Photo Credit Laura K. Deal

Over the last couple of years I’ve had a recurring theme in my dreams. I’m at a hotel/cabin/conference and am packing to go home. The actual packing of a suitcase is usually the opening for a longer dream, and the scenarios that follow or coincide with my packing vary greatly from dream to dream. I’ve talked about this image with a couple of trusted dream workers, and the strongest “aha” I got was the idea that I’m not “at home” with whatever my situation currently is, but that I want to bring along what I’ve learned from being “away” when I do return home. I’m still not certain what part of myself isn’t “at home,” though there’s always been a restlessness in my creative life, so perhaps I haven’t yet found my truest avenue of creative expression.

I know that writing saved my sanity, but after years and years of daily practice, it sometimes felt more like a duty than a salvation. Painting takes me to a very satisfying creative space, but the overhead of set up and clean up (and the lack of a good space) makes it less practical for frequent expression. So maybe there’s still something out there I haven’t encountered that would truly make me feel at home in myself.

Or perhaps this is a metaphor for life itself as a preparation for death. I’m gathering the things that the dream ego identifies with—clothing, primarily, which would be a shallow, outward presentation of persona to the world—in order to bring it with me when I return home/die. In this reading, perhaps the dream suggests that I give too much weight to how the world sees me, and ought instead to be focused on my creative life.

In the dreams, I’m never actually hauling my suitcases to a car or bus or airplane, but am just in the temporary space of the hotel or cabin, gathering my things into a suitcase. If I could get lucid in one of these dreams, perhaps I could better remember what exactly I am packing, beyond a vague feeling of it being clothes. At any rate, this is a perfect example of the dreamer being uniquely and selectively blind to the meaning of her own dreams. This symbol still puzzles me, and I welcome any projections.

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9 thoughts on “Packing to go Home”

  1. There’s something about this that reminds me of Salvador Dali’s larger then life sized sculptures of humans with chests of drawers in their torsos, an image I uncovered in myself somatically before ever seeing Dali’s interpretations of the same idea. The separated drawers might be a different variation since it makes me think of compartmentalization, but it is still packing, stowing, transporting, and unpacking things that you hold close.

  2. I find it interesting that my dreamscapes are so different from yours; very often when you write about dreams of certain subjects, I think “I don’t remember ever dreaming about that.” I suppose it’s because our lives are different. You travel and I don’t, so that metaphor isn’t as likely to show up in my dreams. But if I did have a dream like that, I would think of the times I’ve gone hiking and have come home rejuvenated with new ideas for my writing. The packing would be like gathering those treasures that I’ve found by leaving my usual sphere and getting some new perspective.

    1. Yes, I see that…gathering the treasures to bring home. I like the idea of gathering ideas for my writing, too. Thanks!

  3. I’ve had several similar dreams in this past year, of packing to leave temporary accommodation, and the I Ching described this year for me as to do with Travelling.

    What’s coming together for me is that while Travelling means I don’t feel altogether at home where I am, it also means I’m on the move to find my home. The immediate experience of awkwardness – of not being in quite the right place and living out of metaphorical suitcases – makes it easy to overlook the purpose of the journey. (Also, for me, home is the place where I, and those essentials I’m carrying with me, will be of full service.)

    I hope this is of some use… you can always leave it behind in the hotel room…

    1. Thanks, Hilary! I definitely get an aha off the idea of travelling being the message of the dream. A reminder that the journey is often more important than the destination. I appreciate the insight!

  4. I also have the same reoccurring dreams! A lot actually.. I am usually in a hotel in California packing to go back home to Arizona. Sometimes it’s some sort of conference with other groups of people around, and other times it’s just me and a couple of close family members. I always have the urgent feeling that I have been away from home for too long, and that I am staying at an expensive hotel and I must have racked up a huge bill! I also am desperately trying to pack up my things on the very last day to catch a flight back home, and it seems like my packing never ends..

  5. I have a recurring Dream at least 4 x a week that I’m out of town or State, even at college and I have only been their a week or couple days and I’m rushing to pack and I have brought a ton of stuff and wondering why did I bring so much stuff. Furniture, household goods, animals and crates,etc. it takes me all day till night and sometimes even the next day to get on the road and it’s usually a 12 hour trip but I never get home in my dream. I’m just always packing thing why did did. I bring all this stuff? I have been having this dream for over 3 months🧐 It’s driving me crazy because I’m tired in the morning like I really have been packing?

  6. I’m having recurring ,”packing at the end of a vacation” dream. It’s always in a holiday house or cabin. It’s often rushed, even competitive, against other families we’re with. It’s often the kitchen and items from the fridge, usually excess food that we have to throw out. It’s also often finding more items in cupboards and different rooms. It’s often frantic and I’m mostly working alone. I usually wake up feeling worn out, like I really was working all night!

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