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Still Waters

Why the journey home often seems to go faster

16 posts in this topic

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Still Waters

You may have noticed it the last time you went on a long journey -- by foot, by car or by plane: the outbound portion of your trip seemed to take a lifetime, while the (more or less identical) leg that brought you home felt like it flew by.

Scientists have noticed this "return trip effect" too, and are beginning to hone their understanding of why we experience it.

http://www.latimes.c...0610-story.html

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lightly

You may have noticed it the last time you went on a long journey -- by foot, by car or by plane: the outbound portion of your trip seemed to take a lifetime, while the (more or less identical) leg that brought you home felt like it flew by.

Scientists have noticed this "return trip effect" too, and are beginning to hone their understanding of why we experience it.

http://www.latimes.c...0610-story.html

oya, i've noticed that many times.

i think maybe the bolded above is the key ..taking the same route both ways. On the way there.. i think perhaps you are paying more attention, and may be a little more anxious about the trip. On the way home, or back, you tend to relax a bit more.

If you take an equal length but entirely different route back ... it won't seem any shorter.

*

Edited by lightly
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MissJatti

Of course it will longer going on holiday/trip, you have kids and elders screaming. "Are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet"

It's the excitement that seems like the time goes slower going than coming

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paperdyer

Sounds like someone's looking for some grant money to study this further.

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keithisco

I have been considering this for some time and have come up with a theory that seems to make some sense that Lightly touched on:

When travelling a new route your brain is more alert to your surroundings, everything is new so needs some subconscious sorting and classifying, possibly even looking for "threats" as a survival mechanism. On the way back, your brain recognises the surroundings and so does not need to store the information again, this means you do not need to watch your footfalls as closely. Possibly related is the strange sense of time distending when in a threatening or potentially dangerous situation (reports of experiencing slow - motion when drowning, falling from a height etc) - when your situation is not potentially threatening then perhaps your perception of time returns to "normal". Just a thought

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RedOctober

Hike the Grand Canyon and this won't be the case.

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Kiltedmusician

I've heard that this is how ocean currents were discovered. Sailors noticed that it took fewer days to return from a trip every time they went to a particular location and a current was discovered along their route. I think it's the same thing mentally. You fight your way there and then drift back home where your own fridge and chair await.

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CRYSiiSx2

It's anticipation. Nothing more.

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mesuma

Not for me but I'm usually hungover.

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little_dreamer

Return trips seem longer to me because I usually just want to get home. Also there is no sense of anticipation, so the time just drags on.

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McFakename

Moved to be closer to my wife's family but now have to drive over 2 hours to visit my family. My wife and I have noticed this and discuss it every other trip or so. Best I could come up with is looking forward to being back in the home aka comfort zone...?

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Sundew

On very long trips, and sometimes on short ones, I have noticed just the opposite. I feel like it takes forever to get home. Perhaps it's because I enjoy being home more than being away. So it could be it is anticipation that makes the trip seem longer or shorter depended on where you would rather be.

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grandfunkrailroad

Well when walking home from the supermarket with my bags full of groceries, the returntrip feels a lot longer

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Still Waters

I think it mostly depends where you're going and the reason for going there. If it's to do something you like or are looking forward to, the journey to get there can feel long and drawn out. If you'd rather not be going then your destination seems to arrive all too soon.

Coming home I usually find journeys do go much quicker regardless of where I've been.

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nothinglizx2

its more anticipated.

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mfluder

The writer of this article has apparently not flown back from NY to LA between two very large, very sleepy people.

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