Coming Home


In the past few weeks I’ve traveled to Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Philadelphia, New York City (many times), and Maine (for college visits). While all my travels were amazing and inspiring, and I have no horror stories from the road (other than the strange fact that I constantly seemed just a few short steps away from people with Ebola), I found myself in a state a good friend of mine with a professional background (aka my therapist) calls “depleted.” Symptoms of depletion for me are slight depression, a tendency to cry more than usual, hopelessness, crabbiness, and in general, walking a thin line between being able to hold it together and…not.

So yesterday, when I pulled into my driveway (pictured above) knowing I’d be home for a while, I felt like—I just felt AWESOME. I was eager to go through the rituals of homecoming to get to that place where I could truly rest, recover, and replenish my depleted self.

Here are my coming home rituals:

• First, I have to take a shower or bath—wash the road from my skin. Peel off the layers of traveling dirt and grime and get back to my true self.

• Second, cozy, comfy clothes are required (preferably organic cotton, which, thankfully, is readily available at Rodale’s).

• Third, I have to cook something, something easy and delicious. Last night, I threw some potatoes and frozen sausage and carrots into a cast-iron pan with some olive oil and rested on the couch while the aroma of yumminess filled the air.

• Fourth, I have to just hang out with my kids and pets. Snuggle with them. You might think this would be farther up on the list, but the truth is, when I come home from traveling, it takes all of us a bit of time to warm up to each other and feel reunited. In other words, it takes a meal. Not a snack, but a meal. And sometimes a game of Solitaire or watching a fútbol game or playing Catan, a game I always call “Prisoners of Catan,” which annoys my kids, but I can’t seem to stop it.

• Fifth, we all need to go to bed early, without fanfare or drama.

• And last, we wake up and get on with our lives—school, work, writing blogs (because I am almost always super behind on that).

Why am I sharing this? Other than the fact that I’m behind on my blogs? Because sometimes people tell me that they don’t know how I do what I do, or I must be “so busy.” Sometimes we all think we’re not doing enough or that other people are doing so much more than us. But something all we need is to just COME HOME. And that means not doing so much. Allowing ourselves to truly rest and replenish. Allowing ourselves to just be our true selves, our family selves, our home selves. This time of year (Thanksgiving, Christmas, winter holidays), there will hopefully be a lot of homecomings for everyone. My hope is that you all enjoy and appreciate them.

I’d love to know what your coming home rituals are, too! Maybe I’ll add a few steps to mine. In the meantime…my seventh and final step: I’m going food shopping. Because when I get home from travels, my refrigerator needs to be replenished, too.

I’ll see some of you at the supermarket!


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11 Responses to Coming Home

  1. Laura Jo K November 3, 2014 at 10:59 am #

    Lovely post for a Monday morning. Thanks.

  2. Nikki Lindqvist November 3, 2014 at 1:44 pm #


  3. Alice Green November 3, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

    Well, my dad was a driller for minerals, so from the time I was born, 1943, until I was finally free of my parents, 1964, I had moved 53 times. In the 4th grade I went to 4 different schools. On my own I moved 13 more times, mostly in Colorado. Two years ago I made what I hope is the last move of my life, into an apartment building for folks 62 or older on a fixed oncome. It’s the best, greatest place I’ve ever lived. Due to a very bad back, I’ve had to give up movies, plays, concerts, anything that involves sitting for more than one hour. But I can still walk around art shows, Botanic Gardens, etc. No more travel for sure! So I guess my ‘coming home’ ritual is to feel total Joy that I finally have a home that I love, and Peace that I might never have to move again. And I feel that gratitude almost everytime I walk in the door after being out in the world, even if it’s just for a walk around the block. So I guess my Coming Home rituals are Gratitude, Peace and Joy. Thanks Maria for asking, I might not have realized how much I have to be thankful for without your question!

  4. Donna in Delaware November 3, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

    I just lost my mother. It’s been a grueling few days. I was living in a hotel, although clean and useful, I couldn’t wait to get home, and my husband either. We both were uncomfortable. As soon as I drove up in the driveway, I could breathe. I felt the tension melt away. As soon as I walked in the door, I got busy doing my usual. I first looked around to see if things were ok, from there I unpacked, put things away, put the dirty clothes in the laundry, hooked up the laptop, made sure the bed was turned down (oh, my wonderful bed) looked in the fridge for something good to eat and found some leftover homemade mushroom soup, some shredded barbecue chicken and boiled potatoes, whole grain bread and clementines for dessert. Organic herbal teas and seltzer water. That was dinner, and it was comforting!

    I have to go to the grocer and get some food. Like Maria said, The refrigerator needs replenishing whenever I get back home from a trip.

    We both said at the same time that it was good to be home. We felt so much better, calmer, settled, at ease. We could breathe and was ready to start the next day, as we have done many times in the past. There is nothing like coming home, nothing. It is familiar and warm. It is you!

  5. Maria Luci November 3, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    Donna, I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. My sympathies to you and your family.

  6. Judy Epstein November 3, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing your story about Betty!! What a blessing in your life.

  7. maria (farm country kitchen) November 3, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

    Donna, I too am so sorry to hear about your mother. She sounded like quite a woman! I wish you peace and comfort at your home…to everyone here!



  8. Rhonda A November 4, 2014 at 11:12 am #

    I am sorry for the loss of your mother, Donna.
    What an interesting article for me to read this morning! I just moved across the country from near Cleveland, Ohio to Seattle, Washington for a new job. I arrived last week and have been sleeping on an air mattress, sitting on a camp chair with a box for a table waiting for the movers to arrive. And trying to make this new place feel like home while I am missing so many people from Ohio and know just a few here. The first thing I did was go grocery shopping and made dinner that night. Ironically, sausage, potatoes and carrots. And then placed the few items I had packed in the car around to make the space feel more like home. The movers are supposed to arrive today (after two delays), so maybe when my furniture arrives I can really start “homemaking”.

  9. Donna in Delaware November 4, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

    I thank you all for your kindness and sympathy. It has been difficult, but I am muddling through. I’m still in a bit of shock, but I am getting things accomplished. We are trying to get some closure as soon as possible. Life goes on and we must go with it. Thank you all again for your loving support in this time turmoil and grief. I love you.


  10. Laurence Cuppernell November 4, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

    Take a look at this very insightful information that’s aiming at assisting all those about to depart on some travel activity get better value and save right now a potentially significant amount of effort in tracking down the things needed!

  11. Nancy December 31, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

    depletion – thank you for describing how I feel. I am finding strength in the fact that my actions to recover are similar to what you describe. I am finding strength from what everyone has shared. Thank you all.

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