My husband Alex has this rule for travel he calls the “85% rule” for when to expect homesickness. It’s a pretty simple concept. You will feel the maximum amount of negative emotions as you begin the final days or weeks of your trip. But it clears up once the trip nears completion. You will feel worse when your completion bar is at 80% than you will at 99%. In your final day or even hours you will wish you were staying but two or three days before you will wonder why the fuck you aren’t already home
This rule holds true for business travel and personal. It’s remarkably consistent on short trips and as I discovered even month long excursions. I’m flying home to Colorado tomorrow which is a Wednesday. But last Thursday and Friday I was so done with being in Frankfurt. I just wanted to be done with it. I debated looking for earlier flights.
Thankfully Alex reminded me of the 80% rule. He encouraged me to feel the homesickness and sadness. Enjoy the discomfort even. And that by the time Tuesday rolled around I’d be sad that I was leaving Germany behind.
And just as he predicted today I was hit with the wave of happiness and nostalgia that comes at the end of a long enjoyable stay. I had to walk into the city center to get my Covid test for my flight back. As I finished up the errand I found myself slow walking back to the apartment to put off packing. I went by the big indoor farmers market to get a snack for the airplane. I veered over into old town to take one last look at the architecture. I even popped into a souvenir store to eye expensive cuckoo clocks and beer steins. I normally hate knickknacks.
I’m enjoying an immense wave of satisfaction and nostalgia. This trip has gone even better than my wildest fantasies could have imagined. I’ve reminded myself of my priorities and independence. It’s given me a new appreciation for my marriage and it’s importance to me. I’ve pondered been insights into my motivations and coping mechanisms. I wish I could stay longer to pursue the history of a city that perfectly aligns with my historical, economic and aesthetic history. I guess the 80% rule works. I’ll head home in the morning.