The Legitimate Traveler
I am still on cloud 9 from my trip to Ireland, which I have to say was probably one of the best trips I have been on in a long time for many reasons: 1) I absolutely love the UK, 2) I got to geek out and talk travel blogging with like-minded geeks at TBEX, 3) I got some serious, sans kids, kissy face time with my husband, and 4) I got to explore a side of my husband’s heritage.
I mean, there’s a lot of serious awesome that happened during this last trip (more on that soon), but I am really happy to be home. I think the overall joy of being home hit me as I drove my kids to school yesterday morning, where I first really noticed how the leaves had changed during my absence and turned my quiet New Jersey neighborhood into a colorful fall wonderland. It finally made my heart burst when I was in the kitchen prepping to bake apple pies I had long promised my family while in between trips, and while my 6-year-old read his favorite stories to me.
Home. Grounded. Still.
After just a week of traveling my world at home seemed to have changed and moved on without me.
There’s always a lot of conversation around this topic of home and being grounded as it relates to travel blogging. For some, the idea of being grounded creates a sense of anxiety as they wonder how not traveling will impact their writing or image (read Lola Akinmade’s TBEX presentation on how blogging from home can be a successful way to grow your brand when grounded). For others, being still is often seen as a form of compliance to a life that is less fulfilling or worthy of merit.
During my time at TBEX I met a lot of really smart people from all walks of life, taking part in all forms of travel. It was interesting to me to hear how often the question “Where are you off to next?” came up in conversations with people. So much so that I eventually began to ask it myself, as it seemed like the thing to ask when conversing with travel bloggers. Most of the time the answers were fascinating. “I’m nomadic” or “We don’t know” or “I’m off to some place crazy amazing“. My answer, however, was always “home” which was more often than not met with a brief pause, a slight loss for words, and surprise. Add on to the fact that home is a suburb in New Jersey, and well, you would have to wonder what the hell I was doing there.
For the record, no one, not one single person I met at TBEX, was rude in any way towards me or my lifestyle. Everyone was genuinely friendly and kind. I was very lucky in that sense. But the reactions I often got made me realize that for some travel bloggers this notion of home is a very foreign one to them and lacking a home base was a huge badge of honor. I wondered how that translated into what they considered being a traveler and/or a travel blogger to be.
There are those who are very vocal about what qualifies one to be traveler, and for them being nomadic is the true qualification of its legitimacy, especially because it applies to their own reality and lifestyle choices.
But, there is a high percentage of travelers and an even higher percentage of travel bloggers, who don’t follow the nomadic lifestyle, some because they can’t and many because they don’t want to. Yet, these are often dismissed. Because of this, you would be hard pressed in finding a travel blogger who will admit that their next stop is home and not another incredible destination, as if being home was something to be ashamed of.
For me, being home is what brings me back to my roots. It’s what grounds me and helps me reboot and refocus. The routine of my everyday life is what makes me so incredibly grateful for the travel I do take on and what gives me a more rounded perspective into the reality of my readers, many of whom also have 9-5 jobs, families, mortgages, and grounded lives.
Something as simple as baking apple pie becomes a special occasion after a trip. Home is a far sweeter place to be.
Being home is about bonding with my children and my friends outside of the travel blogging space. It’s what keeps me conscious of what many have to take on before they can travel to any of the places I often write about and try to encourage them to visit.
There is something really inspiring and beautiful about the nomadic lifestyle, and I have great admiration for a lot of the travel bloggers who take it on. I am not sure I would be able to live that way. It really does take a lot and many of them develop unique insights because of it.
But there is nothing wrong with being home, or having a home to come back to and admitting to as much is nothing to be insecure or ashamed of. For more of us, home is everything. Our office jobs, our routines, our children, and daily obligations are the choices we have made for ourselves and should never be reasons for ridicule.
I wish I heard more travel bloggers talk about their home, because it’s something I could’ve related to more. I know if I felt this way there are tons of readers who love to read about travel and love to travel that feel the same.
The bottom line is, some of us have to come back home because that’s the travel story that some of us are destined to tell. Once we can make that something to be proud of, maybe we can get closer to making travel media seem less exclusive, less foreign, more real and attainable for all.
Disclosure: If I met you, and you are a nomadic traveler, this post isn’t about you personally, I swear. If I spent time chatting with you, I genuinely liked you and was really interested in your stories. I promise.
Welcome home, lady! Thanks for sharing the travels 🙂
Thank you! So happy to be here and excited to get some work done : )) Thanks for following along!
