Returning Home
Photo courtesy of "camera_obscura".

Returning Home

Written by Emilie

Topics: Traveling

Ahh home. Sweet, sweet home.

Sleeping in my own bed feels amazing.

Working from the road was certainly doable, but I was surprised by what happened when I returned. Sure, I was exhausted and jet lagged. But as soon as I sat at my desk in my old “idea workshop” (bedroom), I was hit with a rush of creative energy.

Suddenly I needed to write, brainstorm, pound out my next masterpiece. I wanted to stay up all night and work. When my head finally hit the pillow, I used all the sleep-hacking techniques I could think of to make the morning come faster.

This is what I love– the feeling of waking up excited, itching to work.

It’s not like I didn’t have moments of inspiration on the road, but there’s something about having your own workspace, a little cave that you’ve designed yourself, where you go to dive in deep, and where you’ve been wildly productive in the past. That kind of energy can’t be replaced, even by the most charming of coffee shops (and I do love working in coffee shops).

My plan is to hang out with my family in Montreal for the holidays and then fly back to Portland on January 6.

People keep asking me if I really want to return to Portland after I fell so hard for traveling these past six weeks. The answer is a definite yes.

Travel vs Settle

Sure, I feel the urge to keep going, to travel for longer periods of time, and keep connecting with multipotentialites in different cities. But at the same time, I’m feeling an even stronger pull to set down some roots, or rather continue setting down my roots. I’ve already begun establishing a nice little community of friends in Portland, whom I miss dearly. I want to keep going and take it further.

The thing is, I don’t see the traveling and “settling down” mindsets as opposites. I think you can experience both at the same time. Obviously you can’t be in two places at once, but maybe there are other activities that will evoke those same feelings I got from traveling.

What I loved about traveling was meeting new people, having deep conversations, and experiencing how others live. These are the feelings I’m seeking, but they’re all things that can be achieved in Portland too, with a bit of effort.

There’s no reason not to continue saying yes to more opportunities like I did on the road. With a bit of balance, I can have my comfy dream (home, community, routine), and still experience the feelings I loved when traveling (excitement, adventure, connection).

It’s sort of like being a multipotentialite. There are a finite number of hours in the day, but if you’re conscious about how you spend them, you can absolutely integrate multiple projects into that one day.

What are the Feelings You’re Seeking through Your Interests?

I like the idea of identifying the feelings behind your interests and seeking those out. Do you really need to become a full blown professor to satisfy your love for teaching and inspiring people? Would you feel every bit as satisfied through coaching or public speaking? I’m not saying one path is better than the other, but these are questions to explore.

Often the limitations we see aren’t nearly as rigid as we think they are. Focus on the motivation, not on the specific activity, and you may be surprised by all your options.


Here are some photos from my trip. Locations include San Francisco, the Red Woods, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Big Sur, San Luis Obispo, LA, Joshua Tree, Boulder and Las Vegas.

Your Turn

Have you found a way to integrate multiple “drives” into your life, at a level beyond the specific activity?


  1. Manal says:

    I haven’t yet…I seem to be pulled by family life on one side including the parts I don’t enjoy but have to do (like the vomiting and bedwetting I dealt with at 6am) and with allmy other interests.. I think all my choices have to do with doing whats best for my family but I want to help others too. Still brainstorming daily..once I get the overarching theme, I think I can use it in all my life pursuits.

    • Emilie says:

      I hear you, Manal. We’ll keep at it. Certainly the convergence of all of your interests in one project will help a lot. Did you catch Chris Guillebeau’s post today? He talks about synthesizing your different “roles.” Very multipotentialite…×5/2011-annual-review-business-lessons/

      (there are actually a few odd similarities between our posts today. :)

      • Manal says:

        I will read through when the babies are asleep, thanks! I love his theme and site!!!

        It’s funny, your post to Stephenie mirrored my feelings today… I hit what seems like a breakthrough and it *feels* closer!

        Going to use this ‘breakthrough energy’ to do my About Me homework tonight and see how it feels.

        Thanks again,

  2. I totally hear you on setting down roots. I’ve been living in “limbo” for three years since moving to Hawaii because the person I was with was waiting for me to be ready to move back to the mainland while I was waiting for him to be ready to stay. I love it here, and I LOVE my apartment, I refuse to move. So I’m working to establish those roots. Decorate my home, ship everything I had in storage, etc. I have my office and I LOVE it. It really is where I love to be and create and I also struggle when I’m away… especially visiting people because there’s not enough quiet alone time!

    As for integrating multiple drives… I think I’m getting there. I’m driven by business/marketing, design, art and personal responsibility. I think the business I’m beginning to build combines all these things, or will in 2012. I just finished up a little 2012 planning party and made sure to find ways to incorporate all of these together. I’m so excited about what I’m going to be creating.

    You rock, and I appreciate you being here helping others combine their passions! xo

    • Emilie says:

      That’s great, Stephenie! I’ve realized that what’s important isn’t being “there,” but being on the path to getting there. Just knowing that you’re on that trajectory and enjoying the process. That’s what feels great. It sounds like you’ve absolutely got that in your life.

      Maybe the next time I’m in a travel mood, I’ll swing by Hawaii and you can show me around! Definitely a place I’d like to visit.

  3. Ethan says:

    I’m such a home body. I could never be on the road all the time and not have a “place” to return to. Yet at the same time, I yearn for freedom.

    I did a month long bicycle tour and that totally whetted my appetite for longterm travel. I’m working on building my own home (a tinyhouse) and significantly reducing monthly expenses so I can afford to both keep my home and travel.

  4. Annie Andre says:

    So glad you are getting to go home to montréal for the holidays. I’m not going back for christmas but waiting till spring.
    Im constantly synthesizing my multi passions for travel with my homebody side. slow travel- I.e. travelling but staying longer in one pkace is how I do it. Great to if you have kids like me.
    We are living in France now and make day trips to other countries which satisfied my need to travel. Having a home base in france lets me feel like a homebody, cook, hangout, relax etc. best of both worlds. Plus get to quench my entrepreneurial spirit while abroad.

    • Emilie says:

      That’s sort of how I feel about Portland. Montreal’s just too comfortable and familiar for me. PDX on the other hand, is a good mix of newness/adventure and comfort.

      Thanks for the comment, Annie André. Always nice to hear from you. Happy holidays!

  5. Manal says:

    I feel the same way about my small city…born and raised here and been a stay at home mom for 9 years… I am in definite need of some adventure and variety, but also stability for the kids. Day or weekend trips would be perfect for now!

  6. Josh says:

    Hey this is cool, I’m learning things about myself. This thought came when you asked the question about what feelings I’m seeking through my interests.
    For me it’s imagination becoming real, coming to life. I guess that’s why music comes to me naturally, and writing. Essentially what the arts do. The other interests that came later, martial arts, travel, etc. are about bringing into real life what I see in books or movies. Yeah, buddy. I can take this into account for future theme ideas.

    Btw, I like what you said in the email about creativity at the intersections. I’m gonna have to dwell on that.

Leave a Comment