Dina L. Relles

writer. editor. curious + common.

Before any trip, break, vacation, I feel uneasy and unsettled. On edge.

I am, after all, a lover of the ordinary day. A creature of habit. A homebody steeped in ritual and routine.

Now I’m sitting in the space of a sleepless night. Working through it with words.

As the distance widens between home and away, as the outline of the next everyday grows blurry and faint, far off beyond time and travels—suddenly my love of setting out, seeing the world, exploring the unknown temporarily abandons me. I want to get there already, have my experiences, and get back home.

But as I was readying breakfast this morning, my mind began to wander to vacations past. I would settle on a specific one:  say, two summers ago at the beach. Where were we in our lives then? Had the baby been born? Was my sister-in-law already pregnant? Had I switched jobs yet? Or was I just in the midst of applying for the new one?

Our deviations from routine, these blips and hiccups, are precious pauses. They force a stop. A stare. A look at who and where we are at a particular moment in time.

They offer an oasis, a way to stand stranded and suspended in the steady stream of life and look back, peer ahead. Recall and wonder.

We extract from tethers and tangles, perch on high, assume a new vantage point, examine the familiar and foreign from alternate angles.

It is the crack that lets in the light,
the exception that calls attention,
the examined life that’s worth living.
It is the peculiarity that prompts a question,
the irregular or off-kilter that catches the eye.
It is the ache that deepens the appreciation for comfort,
the absence that makes the heart grow fond,
the unsettling shift,
the side step from the well-worn path
that helps us take stock.

It is the wandering that leads us home.


14 thoughts on “the wandering that leads us home

  1. rudrip says:

    Ah, yes, Dina. I understand the dissonance that you describe. I also love my routine and hours before a trip I feel my own gut clenching, knowing that I will miss the hums of my home and the certainty that accompanies my day. Once I reach my destination, I start to notice and pay attention. I let go of my anxiety and try to sink into the present.

    Happy Holidays. xoxo

    1. YES. Missing the rhythms and certainty of home, but then sinking into the moment once away. That’s it exactly. Warm holiday wishes to you too. xo

  2. Oh, precious pauses is so true. I struggle similarly with the resistance to going or even doing sometimes. I cherish the memories of when I’ve said yes. This is the perfect reminder as we head into a fresh new year. xo

    1. Saying yes…absolutely. Like just last night, when the boys wanted to play by the water’s edge fully clothed & with their only sneaks. Tempted to hold them back, but letting them go, come what may–memories were made. And shoes will dry.

  3. Yes, yes, and just so much yes. I am a lover of the ordinary day too, and adventuring and leaving my comfort zone causes me discomfort. But I’m also always so glad I did. xox

    1. No doubt, I am always so happy to have gone and done in retrospect…

  4. Lara says:

    So fitting for the approaching new year. We are traveling late next month but we’re taking only Mia with us and leaving the boys with grandparents, and my heart has been in dissonance. I’m so looking forward to the quality time with Mia but I know I will be just as happy to get home to the boys. When I dwell on it too long, I too am ready to just get there, have the experience, and return home. I have no doubt your words will follow me as we go, and I will do my best to allow the pause in our routine to be an alternate angle from which to recall and wonder.

    1. Touched to think my words may travel with you…I can imagine how disorienting it must feel to travel with only one child, no matter how practical. I always feel slightly off-kilter when I’m not with all the boys. But oh she will love it, and you will too. Wishing you precious pauses, memories, and moments of wonder…

  5. bam says:

    oh, this is extraordinary. i got the shivers (different than goosebumps, more animated) discovering the common place we share, the unease with leaving, the pull to come home before we’re even gone. i find such solace in knowing, in reading, that i’m not alone. i’ve always considered it one of my quirks — the uneasy traveler, though i love being out in the world, can’t soak it up deeply enough.

    i love your positioning it as the pause, the off-kilter that catches the eyes, the peculiarity that prompts the question.

    i will nestle this to my heart, and pull it out next time i’m due to leave…..and i will know there is someone whose hand i can squeeze. as i squeeze yours now, and whisper, “safe travels. may you find peace where you go. and may the angles you see catch light….”


    1. “the uneasy traveler, though i love being out in the world, can’t soak it up deeply enough” — yes, that’s it. I keep thinking of these words, as they fit me too. An uneasy traveler, but with a love for being out in the world. How deeply comforting to feel your company in this. The only book I’ve packed for the trip is Slowing Time, so I will be carrying your words with me throughout. xo

  6. Oh, yes. I’m always happy when I get back home. The intense stress of leaving is usually worth it but the preparation and actual travel is awful for me. People say they love to travel. I would say something along the lines of “I love being other places, exploring, experiencing, creating memories…but I hate traveling”. If that makes any sense.

    1. It makes *perfect* sense–I feel exactly the same way. So comforting to know others do too, that you get it. Warmest holiday wishes to you, Sarah!

  7. Nina Badzin says:

    I get this so much. I am homebody x1000. I hardly want to drive anywhere let alone travel. But we are away, too. And it is good to shake things up. And I always love coming home, too.

    1. Yes…the coming home is one of the best parts. (Aside from the unpacking, of course ;)) Safe & happy travels, Nina!

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