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Thread: why does going to a place seem longer than returning from it? page 2

  1. #11
    BestBetter's Avatar
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    Quote 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.
    Quote 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.
    Quote 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)

  2. #12
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    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.
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  3. #13
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    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 )
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    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.

  5. #15
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    Quote 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.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjmc View Post
    I googled it and apparently the "return trip effect" is a very real and highly studied thing!
    Wow! That shocks me, I always thought it was just some weirdo thing I experienced. I can't believe it's actually been studied.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcatbone View Post
    And tired. On the way home I often just want to get in and go to bed, which seems very, very far away.
    Same here.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackcatbone View Post
    And tired. On the way home I often just want to get in and go to bed, which seems very, very far away.
    This... Trips home are always longer to me.
    I just want to be back in my own home and it's taking way too long, and that makes it feel even longer.
    Kind of like how you need to pee even worse the closer you get to a bathroom... and needing to pee makes the 14 miles to the rest area seem like ETERNITY, when normally you wouldn't even notice 14 miles out of 800 or so that might fly by out the car windows.
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  9. #19
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    The return trip is anticipation and exhaustion, sometimes. You're thinking about getting home and relaxing. You're tired and just want to get back home. It makes you experience time differently. For me, I get excited about going to a place. I don't get excited going home. My drive back is filled with thoughts of what I just did and the place from which I'm coming.

    For those that may experience a longer time getting home, what are your thoughts on the return trip? Are they filled with what you just did, or are they filled with what you need/want to do when you get home?

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by vtphoenix View Post
    For those that may experience a longer time getting home, what are your thoughts on the return trip? Are they filled with what you just did, or are they filled with what you need/want to do when you get home?
    The trip home is always shorter for me. What doesn't make sense is that I get fatigued from social interactions/going out even though I really enjoy them. So usually, when I'm leaving an event, I'm feeling really tired and looking forward to getting home and relaxing.

    You'd think this would make the drive home longer for me, based on what others have said, but I have the opposite effect. Maybe it's this way for me because even though I'm tired, I also tend to overanalyze and re-live experiences, so maybe that's what's happening in my head, which then distorts my sense of time.

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