A Homebody At Heart

Travel is swell, but I’d rather stay home

My husband planned our entire honeymoon. I had nothing to do with it (well, I did have one thing to do with it. I said, “Surprise me, but make sure we see foliage”). I was so busy decorating our new house and planning our wedding that I decided he would do a better job if I stayed out of it—so long as he followed my one request, of course. We got married at the end of September, and the thought of going to some warm tropical island or on a cruise did not appeal to me at all. Maybe you think I lack adventure or that I’m downright boring, but autumn is pure bliss for me and I didn’t want to leave it. Not even for a week.

I realize all this didn’t leave my husband-to-be with many options. But he seemed fine with my suggestion (or demand?) and planned 10 days traveling through Canada. Only it ended up being seven. I am embarrassed to admit that, after four days, I was ready to go home. After five, I was counting down the minutes, and on the sixth day, he said, “Let’s just spend the rest of our honeymoon at home.” I was deliciously excited at the thought, and instead of dancing under the stars on some rooftop in Montreal on our last night, as we had planned, we ordered rack of lamb and chocolate cake and ate it as we sprawled out on the king-sized bed. It was one of my favorite parts of our honeymoon, and I remember thinking that this is not the best week to discover my extreme homesickness.

When I used to travel for work, I would often be all over the place: New York City, Missouri, West Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire. I always had a blast with my coworkers. It was fun to explore new places and see my colleagues in a different light—you get to know someone on a different level when you share a hotel room with them—but these trips were quick, packed to the brim with meetings, seminars and team-building activities. I barely had time to think about getting back home in these 24-48 hours stints. But as soon as I would walk through my front door, it would hit me how much I missed my sofa, lighting my candles and being in my own space.

I have no clue as to why my inner homebody takes over every time I am away from my house for more than 48 hours. Maybe it is because I was in three different schools by the time I reached the second grade; my family had moved five times the first seven years of my life. My father was in the military and it was part of the job. But I was never homesick as a child. This is something new, which has crept into my personality as I have gotten older.

I crave the smell of my house and the comfort of my mattress (which is very old) when I am away. I get mad at myself for wanting the same boring food I buy from our local market. I am a creature of habit, I guess, but the thing is, I crave to see different places. I long to try new things and meet new people—it just fades after a few days.

Now my kids are getting older and we have taken them a few places: big cities, majestic villages in Vermont, upstate New York. I know all too soon they will be older, looking at colleges, and I am going to have to cure my homesickness.

And the funny thing is, now more than ever, I feel ready to travel and try new adventures. Maybe because I have seen firsthand what it has done for my kids, or maybe the anxiety I used to feel while being away from home for more than a few days is just naturally starting to dissolve. Either way, the world is so much bigger than me and my comfort zone, and it is time to go see it.

I just hope I last longer than 48 hours.

Katie Bingham-Smith is a freelance writer, shoe addict and mother to three living in the woods of Bowdoinham. She pays her kids to rub her feet and never turn down anything with caffeine.

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