’s a weird commitment, but I know it’s the right one.

You have other things to focus on in your life right now, and that’s important too. I’m starting to learn that it’s not always possible to work towards every single thing you want all at the same time. So now you guys focus on goals that aren’t about traveling around the world, and that’s a different kind of fulfillment.

BTW belated congrats on the house!
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Carmel April 16, 2015 at 11:12 am

And now I’m behind on replying! Thank you for your well thought out comment. It’s hard having a love for traveling when it’s not exactly what you want to do *all* the time. I struggle with this idea that loving something means that you’ll want to do it always. I love a lot of things and am passionate about a lot of things, but what I’m most passionate about is the freedom to do everything I want to do. Now that we’re settled into a house and I have a job, all I want to do is go live somewhere else for a month. But I know that eventually I’d miss my house. I’d miss my cat. I’d miss my routines. I think you’re absolutely right – you can’t work toward everything all at once. I’m (slowly) learning that lesson. Hard when all you want is to do ALL the things! But staying true to yourself and your priorities is also important.

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Satu VW I Destination Unknown April 25, 2015 at 2:28 pm

I hear you! I wouldn’t change our life in Norway to anything, as long as I get to travel regularly both “in our backyard” and further afield. I believe it’s possible to find a balance between those two, having a home and family and doing enough travel to keep your desire to fly-off tamed. Enjoy the moments at home, we’re so happy to host dinner parties and welcome friends and family to stay in our new home where we actually have enough space for that! So if you get the desire to come to Norway, there’s always a spare room for you guys 🙂
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Carmel May 13, 2015 at 1:42 pm

You don’t know how much I’d love to just go and buy a ticket right now! Hard to believe we were sitting in a plaza a year ago discussing all these things…sigh. 🙂

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Courtney May 13, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Lovely, well written post. It was really interesting to read as when I went travelling I only went for 3 months, and I am intrigued as to how long I would be able to stay away from home as when I was travelling I definitely didn’t want to leave! I do think I will be going back at some point, I’ve been home for about a month now! I love the idea that travel is a mindset!
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Carmel May 13, 2015 at 1:43 pm

It took us a while to hit our stride and I’m glad we challenged ourselves to traveling for close to a year. However, I also think that my ideal time away is about 6 months. Oh to spend half the year abroad and half at home!

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