5 family-friendly accommodation options to consider befkeryn
#1 It is just cruel and unusual punishment to show a picture of that pie and not ship me a slice. However, since I first found you via twitter pics of food while nursing my son in the wee hours, I can't say I am surprised that you have once again tempted me with food. 🙂
#2 I will never be a nomad, at least not a long term one. I like having a home base. It's part of who I am. Granted, I'm always wishing I was elsewhere when I'm home, but in the back of my mind I like the stability, a place to stash my stuff, and giving my kids that sense of place that is all their own. I have many nomadic friends, but right now it isn't the life for us. You are right, being home isn't something to be ashamed of. We should embrace it and wear it as OUR badge of honor.
My recent post 5 family-friendly accommodation options to consider before your next vacation
caincarol5 family-friendly accommodation options to consider befkeryn
Ooooh! The temptation of the pie! LOL! Sorry Keryn. And yes, it is our badge of honor. I have a lot to be proud of here. My beautiful children, the loving environment we have created, and the calm and warmth that I feel when I am here. Not everyone has that, and I really treasure it all. Thanks for sharing…and sorry about the pie! ; ))
I'm so glad you wrote this! I'm at the point where I wanted to start writing about my travels and have been grappling with this very thing. I consider myself passionate about travel and, compared to most people I know, I travel a lot. But my circumstances at the moment don't allow me to travel more than a few times a year. I've been plagued with the question "Will people take me seriously if I am not traveling all the time?" What a relief and inspiration it was to read this. And boy am I glad lunch is soon because that apple pic looks ridiculously yummy!
My recent post 5 Things to do in Chicago this Fall
Thank you Daina! Even the most avid traveler at some point in their life has to come 'home'. Circumstances change, people change, and often times many find themselves in the same place where you are now, wondering what to do next. Read Lola's post on the topic. I think it will be really helpful.
I like your approach – I love home, it's something I never had stability in growing up (we moved almost 30 times from when I was a baby to high school). Home is very important to me, but I still love traveling, even though I don't do it on the pro level. And I'm not that interested in reading people who only live as nomads, it's just not relatable for me. I have lots of things rooting me here, and reading someone who has a life with similar roots, but still gets out and explores, is just way more interesting and relevant.
My recent post Pumpkin Bread, Gluten-Free Or Not – October Seasonal Eating
Thank you Gina. There is an audience for all sorts of travel styles, and I just really wanted to point that out because it felt like no one was really 'going home' when I was talking to my peers, which is cool, but weird too. Thanks for your comment and support : )
Camels & Chocolate
The more I stay home these past couple years, the more I WANT to be home. I had a near four-week stint between work trips to Charlotte and NYC in August for meetings, and I actually did not want to get on that plane to go to New York simply because I loved being back in a routine: in this case, going to the gym every afternoon, cooking dinner in the house I own yet never see with my husband each night, late night marathons of Scandal, cuddling my pup, reading a book for a change. I think so many people are nomadic or running away because they have yet to find these simple pleasures–be it a companion or a permanent sense of place or even a pet–and crave that constant sense of change or "what's next?" but for those of us who have found stability, it can be what we run toward not away from.
caincarolCamels & Chocolate
So true. I love, love, love traveling (duh), but that feeling of walking into my home after a long stint away from it and the smell of my children during the prolonged welcome hug back are my very favorite things about it all.
ordinarytravelerCamels & Chocolate
Beautifully said, Kristin. I feel the same way!
My recent post A Day With Wild Grizzly Bears in Glendale Cove, British Columbia
Carol, as usual, you strike a chord that's relevant to me. I write about travel, and have for years, but do not have a nomadic lifestyle. And I've never felt insufficient or ashamed about it, but I have encountered a few experiences where going home is talked about like a dirty, undesirable thing. Like you, home is a central base to ground me, where my family is, and where I can gain perspective that is valuable to the things I write about when I travel. I personally need that downtime and ability to step away to process my stories and deem what's worth sharing and from what perspective. When you're in it, it can sometimes be difficult to sort out your experiences and determine what is most useful to your reader. I find that going home helps me write better stories. Just my two cents.
My recent post Tacos de longaniza en salsa verde
Thanks Maura. I totally agree. I need to let all those experiences and conversations and thoughts kind of simmer a bit. Sometimes I can do a short something while on the road, but it takes me a bit to really process it all. Home is so perfect for that.
Great post. I always shied away from routine until a few years ago. Now I absolutely love coming home. I've been trying to slow down my travel schedule because I feel so much more healthy when I can eat right (cook my own meals) and exercise daily. I never thought the little things like that would make me happy one day. 🙂
My recent post A Day With Wild Grizzly Bears in Glendale Cove, British Columbia
Thank you! We always think the grass is greener on the other side and so when given the chance we venture out in search of it. It's a really wonderful feeling when we come home and realize that our grass is pretty green too, maybe a different shade, but really just as nice. Sometimes it takes us a little longer to see it : )