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I just returned from a delicious visit home - you know - the place they say you can never go back to.

Time stopped. I ate too much, gawked at the stars, took rambling walks through woods, hung out with family and friends, gossiped, tried to solve everyone's problems, listened to music, read, knitted, watched movies, spent way too much time working on a puzzle, and ate just a little bit more.

It was a perfect vacation except for one thing.

I had to travel to get there. Somehow, over the past year I have gotten so grounded that I lost all desire to travel. Packing my bag, purchasing my ticket, and planning all the details excited me less than weeding the garden. It took three days to get over the culture/travel shock of getting there. Then, by the time I got into the swing of things, it was time to leave again. While I was happy not to take a plane back (security, dry air, long wait times, delayed flights, hurrying to catch a flight, people and diseases all around constantly, tempting but bloody expensive airport shops) the drive home was excruciating. All together it took us close to seventeen hours. We drove through the night - which was great because I got home at a decent hour - but left me a bit short on the sleep side. I had this coat of grime covering me by the time we got home and my body still aches from the car ride. Fortunately the return home entails less culture shock but it is still there.

I used to LOVE travel - what happened? I loved the culture shock, how it makes you look at the world differently (now it just makes me feel lost, confused, and very unproductive). I enjoyed the colorful airports, eavesdropping on strangers and window shopping in stores. I never minded the waiting, it seemed like a great time to assess things, read, knit, and adjust perspectives. So what happened?

It isn't that I don't appreciate those aspects of travel any more - just that I have other things I would rather do. I think this is because I am more focused now. When I loved travel it was part of my self-discovery. Hopefully I'll never stop the self-discovery process entirely but it has certainly slowed down since my college (and post college) days. I guess I'd rather spend my energy on people I care about and issues that I feel strongly towards. Unfortunately part of that entails travel (just like I always wished when I was a traveler) so I suppose I'll have to reconcile the gap somehow.

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