I love traveling, but for as much as I enjoy exploring new destinations I also love being at home. A couple of years ago I addressed this in a post called Confessions of a Traveling Homebody and everything I wrote then certainly holds true today. Unlike many other travel bloggers, I am not nomadic instead I am what one would call location independent. All that means is that while I have the ability to do my job from anywhere in the world, I do in fact have a home in the suburbs, a partner and three dogs. I came into this strange profession in a way that’s not widely seen. I left a professional career I had spent more than a decade developing in order to follow my passions and do what I enjoy most in life. That being said, I didn’t lose the trappings of that professional life, meaning suburban living, for the chief reason that I really love my lifestyle. It’s this aspect of my life that I find myself pining for whenever I travel and since I just returned home from a trip, I thought I’d share a few things that I always miss when I travel.
Few people will agree with me on this point, and that’s fine. It’s my web site and not theirs. I love coffee and drink far too much of it, but I’m selective regarding what I truly enjoy drinking. My favorite style of coffee is the classic American drip coffee. Before I started traveling often, I just took this way of making coffee for granted until I realized that it’s a bit of a rarity around the world. Almost anywhere I go, the coffee preference is an espresso-based coffee. Sure, you can order a large cup of coffee, but what you’ll get is actually espresso with water added to it. Some will say that this is essentially the same as what I drink every day at home, but it’s not – not by a long shot. The major difference is in the taste. I enjoy the bite of a very strong, American-style drip coffee that I just can’t find in these smoother espresso drinks. They’re fine, and I certainly drink a lot of them when I travel, but I also find myself stopping in at American cafes or restaurants once in a while when I’m overseas just to get a large cup of the brew I miss so much when I’m not at home.
Work & Routine
As soon as I was legally eligible to work, I’ve had a job and at many times in my life I’ve juggled more than one of them at the same time. Thanks to my parents and in turn their parents; I have a strong almost Puritan work ethic that has honestly helped me out a lot in life. Leaving the corporate world and working for myself as a blogger and consultant, the workload has only increased instead of going down. As an entrepreneur, I have to be self-motivated in order to get anything done. There’s no one giving me assignments or deadlines, instead all of my work has to be self-imposed. And thankfully, I have a lot of work to do, but I also enjoy the sense of accomplishment I get after tackling a writing assignment or social media consultation. As a travel professional, being out there and seeing the world is obviously not only something I enjoy, but it’s necessary. There’s one problem though, it’s nearly impossible to get any substantive work done when I’m not at home. As I mentioned in the introduction to this post, I’m not nomadic. Instead, I travel just as I did when I was a professional; no trip is longer (usually) than 5-10 days in length. That though means that when I am traveling, I’m busy sightseeing and exploring and my only real time to work is either in the mornings or late evenings. Add into the equation the time differences and poor internet connections, and the net effect is that I can barely keep up with emails when I travel, much less make real progress on my work. My time at home is crucial to me for my job. I need several weeks at a time of sitting in front of the computer for 10-12 hours a day just to get everything done. But I love it; I’ve developed a great routine and I honestly enjoy the feeling I get after wrapping up various tasks.
Maybe it’s because I was a lobbyist for 12 years, but I am a new junkie. I usually have a cable news channel on throughout the day as background when I work and staying up with current events is important to me. That’s something I try to maintain while traveling, but it’s hard. It’s not really a question of time, I make time, but rather the quality of the news outlets available to me when I’m overseas. Nearly every hotel or cruise line carries two major English language news channels – BBC World and CNN International. For the most part they’re ok and they in fact do a better job at covering news in other countries than American news channels. But they have certain eccentricities that annoy the crap out of me. First, they repeat the same stories ad nauseam. So if I watch in the AM, I am almost certainly guaranteed to see the same stories in the PM. Not only that, but both channels are obsessed with soccer (football), almost to an unhealthy degree. Some coverage is fine, I understand it’s popular, but the hour-long soccer programs are a bit much. Finally, their “in depth” stories are so saccharine that I get a toothache. It seems that every day BBC World picks a different feel good story in Africa or Asia to highlight, which they in turn show on repeat for days. On the plus side, I get to watch Richard Quest on CNN International, which is always a good thing.
Home is where the heart is, as the old adage goes, and for me my heart is with my family. For as much as I honestly and truly love traveling to new places, it’s always hard to leave my partner of nearly 14 years and my three beautiful dogs at home. I’m ok at first, but after about three days I miss everything about them all, from casual conversations with my partner to cuddling up with my dogs on the couch. When I was in my early 20s I craved the suburban life, I physically ached for a house and yard with dogs playing in it. It’s just how I was wired and I still feel that way. Others don’t have those same needs, in fact for many it’s a bizarre concept. Neither one is right or wrong, they are just different ways of looking at the world, but it’s this lifestyle that I miss most when I travel. It’s also difficult for my partner – it’s not easy to be the one left at home, but he’s adapted and has been extraordinarily supportive of my new career.
These are just a few things I miss when I travel – what do you miss when you’re away from home?