What I determined from the past few postcard themed posts is that people, for the most part, generally describe their travel as benignly as they possibly can. Which is interesting because although people travel with the impetus of leaving home but the descriptions of their travel reveal that they have actually taken a lot of home with them-- their vocabulary, their values and their ways of doing things. In a class I took at Wesleyan regarding the sociology of tourism we discussed how travel becomes meaningful only when daily rituals are disrupted and the predictability of routine is changed to create new ones. In fact, the longer you are away from home the more these disruptions have the potential to become normal eventually making the return to home disruptive of these more newly adopted routines.
I've never spent a significant amount of time in another country and every time that I've moved I've moved with the idea that it was going to be 'for good.' But I certainly had this experience of disruption from summer camp as a child-- my parents recall the weeks after camp as being totally miserable as I mourned my lost summer and refused to leave my room or speak to anyone in my family. When I worked for a camp in Vermont two summers ago the general pattern of four-week sessions was that some girls displayed extreme homesickness in the first week, but if they made it through that first week they climbed over the disruption and arrived in camp routine with two feet on the ground. Likewise, after going home tear-streaked and unlaundered, their parents would call camp pleading for contact information of other parents so that they could set up visits between their campsick daughters, deep in the throws of total withdrawal.
I've never moved back to a place that I've been to before and I wonder what this would feel like. Morgan and I leave for Portland today for Thanksgiving and I'm excited to see what all has changed since I moved away 1 1/2 years ago.