Kayla Doris

The Restorative Power of Going Home

Kayla Doris
The Restorative Power of  Going Home

This month on the Reset Instagram and website, I’m exploring the theme of home, how it shapes us and what that means for our travel experiences. Follow along on Instagram and get involved in the conversation - I’m always keen to hear others experiences on these subjects!  

I’m in the final week of exploring home; we’ve covered what it means to us, how much it shapes us and why we leave, and it feels like there’s just one thing left to cover - returning.

In all the talk of the transformative power of other places, I haven’t forgotten the restorative power of home. When we talk about travel, we think about our future selves - who we could become, what we’ll learn and see - but when we travel back home, we’re reconnecting with our past selves. As much as I talk about leaving and unfamiliar places, I started Reset because of my interest in how much our environments affect us - and returning home can subdue us in ways that nowhere else in the world can.

Returning can have different meanings for everyone. It can be returning to your childhood or family home for the weekend or it could be returning to your birth country or even your parents birth country. Whatever it is for you, the shared feeling between them is that you’re returning to a place of familiarity and belonging. It’s where you have roots and connections. Where new environments make us discover different sides of ourselves, returning to old ones remind us who we were before. In ‘Women Who Run With The Wolves,’ Clarissa Pinkola Estes describes returning home as ‘returning to one’s self.’ When the stresses of our adult lives get too much and we’re feeling overwhelmed, returning home can rejuvenate us because it can almost feel like returning to our child selves (which some people say are/were our most authentic selves).

Admittedly this isn’t always a good thing. I have mixed feelings about returning home as when I return I feel like my anxious teenage self again. I worry about running into people that I went to school with or get frustrated with how everything’s remained exactly the same. But that sameness is also comforting. When the world is moving so fast around you, returning home can feel like finding your feet after a whirlwind. It keeps you grounded - you might be important in your workplace but at home you’ll always be remembered as who you were when you were growing up. You can’t pretend you’re important here with people who have seen you through all the most embarrassing and awkward stages of your life.

While there’s so much talk about what happens when we leave our comfort zones, magic can still happen in the comfortable places too. Returning home is where we go to recover and remember, to get some space, be looked after, spend time with family and just for a little while, revert to our past selves. Remembering the values and dreams we once had can help us get our lives back on track more than any #selfcare routine ever could.

Suggesting watching: Sweet Home Alabama. City girl returns to her Southern roots to cut her last tie with home - her husband. She’s been separated from him for 7 years but returns to officially file the divorce so that she can marry a well known New Yorker. “Bound and determined to end their relationship once and for all, Melanie sneaks back home to Alabama to confront her past, only to discover that you can take the girl out of the South, but you can't take the South out of the girl.”

Photo by Peter Mason on Unsplash