There Are Some Things I Miss When Away From Home
Just back from 10 days in Vancouver over the Christmas holidays, we are in the planning stages for plenty of travel in 2015:
- Bahamas for 3 weeks in February
- Caribbean cruise for 2 weeks in April (including another few days in Key West Florida before flying home)
- Road trip from Toronto to Nova Scotia (probably through the northeastern US (our first child, of 3 in Uni, is graduating university – YEAH!)
- River cruise – sometime to be decided
- Europe in the fall (still thinking on a 3 month itinerary)
- Maybe a family visit to Australia for next Christmas (so we can stay in the south Pacific and dive when the kids all go home)
But as we are looking to head out this year for even more time away, I know there are things that I will miss when away from home.
Last fall, we headed off to Italy for 10 weeks! I know this may seem like a short jaunt for many of the RTW travellers out there, but this is the longest we had been away for a consecutive period. While I have developed my travel planning skills, I won’t comment on my failure at mastering “Packing 101”!
Toronto in the fall is a great place, so escaping in September is not the driving force (like running away starting in December from the cold). We missed the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) and International Air Show, which in Toronto is the age old signal that the summer is at an end. While we saw a leaf to two turning colour in the Don Valley, we will miss the whole awesome colourful leaf changing transition from summer to winter. When the crowds and stars fill the town for TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), we will be missing (and we did not get our shit together to have rented our fully renovated condo on the lake for visitors through AirBNB!). Yes – there are things we miss when away from home!
There are definitely things we don’t miss when away from home. Having sold our 4-bedroom house a year ago for a great lakefront condo, we will not miss garden cleanup, this included mowing the rather large backyard we had. This job was one of the worst, it always seemed to take hours. One day, our friends told us that their kids had bought them a cordless lawn mower after reading some online reviews on Coolest Gadgets. Apparently, they review lots of products, from cool gadgets for guys to kitchen equipment. Perhaps, upon reflection, we should’ve looked into that website, maybe then we would’ve got one of those lawn mowers. After they got their lawn mower, they always used to say that it took them no time at all to complete the job. That might’ve made the job much easier. Anyway, that was just one of the jobs we didn’t like. We, also, will not miss raking the leaves, taking in patio furniture or winterizing the house. We simply cover our car in the garage, tell security we are away and set the alarm on our way to our next adventure! This leads me to my next point; before now we never bothered setting up a security system in our home, and I spent all my time whenever I went away, worrying about what might be happening to it. These days, there is so much technology out there that can help to keep your home safe, so I took a look at some of the best wireless alarm systems to see how they could help. After fitting one, we can now enjoy our holiday knowing that if someone tries to enter our home the police will be alerted, and we will also receive an alert wherever we are! I highly recommend it to anyone.
When we are away we are missing a few simple things of being in our own place:
1) When we redecorated our new condo, we made sure that everything was designed for comfort.
At home, I can use my computer comfortably at one of my office desks in our office room or on my lap in the sunroom. We have a relatively small home office but have made the most of the space.
Most European hotels or B&Bs (that we want to pay for) are tiny and if there is a chair it is what I think of as a “perch chair” (sit gingerly and briefly). I can sit on my bed to work on my blog or sit gingerly on the chair but both of these quickly grow tiring. Even though we haul iPads and sometimes computers with us for cafe breaks, we have yet to find a perfect spot to sit comfortably and work. Maybe we may have to resort to finding a library! This setup won’t work for too long …
I miss working comfortably when away from home!
2) The Jura coffee machine that makes my foamed milk latte with the mix perfected after a year of tweaking settings and trying to find just the perfect caramel syrup. Without this, my mornings are just not the same. That’s why we spent so long reading reviews and taking advice from www.greatcoffeebrewers.com before buying our machine – it had to be the right one. While it is easy to find lots of coffee spots in Italy, it will likely never be my perfect mix. The little machines in the room make coffee better than typical North American in-room machines but nothing can replace my perfect cup from my machine.
3) Our bed and pillow now meld to our bodies, enveloping us just the way we want. It is the thing I ache for most on the return flight. While beds in Europe are much better than most we have seen in Caribbean travels, it is sometimes hit and miss. Last year we were pleasantly surprised with how many hotels, small and large, offered pillow menus. Ensuring David has a good orthopaedic pillow ensures that Linda will not hear snoring all night!
4) It is nice to saunter into the kitchen for peanut butter and easy snacks at hand. We will really miss the peanut butter that some days seems to be our protein staple – it is never the same when you change brands! This is the food we most miss when away from home! While we picnic quite a bit when we are travelling, the ability to grab just cereal or toast for dinner rarely happens. Sometimes I just don’t want a real meal!
5) Chatting in real time with kids is sometimes a bit of a challenge at home. Our kids are spread across 5 time zones but factoring in the 6 hour time change for Europe adds another complex challenge to catch any of our kids when they are up and around. We can send texts and Facebook messages but it is nice to occasionally have a much less serial conversation on Skype.
When I close my suitcase to leave, I am always already way overpacked so there is no way to squeeze in that coffee maker or pillow! We may not find a real home away from home until we get over out inability to or discomfort with renting a house or apartment. It is a good thing that we really would rather be out exploring anyway!
What do you most miss when away from home?