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why does going to a place seem longer than returning from it?

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  • why does going to a place seem longer than returning from it?

    Silly topic that has nothing to do with primal living...or does it?

    Just wondering if other people experience this. Doesn't matter whether it's walking, driving, riding on a train...it always seems to take so much less time to return home than it took to get to the place. It seems to be more pronounced when the destination is an unfamiliar place.

  • #2
    I've noticed this too.

    My best guess is that it has something to do with stress. Even with my GPS up, I'm still ticking down the miles till I have to turn, trying to read the road signs to make sure I'm turning at the right place, and dealing with unfamiliar traffic patterns (is this a turn only lane!?!).

    On the way back I can go, "oh, this road takes me straight to the highway" and take the GPS down and cruise with half my brain.

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    • #3
      Anticipation?

      You anticipate what is going to occur (whether it's good or bad) and that makes you think about it more. The anticipation might provide a sort of psychological illusion that the journey taking longer than it really is.

      And on the way home, the anticipation is over and the journey speeds along without the psychological illusion.
      "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Drumroll View Post
        Anticipation?

        You anticipate what is going to occur (whether it's good or bad) and that makes you think about it more. The anticipation might provide a sort of psychological illusion that the journey taking longer than it really is.

        And on the way home, the anticipation is over and the journey speeds along without the psychological illusion.
        +1

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        • #5
          I find it's always the other way around. So much longer to get home than to go somewhere. I think it's because it's exciting to go somewhere. An adventure.
          Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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          • #6
            I get your OP, but with me it is variable - sometimes it is just the opposite, because I am chatting away in the car with the kids (SAHM) and that makes my trip seem considerably shorter, but on the return trip we all are tired from a day out at sports and lessons and shopping and all, and those miles home seem to stretch out like that hallway scene from the Poltergeist flicks.
            I have a mantra that I have spouted for years... "If I eat right, I feel right. If I feel right, I exercise right. If I exercise right, I think right. If I think right, I eat right..." Phil-SC

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            • #7
              Anticipation and learning, really. When you're going someplace you've never been before, you're trying to learn your way to someplace new, a state in which you become more aware of the passage of time. A lot of the same chemicals are released as those when you enter a state of fight or flight. When you are no longer looking for something, you're more easily distracted and the passage of time seems quicker.

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              • #8
                Also, when you're going to a place you've never been, everything's new - it's unfamiliar the whole time. On the way back, you'll reach familiar territory within an hour or so of getting home, so your brain thinks you've been home for a while before you actually get there.

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                • #9
                  Heh I've always noticed it takes me longer to get to work than it does to get home from work... despite the fact I'm in heavier traffic returning from work and almost none going to work and traveling the exact same route heh. I think it's just dread and celebration.
                  -Ryan Mercer my blog and Genco Peptides my small biz

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                  • #10
                    Opposite here as well. I was just noticing that on Thursday when I took a day trip with a friend to St. Louis from Nashville. The ride home took FOREVER.
                    Buy house, Demolish house, Build house.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Drumroll View Post
                      Anticipation?

                      You anticipate what is going to occur (whether it's good or bad) and that makes you think about it more. The anticipation might provide a sort of psychological illusion that the journey taking longer than it really is.

                      And on the way home, the anticipation is over and the journey speeds along without the psychological illusion.
                      Originally posted by vtphoenix View Post
                      Anticipation and learning, really. When you're going someplace you've never been before, you're trying to learn your way to someplace new, a state in which you become more aware of the passage of time. A lot of the same chemicals are released as those when you enter a state of fight or flight. When you are no longer looking for something, you're more easily distracted and the passage of time seems quicker.
                      Originally posted by Kata View Post
                      Also, when you're going to a place you've never been, everything's new - it's unfamiliar the whole time. On the way back, you'll reach familiar territory within an hour or so of getting home, so your brain thinks you've been home for a while before you actually get there.
                      These all make a lot of sense...but what would explain why some people experience the opposite? (the return trip taking longer)

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                      • #12
                        Because the way home is all been there done that. It's a waiting game. Waiting while a boring movie you've seen a million times plays on your field of vision.
                        Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                        • #13
                          OR, you could be returning from a three day music festival and be massively hungover

                          I'm the same BB - if the journey there is longer it's probably stress. Maybe due to venturing into the unknown. What's the traffic like? / am I going to be late? / miss the whole thing? / will i have to set up my tent in the dark? etc etc. On the way back you're returning to something known, so there's less stress (unless you're in the aforementioned situation )
                          "I think the basic anti-aging diet is also the best diet for prevention and treatment of diabetes, scleroderma, and the various "connective tissue diseases." This would emphasize high protein, low unsaturated fats, low iron, and high antioxidant consumption, with a moderate or low starch consumption.

                          In practice, this means that a major part of the diet should be milk, cheese, eggs, shellfish, fruits and coconut oil, with vitamin E and salt as the safest supplements."

                          - Ray Peat

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                          • #14
                            I googled it and apparently the "return trip effect" is a very real and highly studied thing!

                            One thing I read said it's likely not due to familiarity, but too much optimism about the initial trip. You think it will be shorter than it ends up being, so you're expecting a long trip home; but relative to your expectation, the return feels short. Also explains why you feel it more pronounced on novel journeys, since you've learned how long it takes to get to/from everyday destinations.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                              Because the way home is all been there done that. It's a waiting game. Waiting while a boring movie you've seen a million times plays on your field of vision.
                              And tired. On the way home I often just want to get in and go to bed, which seems very, very far away.
                              Buy house, Demolish house, Build house.

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