Saturday, May 9, 2015

Home Sweet Home

I just returned from a trip to the Pacific Northwest... a place I have been dreaming of exploring for a long time, and also a place I once considered relocating to.

It's a beautiful part of the country full of every kind of landscape you could imagine. But it wasn't home.

I saw rain forests, waterfalls, scenic beaches, mountains and all kinds of flowers and trees. But after almost a week, I was getting homesick. None of the landscape in Washington felt familiar or comforting to me. I felt out of place.

Vacations do that to you. At first you're in love with how different and beautiful everything is and you begin imagining yourself living in this exotic new place. But as time goes on, you begin to miss the things that you can count on - the sound of the wind in your native trees, the bird calls specific to your region, the gentle slope of the land so familiar under your feet.

Which is precisely why vacations are so important. It makes you realize how wonderful "home" is; so things you complain about become special again and you once again appreciate your surroundings.

On this trip, I learned that I am not a "mountain" girl. I belong in the quiet coolness of a forest next to a babbling brook surrounded by ferns and the chorus of frogs and birds. I do not belong on the top of a mountain appreciating vistas as far as the eye can see.

My whole being down to my very core knows that I do not belong on a mountaintop.

Me on a mountaintop - scared to death!
Photo by Jessica of

Some people enjoy that adrenaline rush; my body does not know what to do with that much adrenaline. My lungs crave the humid moisture of a Wisconsin forest in the summer, not the crisp thin air at higher elevations. These are the things you learn when you step out of your comfort zone and try new things.

And I also learned that I can be apart from Charlie for longer than a day without it killing either one of us. And sometimes those short breaks are important for both human and dog. I needed some time to care only for myself, resting and refreshing my body and spirit. Charlie needed that time to miss me and appreciate how lucky and well-taken-care-of she is.

Our reunion was lovely and full of sweetness. Charlie has been just a tad bit more clingy and snuggly than usual since I returned and I know she missed our "conversations." We are both immersing ourselves into our old routine again, picking up right where we left off.

Home sweet home.