The Paris Diaries, Chapter 6: Coming Home

As stated in my last post, Paris ‘ lack of pubs was getting to me, as well as my lack of French and the tired waiters who were forced to serve us in our forced-French-trying-our-best English ways.

And herein lies the crux – we start to yearn for home. The language barrier begins to grate on us as a reminder of our own ignorance with other tongues. The all you can eat buffet is getting boring and you feel forced to consume the beige feast set before you at dawn because the damn all inclusive responsibility is getting too much – you have paid for it, after all. What started as a polite conversation over breakfast with the family from Nottingham is becoming too familiar, evading them becoming more challenging, and you don’t need any new friends anyway. And if you trip over in your fucking flip-flops once more, you risk losing your big toe because that unassuming rubber, toe segregating mechanism is like cheese wire when extreme force is applied. at a high speed.

It’s your last day. The hotel is kicking you out at 11am and you pack your wrinkled, iron-neglected clothes along with all the other stuff you’ve bought along the way. Before closing the hotel door, you take one last look around at what has been your home for the past few days. It looks exactly as it did when you arrived; no character, bland, beige, effortless. You realise that you’re the one who brought life to it…

On the flight home, you vow to make changes to your everyday life. The problems that you left behind seem to have vanished and no longer seem pressing at all. You realise that life goes on, and you probably need to take time out for yourself more during the week. You ate out most nights for dinner – “why don’t we do that more at home?” you wonder. You vow to make use of restaurants and coffee shops as much as you did abroad.

As much as we enjoy A Holiday, toward the end we begin to desire the familiarity of home and our territory. It’s only through going away that we really understand the comforts of home. The things we take for granted. The people we left behind. Our safe routine.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe the art of travelling is all about coming home. We can fly half way across the world and find ourselves in a new place but, so long as at the end of it all, we come home…that’s what matters. Because it’s not our world that needs to change, it’s us. It’s our perspective. We need to give ourselves a break – not so much literally but, being as human as we are, we ride our own asses far more than anyone else. Our geographical location may never change but, as long as we do, that’s all that matters in life.

As T S Elliot said, “we shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

We leave the flight, we leave the Airport, and we’re at peace. We’re bronzed, sunkissed, relaxed, and ready to take on the world again…

And then, we see them. The people about to go on A Holiday. And they pity us for we are returning to the world that they have just left.

But we are wiser now. We’ve had our fill and we are ready to continue on in life until the next time.

Still, though…those lucky bastards.

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