I just got back from Vermont. I got in about 6:30 p.m., so tired I forgot to let the friend who takes care of my cat know my ETA. She arrived just as I did, and seemed relieved to be let off the hook.

I unloaded my bags of clothes and shoes, the cooler, and the groceries purchased on the way home, shoved them into the basement lobby, and drove the car to its assigned parking spot. After walking back to the lobby, I called the elevator, loaded it, and pushed the button for my floor.

When the elevator stopped, I shoved my stuff into the hallway, letting a neighbor board as I stepped out. It was only when I unloaded and started pushing the cooler down the hall I noticed unfamiliar décor and realized I debarked one level below that on which I live. I called the elevator again, pushed my belongings back into the car, and went up one more flight.

It took a couple of trips down the hallway to get all the gear to my door. Once it was all inside and the groceries put away, I made my supper.

I spent about a dozen hours sitting in the car over the previous three days. The walks I expected to take in Vermont became wonderful time spent in kitchens with my daughters and laughing with friends at the table. It was an excellent visit but all that sitting had my back feeling older than I like.

I decided I needed a walk around the block.

As I waited for the elevator to come and take me downstairs, a neighbor greeted me and asked about the weekend. “You do a lot of traveling,” she said.

I answered this month has been particularly full of road trips, and one more awaits me as May arrives.

“You need some time for yourself,” my thoughtful neighbor told me. Boy, do I. All my busy-ness these last few weekends has been time with family. Next week I will camp with friends I have not seen since the plague began two years ago. It is all stuff I want to do.

After that, I plan to reduce my number of plans, to travel closer to home, and to sleep in my own home at night.

After months of careful visits and limited road trips, It feels so good to sit at crowded tables and in packed living rooms, hug people, to hear their stories, and to share my own. But my neighbor is right.

Emotional energy is recharged when time is spent with people we love. But the body has its own demands. I have been home for three hours, the cat is sitting by my shoulder asking for attention, and it is time to sleep.

Shlomit Auciello is a writer, photographer, and human ecologist who has lived in Midcoast Maine since 1988. Letter From Away has appeared online and in print, on and off since 1992, and is published here on a weekly basis.