I've done a good bit of traveling in the last decade. At nineteen I moved totally across the US from New Hampshire to western Washington, and lived there for five years. During that time each summer I went on a coast to coast road trip to visit family and friends. While living there I traveled around the Olympic Peninsula at least twice. I even flew up to Alaska once for a few days. Since moving back to New Hampshire I still go on a road trip once a year to visit family. I've traveled through a majority of the states in the continental US.
I know I'm lucky to have been able to have these experiences. There are a lot of people who rarely ever get to leave their little area of the world, but would love the opportunity. (Heck, for all my traveling the only other country I've been to is Canada, so there's still a lot of the world I want to see, too!) Still, there's one experience I've come away with, that I wasn't really expecting when all this began... an appreciation for home.
Home, in this case, means to things to me. First, an appreciation for the actual physical home that I live in. My home isn't perfect, but staying in someone else's house for weeks at a time can really get you appreciating your own space a bit more. There's just a feeling that walking into your home after over a month away brings.
Staying in other's homes also teaches me what I am grateful for about my home, and what I want in my own home. As an example, while staying with my fiance's parents, he somewhat jokingly said to me we should each start a new game on his Steam account every week, so we'd eventually play them all. (For those not familiar with Steam, basically it's a service where you can buy and download video games, all digital, and they're known for having amazing sales, so you very easily end up with a large library without spending huge amounts of money.) His father said that we should each just buy a book of poetry every week.
Now look, I'm not going to get into the whole benefits and worth of poetry versus video games thing, but I am going to say that's 104 books by the end of the year. Now this is a man who has bookshelves completely filled (if not overflowing) with books in every room in in home. I know a home that is a library is the picture of heaven for quite a few people... but not me. It's not that I have anything against books, but being in crowded house after crowded house, it just takes too much out of me, I can't live that way. Through traveling I have also learned to live with less from day to day. Fewer clothes, fewer things. I'm not by any means a total minimalist, but I do find the idea that less is more works for me - and every year I find myself connecting to that idea more. I find caring for clutter to be emotionally and physically draining, and that's energy better spent elsewhere.
Still, it's more than all that, more than just the building I live in, it's also the land itself. When I'm gone I do miss New England - specifically the upper area of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The seasons, the weather, the feel and look of the land, all of it. Especially around this time of year. I passed through many states on the way home, and none of them really felt like autumn to me. None of them feel like home feels.