A large part of travelling consists purely in waiting, with all the attendant ennui and depression. - Damon Galgut, "In a Strange Room"The first thing that I do when returning from a significant trip away, is to try to keep the feeling. The feeling of being there; "there" being the place I have just returned from.
Even on day-one, I am conscious of the feeling, the touch of the place that will continue to fade into a personal and muted history. I always try, although I know it is in vain, to "keep the feeling", to hold it in my mind, to capture the essence of the experience that grows further away ever minute.
I even have tactics, mechanisms to keep my memories alive. I try to keep, for as long as possible, all physical evidence that I have been away.
First there's the luggage. I used to unpack as soon as I got in the door. But now I do so on an as-needed basis. It is now three weeks since I returned from Melbourne. What's in the case? I take a look. A summer dress I bought at David Jones. It'll need to be dry-cleaned and it is winter here in New York; it can stay there a while longer. A power adapter for my Australian mobile phone. No point in removing it. Summer sandals. An umbrella - Melbourne weather! Summer tops. I close the lid. It is getting painful.
Another tactic is not to pick up my paper mail. To do so is a sign of settling back into the routine of being HERE, not THERE. After a week my ingrained conscientiousness gets to me and I collect it from the box downstairs, sort out the junk, pay bills. The mundane-ness of being back. It's too much. I decide to collect it weekly now instead of daily as I have always done before - perhaps my Melbourne-feeling will stay a little longer.
I keep using my manual toothbrush that I took to OZ. My electric one stays on its base in the bathroom - all dried-up. Good!
But I know that soon I'll empty the case, start collecting the paper mail daily. I'll even make dental appointments.
For today I had my nails done at my local nail salon. A routine New York event. Back! The nail polish I'd worn to Australia was growing out anyway. It's gone now, replaced with blue.
I chose the color well.