May 242010
Morella, Spain

Violet jelly and apricot jelly in Morella, Spain!

We don’t condone narcotics,  but strangely strong feelings of euphoria are okay if they’re natural and healthy, right?

So here is a secret formula to get your brain feeling amazing: Go away from home for a really long time, and then come back.


Nine months is the longest I’ve ever been away from home, and in this whole week since coming back to Boston after circumnavigating the globe, I have felt cerebrally heavenly.  Why?  Because when you are truly HOME with YOUR city and YOUR country and YOUR dear, dear loved ones, there’s a certain part of your brain that takes a deep, deep breath… then, at last, relaxes.

I hadn’t realized this, but apparently, for nine straight months, this part of my brain had been tense as a teacher on her first day in class: constantly alert, calculating, poised to run or fight, ready to arduously navigate how the heck to get from one part of a strange new territory to the next.

Morella, Spain food

Foie gras with violet jelly in Spain... DELICIOUS!

At first this mental stimulation of constant travel is a zing on your brain and feels delightfully energizing and new!  But after a few months, like any constant stimulus, this feeling fades into the background and you begin to accept it as normal.

But it’s NOT normal!

Such constant stressing of the neurons (as thrilling as it may be) is somewhat akin to thumping your noggin against a brick wall.  For nine months straight.  Thoink!  Thoink! What city am I in again?  Who will I meet here and how?  What sights will I see?  How do I get back to my hostel?  Thoink!  Thoink!

So, when you finally collapse into your own bed in your hometown in your fleece pajamas with your head in a beloved family member’s lap, the mental feeling is like that moment of wonder when the brick wall quits hitting your skull.

Ahhh. Peace.  Calm.  Caring.  Ease… and the love of those who truly know you!

Circumnavigating the earth is AMAZING.  And so is coming home.


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  8 Responses to “A Post-Travel Drug (Sort Of)”

  1. Well put. That’s exactly how I felt when traveling in Central America, the constant need for alertness became second nature. Always being mindful of your bags location while on a bus, or of individuals in your dorm that appear shifty. You don’t really even notice that you’re doing it until you get back home, and catch yourself being overly alert to your surroundings that you realize how much attention you had been paying to your surroundings on a day to day basis while away.

  2. I total agree with you. Not being home for 9 months is tragic. How can u survive? 😮

  3. After 7 months abroad, I’m not homesick exactly, but I’m looking forward to the trek home and cracking a beer with mates at the beach (I’m from Australia).

  4. Those kind of looked gross, but I bet they’ra good. Yummy!


  5. I actually agree with this fully!

  6. I think that if I wanted around the world for nine months straight then I would want to come home as well. I feel that it is a great experience to go around the world experiencing and learning about new cultures but at times I think most people just want to be in their cozy beds. I hope someday I get to do this.

  7. Danae,

    Very well said! Live it up abroad but also get psyched to chill it out in the arms of home. Enjoy Italy!

  8. Hey Lillie, this was a perfect entry for me!! I honestly can’t wait to return home; despite the fact that my 10 months in Germany will have been a wonderful experience, I know that when it’s time to board the plane back I will be ready. I can’t wait to be HOME…to see family and friends and yes also to relax my brain. But I’m still living up my time abroad 😉 Currently I’m writing from a small town on Lake Garda in Italy and it’s breathtaking! Experiencing the culture and language by staying with a friend I met at uni in Germany. Buona notte!

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