You return home after an exciting travel adventure, feeling jazzed up from the recent experience.
Writing (a surprising) ten posts about it, ignites you with recollective enthusiasm. The party’s not over if you’re still talking about it.
There’s a “high” and you write about it, and the “high” continues (which is partly why you write about it.) It’s like keeping a balloon in the air, because as long as it’s up there, the excitement is protracted, in this case by the warming memory, and simply “telling the story.”
But then, eventually and inevitably, to overdramatize it but only to a moderate degree…
Suddenly, you’re home. And it’s like…
You are not “There” anymore. You’re “here.” And “here”, by comparison, is banally and painfully…
The Result: A debilitating letdown.
WARNING: I will shortly disorient you with a surprise revelation – you’ll like it, I promise. But first, two side trips.
When I taught school in London at St. John’s Church of England Infants and Juniors School (in working class Kilburn) – which I believe I have talked about, but having forgotten, I may well talk about again – the school’s headmaster, Mr. Kinsman, having taken a shine to me, developed the habit of driving me home at the end of the day.
I am not aware of his driving any of the other teachers home, and I never asked him why he had singled me out for these personal chauffeuring services; I was just grateful I didn’t have to take the bus, which I would frequently ride in the wrong direction, forgetting which side of the street I was supposed to stand on to pick the bus going in the appropriate direction up. It’s England; it took a while.
Anyway, Mr. Kinsman confided to me that he had made a deliberate point of never taking a vacation because of how difficult and demoralizing it was when you come home.
This is not as outlandish and is sounds. Vacations can be like a temporary furlough from prison. You are out and about for a short time, and then…
It doesn’t have to be prison. It could be a “Clank! of Luxury.” A “Clank!” of family and friends. A “Clank!” of familiarity, comfort and stimulation. It does not matter.
It is still “Clank!”
Because it’s not “that.” It’s “this.” On a regular, daily basis. Seemingly forever.
Now, the surprise revela…
“Wait! You forgot the second side trip!”
Oh yeah. Okay.
“Whaa! Whaa! Whaa!”
“A man goes on a “Rich Guy’s” vacation, seeing breathtaking sights, traveling by yacht, paddling in the Aegean, and munching on ice-cream bars peddled off a boat, (OOZING WITH SARCASM) and he’s complaining about a “debilitating letdown” when he gets home.
Well “Whaa! Whaa! Whaa!”
I’m sorry. I’m a lucky guy; I have nothing to complains about.
(NEW READER: “Do all of this guy’s posts come with shame-generated apologies?”
REGULAR READER: “A surprising number of them do, yes. And then he cuts the emotional treacle with a fabricated conversation.”
NEW READER: “I like it.”)
Okay, moving on.
Identifying with the position of my headmaster/slash/personal driver Mr. Kinsman, my initial reaction upon returning from Turkey is “That’s it! I am never traveling anywhere again!” A weekend to Arizona, perhaps, to catch some “Spring Training.” But no more long trips that cast my everyday routine into contrasting mediocrity. It is too hard to come home.
“Why don’t you make ‘home’ better?”
I hear ya. But it is still going to be “home.”
By the way, I was discussing this phenomenon with a man who, along with his partner, returns from one trip and almost immediately starts planning another one. That’s his answer to the dilemma – continuous shots of “Travel Adrenaline.” (By the way, if you’re old and you travel a lot? It won’t help you. If He wants you, God still knows where you are.)
The aforementioned man’s strategy would not work for me. And I shall now confound you and contradict myself by telling you why.
I love my daily routine.
It’s reliable. It’s consistent. It is safe. It is rewarding. And it’s fun.
I know. I came home to something I love.
“Yet you are still experiencing a ‘debilitating letdown.’”
Yeah, go figure. I can’t. The adjustment, now in its third week, has been difficult in… well, I can’t say I miss those Turkish toilets) but in every other regard.
Including blog writing.
So I decided to write about that.
Rather than, for example, about the recent arrival “Awards Season” movies.
Though I will offer one line. Chalk the snarkiness up to my persistent “Trip Lag.” The line goes like this:
“It must be ‘Awards Season.’ Hilary Swank is in a wheelchair.”
Hope to be “up to speed” shortly.
Bear with me until I am.