I don’t travel as much as I used to these days. Having a little one at home changes your priorities a bit. I always do pretty much the same stuff in the days and hours leading up to departure. I spend a ridiculous amount of time cleaning my house as though its going on the market for sale. It’s mostly attempts to expend nervous energy. But part of me thinks about the way I feel coming home from a trip. I’m usually completely spent, and have no interest in cleaning upon my return. Plus, who doesn’t like to come home to a clean house?

I always pack far more than I need, not considering how heavy things in luggage become, especially after hauling them through the airport. I’m realize this too late, usually while standing in the airport security line, and my back is already starting to twinge and cramp up against the weight of all the stupid crap I just had to bring with me. Even more common than the overpacking is my excellent skill of forgetting the important stuff, like appropriate shoes, or enough underpants. These aren’t things you can just pick up at the airport. I tend to begin vacations with such good intentions, books I’m going to read, good habits I’m going to start, and the like.

What I forget is that travel is one of those things that triggers my emotions like a wounded animal. At the first sign of hassle, error or inconvenience, I begin reacting like a hysterical crazy person whose civil rights have just been violated. I do my best to plan for all the contingencies, but the unfortunate inevitability of travel is the good faith effort and trust you place in others to get you to your destination.

Most of the time, the universe cooperates, but we’ve definitely been there when Murphy’s law was tested to its fullest extent. Of course, the crazy-making rituals don’t do much to help when that happens, but it does set the stage for the inevitable sigh of “there’s no place like home!” when I get back.