The saying goes that every journey begins with a single step, but what they don’t mention is that a trip away ends with a feeling of stress as you approach home.
We’ve recently returned from a road trip around the lower half of New Zealand’s North Island. Because of lockdowns and Covid outbreaks, it’s been some time since we’ve been away on a long trip. There was a lot of driving involved, but with no specific time demands, we had a wonderful time and started the return trip nicely relaxed.
But then you reach the outskirts of your town or city. You drive along familiar roads until you turn into your street, straining to catch a glance of your house. Is it still there? Is the roof still attached, or is the entire building a blackened mess? Phew! It all seems to be in one piece. No police or firefighters trampling over the few remaining items strewn across the garden.
You unlock the door and there is the slightest pause before you can bring yourself to look around. Has your home been stripped bare by thieves? Everything appears to be in place and with no sign of squatters either. Even better, after inspecting the cupboards you can breathe a sigh of relief that you don’t have to contend with an invasion of insects.
And, yay, the indoor plants have survived. At this time of year (winter in New Zealand) we don’t have to worry about the garden being a shrivelled mess from the sun and lack of water, but it was good to see the wind hadn’t blown down the sheds or trees.
These days that’s about it for us, but when our children were younger the next worry was the assorted pets. No mobile phones meant no advance warning that the dearly loved hamster/rabbit/fish had gone to the pet place in the sky.
After the unpacking has been accomplished, hopefully with no missing items, the washing machine’s holiday is over, and within a day or so it’s as if we’ve never been away.