As the beginning of the summer approached, I began to wonder if I’d made a mistake. I looked at the schedule of travel my husband and I had committed ourselves to: nine days in Grenada visiting my grandmother, two days at home, one week in Europe (one full day in London, the rest in Paris), four days home, then eight days in Maine (driving at least seven hours each way—longer with traffic).
I love to travel, so part of me was excited, but given the short stretches of time we’d get at home between each trip, part of me was preemptively overwhelmed as well.
And then it turned out that what we’d planned wouldn’t be all of it. An unplanned trip was in store. While we were still in Maine, my grandmother passed away, so we returned home for two days before flying to Grenada again for seven days and a funeral.
Although I never quite caught my breath, each trip was a blessing. Our first trip to Grenada allowed me to see my grandmother alive one final time. Our trip to London and Paris was tremendously fun. We travelled there with a hilarious friend, saw my godmother in London, met my mother-in-law’s childhood pen pal in Paris, and had an altogether amazing time walking the streets, eating the food, and just existing in such an exceptional city.
As an added bonus, my recent commitment to becoming literate and eventually able to converse in French paid off. It was a thrill trying to understand and be understood in another language.
The trip to Maine involved a long drive there and back, but it was also a vacation that had few requirements: I could sleep as late and do as little as I pleased each day. And after the two previous trips, I relished that. I craved rest. I was a bottomless pit of tiredness.
Finally, we made the unexpected trip to Grenada. It was for a sad occasion, my grandmother’s funeral, but not a trip without good moments. It provided quality time with those I love most—my family. And although we were there to bid farewell to someone we will all miss dearly, we also had many opportunities to share good food, laughs, love, and stories.
I don’t regret the summer I’ve had, but I’m also really happy to be home after so much time away and a few different time zones. That’s part of the joy I find in travelling, bringing the memories of my trip home with me.
And yet, in some ways, I don’t feel fully at home. So much travel and such an emotional loss has left me feeling out of place even as I’ve returned to my place. A part of me feels lost. Each trip took something out of me and disturbed my equilibrium. And so I do not feel fully grounded even though my last flight landed more than a week ago.
That’s another aspect of loss. It is not just the loss of the person you loved; it is also a loss of parts of yourself that found their reality in that person’s presence. It is impossible to be who you were with a lost loved one without them. And so it is a slightly altered me that returned home after burying my grandmother. And perhaps that is why home doesn’t feel quite the same. It’s still home, but parts of me have changed.