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On Being Homesick

09.27.2016 / TRAVEL

I’d never felt what it was like to be homesick. As a kid, at sleepovers or summer camp or trips to my grandparent’s house, I never once had a pit in my gut. I never felt the dry of my mouth, the pang in my side. I’d never known what it was like to have your heart yearn and your mind wander for ones left behind.

I knew only that I loved adventure, only that I wanted more of it. Only that I was happy to be where I was, wherever it was.

Ever since, I’ve stamped my Passport as many times as I could.

But then Bee arrived. And now, Scout. And the two of them pull at me like gravity, keeping my head far from the clouds, gently pointing me toward the place where I most belong.

Home.

So yes, my trip to India was full of adventure and purpose and love and I was so, so happy to observe such a beautiful culture – to learn and grow from such a delightful set of characters.

And yes, I was so very homesick.

It starts with the leaving. After the packing and the logistics and the last-minute errands. After the Annual Searching For The Passports. After the I love you’s and the I’ll see you soon’s and the Do you have your toothbrush? Yes, I have my toothbrush.

You squeeze your weekender bag taut, zip it shut, kiss your favorite cheeks, promise not to cry, put on a brave smile and shut the door behind you.

Deep breath.

And you drive away, realizing you left your heart where the toothbrush used to be.

That’s when you cry.

There is really only one foolproof cure for homesickness, in my small opinion, and it’s simple: distraction.

Distraction, distraction, distraction.

It’s the only way.

I’m not much of a movie watcher. TV, either. But when you’ve tried reading all of your books and you instead find yourself peering out the window and seeing only clouds, thinking of that time your toddler got the miniature school bus stuck in her hair and it makes your heart sink with joy and sadness both? You let yourself feel it, you let yourself miss your family fiercely, and then you wipe the tears and dig through your bag for the earphones.

The number of TV episodes (Hey hey, New Girl!) I watched on the flights to Jaipur? 4.
The number of movies? 3.
Aaaaaaaand, 3 on the way home.

Ask me anything. I am infinitely caught up in the current entertainment realm.

(BTW, can we talk about Silicon Valley?)

Distraction, distraction, distraction.

It’s the only way.

And you know, it seems to be a small thing that Delta now has Free In-Flight Entertainment when we’re already magically transported to another side of the world in the span of a single day. Aren’t we spoiled enough to have wings? With cookies, no less?!

But then I think of the pang in my side, the homesick feeling rising.

And how watching Nick Miller install a rain shower with duct tape makes the sadness dissipate in five second or less.

And I realize that’s never a small thing.

Being homesick was like a fever running its course: it hurt and it healed. I cried and I survived. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it’d be.

And when the wheels touched down, twelve days and a lifetime later, I ran headlong into the arms of my family, right where I most belong. Armed with photos and stories and tales of my travels.

(With a slew of Nick Miller jokes, just for good measure.)

p.s. This is an essay for Delta, who now provides over 10,000 hours of free in-flight entertainment. That’s a whole lot of good, good distraction, friends. Thanks, Delta!

  • Barbara

    What a sweet message – and one that I related to 100%. As a “fellow mom” who is a little further down the road, may I add a PS? When your kids grow up and fly away, which we raise them to do, the homesickness haunts you even when you’re home. Because of course, it’s not the house you’re homesick for. It’s the beloved humans. And the remedy? Distraction, distraction, distraction! Thank you for showing us your heart. It’s beautiful ❤️?

    • Oh Barbara – you are SO so so right. Thank you for sharing what it’s like a few steps down the road! :)

  • What a lovely post. Thanks for the advice. I’ve never been homesick before, but now I’ve moved away from home permanently it feels different and I find my self missing home more. Your advice is going to be so helpful

    – Natalie
    http://www.workovereasy.com

    • Ah, hang in there, Natalie! Sending good vibes for a peaceful transition. :)

  • Lovely post, but I’m so distracted at how you had these photos taken? Was someone traveling with you? Were you setting up all these via timer? Having the stewardess shoot them? Other travelers? Were you first on the plane? Last off? Ha ha ha! So many questions from the photographer here. Also, I always get stuck with in flight service not working. Blargh! (Granted, that’s United…) Bless you for traveling with a baby at home, but yes, you say yes to India!!! Looked AMAZING and you looked gorgeous! Didn’t show a single bit of homesickness on that lovely golden face!

    • hahhahah OMG i just saw this one, ha! i did travel with a photographer, and we were the last off the plane! ;) miss you so much sweet friend. :)

  • Isn’t Nick Miller the best?!? And Winston’s relationship with Ferguson just cracks me up!! Glad you were able to find the distractions you needed…I’ve been there too & know that homesick feeling well.

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