Whenever we go on a vacation, the drive out doesn't seem terribly long, but the drive home always feels a lot longer. Usually with travel it's the other way around -- the familiarity of the return trip makes it seem to go quicker. But with vacations at the ends of long drives, I find myself itching to get home and wishing we could just be there already. This seems paradoxical; shouldn't I be eager to get to the vacation, and dread the return?
The trip out is when I'm winding down and switching from my usual "what do I have to do next?" mode of thinking, which lasted right up to departure since getting ready to go is itself a bunch of to-do items (packing, securing the house, etc.). But on the way back, I'm transitioning back into that mode of thinking. I've gone through the transition already in the process of packing and loading the car, and now I'm thinking about the things I'll have to do when I get home. The unpacking, the stuff that piled up while I was gone, and the stuff that I had to do anyway but that just got put off. In my mind I'm already back, the trip is over and I have things to do, and I just want to get started. Sitting idle because I can't start on them is just frustrating.
I watch the highway signs go by and keep counting how long until we're home, wishing that somehow it'll turn out I miscalculated and we'll actually be home earlier than I thought. It's not because I wish the vacation was shorter, far from it; it's just that I wish it had a more instantaneous all-at-once end. Maybe that wouldn't actually be good, maybe that semi-idle buffer time is helping me, but while it's happening I just wish it were done.