The Hero’s Journey and Travel

I jetted down to San Antonio for Thanksgiving last week, taking some time away from the frigid tundra this November seems to be like in Maine to go enjoy some sun and 85 degree weather with family. Of course, that also meant I had to get on a plane to get there, and faithful readers know just how I feel about planes. (Hint: it’s not a fond relationship.)

But today’s post isn’t about my hatred of planes. Instead, I’d like to focus on a positive aspect of travel. I love being at different places: exploring and discovering things I haven’t seen or done before. This trip had plenty of that. We went to a number of delicious restaurants. (Mi Tierra, The Magnolia Pancake Haus, Torchy’s*, Duck Donuts, and we explored the vastness of HEB (pronounced H. E. B., as opposed to “heb”), a San Antonio grocery store named after Howard Edward Butt. I tried to argue he should have called it “Howard’s End.” Talk about a missed opportunity.) We checked out the River Walk and the Alamo. We did a scavenger hunt downtown. We ate guacamole by the bucketful. San Antonio is a lovely city (though I was glad to get back to some winter and snow when we returned. Because Christmas.)

But instead of focusing on all the things we did on the vacation, I want to center in on the act of returning after the vacation is done. I know that’s often the saddest part of the trip, but in many ways, it sometimes feels like the most interesting to me.

Whenever I leave home, there’s a fair bit of stress that goes into it. The packing and the plane, but also the process of learning the ropes in the new city where you arrive. Where do you get the rental car? How do you get to where you’re going? Where can you eat?

When you’re on your way home, you’ve got that all figured out. You know the area. You pass stores you recognize. Places you’ve been. Maybe I did one too many papers in college on the Hero’s Journey, but that’s what it always reminds me of. You come back to the place you left, but you’re different than you were before you left it. Wiser? Who knows. But definitely more experienced.

A trip changes everyone on it in different ways. Seeing new places and new people opens your mind up to ways of thinking that might have been closed to you if you hadn’t seen or met. And that’s one of the biggest reasons I continue to travel as much as I do, even with my intense loathing of airplanes.

Anyone else out there do any traveling over vacation? Got any cool stories to share?

*Torchy’s Tacos did lead MC to proclaim it “the worst dinner ever” after she had an unfortunate run in with some jalapenos that led to her spitting her food out faster than Regan in the Exorcist can spew out pea soup. The rest of the family found it quite spicy. I loved it.

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1 Comment

  • By Melanie, December 2, 2019 @ 10:48 pm

    So fun! Going new places as a family is a delightful and somewhat stressful adventure. I have to admit that moment I slip into my own bed may be the best part of the journey home–because, “Toto, there’s no place like home!”

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