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.
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. Travel changes you.
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!