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As a kid growing up in Townsville, North Queensland, travel was so exciting. Getting out of our little town, going to see my Melbourne grandma, the smell of the suitcase my parents bought me to have as my very own, the little colouring-in pencils, fighting over the beds in the hotels. We were lucky enough to do a fair bit of this as a family and I treasure the memories.
Now, as an adult who travels largely for work, I still have that sense of excitement, except it’s more grown-up. I look forward to selecting my seat (with a little help from SeatGuru – check it out if you haven’t previously, it tells you where the toilets and babies are), treating myself to a gin and tonic and some cheese and biscuits and having guilt-free downtime. It still has a sense of wonder and possibility and that tempers the latest goodbye from my partner and our dog, Walter, who we think calls suitcases “sad boxes”.
Although I am traveling a lot these days, the thing that baffles me is I am still no better at packing my sad box. I haven’t perfected the T-shirt roll, bought the right tiny bottles for all my products and I always forget my chargers and toothbrush. Every time I travel, I think, “this time I will do it right, come on Harri” but I get carried away and every time I forget to wear an earring or pack a pin to ease the changing my sim card and I end up trying to sweet talk air crew for the use of their name badge.
While my packing and organising could use some work, travel has taught me something more valuable than the art of rolling clothes for a crease-free finish; and that’s just to be where you are. In Sydney I used to be homesick for Townsville, then I was homesick for Sydney in LA, then I was homesick for LA when I filmed in Vancouver but what I have only very recently learned is that home is wherever you hang your hat, just like the song says.
Travel has taught me to stay in the now, make the most of every place I go and not pine for where I was or worry about what everybody is doing back home. Because before I know it, I will be putting away my sad box and looking for my chargers again.