Friday, 30 October 2015

Returning from overseas travel

is a dislocating sort of experience. 
I have vague memories of this. It is a long time since I have travelled anywhere. The Senior Cat does not want to leave his own bed at night. I can understand that. He has done some travelling in the past and now he wants the comfort of home.
The Little Drummer Boy's family was away for weeks and the two children have found returning to school somewhat difficult. I wonder what the effect of missing nine weeks of school will be?
And our other neighbours have returned from their extended travels in France and Italy. Until yesterday we had only waved to them and exchanged nothing more than "Hello, glad you are back safely". They wandered over late yesterday afternoon to say hello properly. They brought small gifts, an interesting "backyard" picture for the Senior Cat and a curious tea towel for me. V does not intend for me to use it as a tea towel but she thought the weaving was rather nice. It is actually very special jacquard weaving and we agreed it might make a bag rather than a tea towel!
But they were both suffering a sense of dislocation. I know it is partly the jet-lag but it is also that strange sense of walking back into your own home and, having been absent for a time, seeing it with fresh eyes. Everything there is familiar but it is also strange. It is strange but familiar. How do you put that? It is as if you have to reattach yourself to your surroundings. 
We once had neighbours, two spinster sisters, who had multiple passports which were jam packed with stamps of where they had been. They were away at least once every year. They went to places like China before it became a tourist destination. They traversed the high Andes without the help of a tourist guide. They went just about everywhere you can think of apart from the Antarctic. They were real travellers. There were not many souvenirs apart from their scrapbooks of their travels. They went to  find things, see things, talk to the locals where they could. They tried the real local food and lived in the accommodation the locals used.
People used to ask what the point was. They wouldn't have any money left! They didn't have anything to show for it! 
But in their last few years they both seemed content to live with the memories of their travels. The scrapbooks would be open. They would relive their travels over and over again. The youngest child from the other side would wander in and spend hours listening to what they had to say. His school social studies projects were filled with their stories and pictures. He is now an intrepid traveller himself.
And yes, they too had that strange sense of dislocation on return.
"It's as if you don't quite belong anywhere but you belong everywhere," one of them told me.
Is this what they call "itchy feet"? 


jeanfromcornwall said...

The thing that struck me most forcibly after being away from home for more that a day is that , when coming in for the first time, it was possible to smell it, and it smelled strange. Just for a few moments.

catdownunder said...

fascinating - because I remember walking into an Oxford St store and smelling the cleaning fluid they used - and it was the same as they used in the shop around the corner from my paternal grandparents' home - and it smelled strange for a moment and overwhelmingly of home