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.