How Long is Two Months of Travel?
What is two months of travel? For some, this may seem like an eternity. For others, two months of travel isn’t much time at all. Looking at the calendar, this week marks the two-month anniversary of me being home from my two-month stint in Europe. Two months is the longest I’ve been away from home and now, I’ve been home for that same amount of time.
When I started planning my trip, my goal was to be gone for at least two full months. The truth is I thought I’d be gone for longer – a lot longer. But I decided to come home after two months. I felt ready to go home, and started looking for flights. After all, I had kept the two-month minimum promise to myself.
I realized that if I didn’t book a flight for early-to-mid December, I’d have to wait until mid-January to come home (darn crazy, overpriced Christmas time travel). The truth is, I wasn’t ready to spend Christmas and New Year’s away from home and I could only stretch my budget so much. The cheapest travel trajectory I found was a flight from Rome to New York City, and then New York City to Montreal (MTL = home). I decided to stay a couple of nights in NYC, since the plane ticket was so cheap.
Staying in NYC for a couple of days turned out to be the perfect transition to going home to Montreal. I was still exploring a new city, but I was in North America and closer to home than I had been in two months.
I was on my own for the first three weeks of my time in Europe. Three weeks in I met up with my sister in Amsterdam. We spent three weeks together (with a few days on our own in different cities). Then, right after I said goodbye to my sister at the airport in Rome, I met up with my dad in the same airport. We drove around the South of Italy for two weeks. Then, I went off to NYC to close the trip as it had started: me, on my own, exploring.
I was away for two months but this wasn’t just one trip. I had three (maybe even four, since NYC felt so separate from my time in Europe) completely unique experiences – from being on my own in Spain, Portugal and Paris to exploring Northern Europe, Budapest and Rome with my sister and to experiencing the South of Italy with my dad. Remembering how I felt, how quickly it seemed I would go off to the next city, after feeling like I had just arrived in the other, the two months felt so short. I always wished for an extra day or two in each city. But looking back, I see that in “only” two months, I had three unique travel experiences that will never be duplicated. My decision to travel encouraged my sister and my father to meet up with me and have their unique travel experience too.
When I arrived home, I realized how long two months really is. Everything at home felt surreal. My room didn’t feel real. I had been so used to living out of a tiny carry-on luggage that having a whole chest of drawers and a closet full of clothes and “things” felt excessive. I really felt like I didn’t belong and I didn’t really remember what it felt like to be “home”.
Now, two months in to being home and it feels like Europe was years ago. I’m (almost) back to taking my “things” for granted. How quickly we adapt to our surroundings and circumstances. What is two months of travel? What is two months of being home? I thought two months wasn’t “good enough”. Enough for whom? What is too little? What is too long? What is enough? T.S. Eliot wrote, “the journey not the arrival matters”. I’d say the journey not the sojourn matters.