I have a confession. I am not normal.
Who is? I hear you say.
No really, I am not normal.
I hate holidays. Not having time off work – I’m not that abnormal. No, I mean going away on holiday. I hate it. Hate it. Hate it.
It doesn’t matter where it is, or for how long. As soon as I get there I immediately start pining for home and suffer from terrible homesickness (not a vague depression, but an acute physical reaction, with vomiting and stomach cramps). I always used to put it down to a tummy bug, but it happens when I holiday in the UK, and without fail, as soon as I start the journey home, I begin to feel better. Once I cross the threshold, I am completely cured.
I’ve given up worrying about it or pretending otherwise. I am a homebody, and luckily I married a man as equally averse to travelling as I am.
The only thing I love more than being at home is being at home with both my children tucked up in bed, which at nearly 19 and 17 is rare occurrence these days; even more so since our daughter left for Honduras in August for a year’s volunteering and travelling.
She, as you’ve probably gathered, does not take after me, or her father. Her rucksack, covered in badges from places like Cambodia and Nepal, India and Thailand, belonged to my sister. My adventurous and determined sister, who filled her niece’s head with tales of exotic palaces and fragrant bustling markets, when she came to live with us in the last few months of her short, but drama packed life.
Ever since then (five years ago) our daughter has been adamant she would take a gap year after her A-levels. And ever since then, I have been trying to convince our daughter that 18 was far too young to go travelling and wouldn’t it be better all-round if she waited until after university.
Of course, my adventurous and determined daughter listened to her aunt, who, as she is dead (with all the glamour of dying young and beautiful) held an unfair advantage over me. Thanks sis. Not.
So with a heavy, heavy heart, I said goodbye to her in Heathrow terminal 5, four months ago. And of course she loves it there (for the most part), which is obvious by her lack of contact, unless she needs something.
But the other day she skyped me, not because she needed money or was feeling poorly, but because she wanted to ask if we would like to come out to visit. She wants us to meet the family she is staying with and the project she is working on.
My stomach flipped over, not in nervous dread, but in actual excitement. I miss my daughter. Her laugh. Her scent. Her jingly jewellery. Her funny songs. Her nicknames for us. Her energy. Her soul.
And unbelievably, one week later, everything is booked, even down to the airport parking (you may have gathered I am not one for spontaneity). Despite the fact Honduras is not what you would call a tourist friendly country – San Pedro Sula (which we fly into) has the dubious honour of being the murder capital of the world (though to be fair, this relates to the drug trade, fueled by the usage of cocaine in the US and of course UK) – I am still excited.
I finally get what all the fuss is about. I can genuinely join in the conversations at work (rather than feigning excitement). Except, for me, going to Honduras is a cure for chronic homesickness, brought on not by location this time, but by separation from a little bit of home. My daughter.
I know she will never live at home again, properly, as a child. But wherever she is, I know that is where I will want to be.
Maybe I am not such a homebody after all. And just maybe my sister is laughing at me.
If you weren’t dead already, darling sister, I think I might just murder you. But also thank you for giving my daughter the confidence to experience the world without fear, and in doing so, give me the incentive to see a little bit more of this wondrous planet that you weren’t ready to leave and would have loved to have visited with me.
Honduras here we come! Adios!
Anyone else hate going away as much as me? Or maybe there is something else that everyone, except you, seems to love? Share your quirks here. I won’t judge, much (unless it’s really freaky).