“Home, the spot on Earth supremely blest, a dearer sweeter spot than all the rest.”
What is home? What is home to you? It’s an interesting concept and one that can change depending on who and where you are, I’ve found.
Since my recent trip to the United States via Dubai, Prague, and Barcelona, I find myself rethinking the notion of “home.”
I mean, I was just “home,” but my home has always been more than one place in my mind. New Hampshire is where I’m from, always has been. When people ask me, that’s my answer. But I have to add I lived in Texas for 13 years. That’s where I owned a house, earned my master’s degree, worked, and have roots. But lately, home seems to be and feel wherever I end up in this world.
When I went back to my friend’s apartment in Bangkok, it kind of felt like “home.” I even had some stuff there, my backpack, and for a nomad, that’s my house, kind of anyway. All my stuff goes in it and I take it places, the same way a turtle takes his shell wherever he goes. Same same, but different, I know. I can navigate through that bag fairly well. I have a system to make packing a convenient breeze. My bright blue packing cubes double as pillows or leg props when necessary, and each houses certain items. The side pockets allow me to separate and organize my toiletries and a few other things I use on a daily basis. And while I sometimes pull everything out with the resulting mess looking like an explosion, it’s quite easy to tidy up and put back together, especially when I compare it to cleaning the 1,721 square foot abode in which I once lived.
When I have more than a few days in a place, I set my things up in a neat, orderly, accessible fashion. My shorts carefully folded next to a pile of shirts and tank tops, and along side, a small bag full of matching socks. The less you have, the easier it is and the more you learn to live without, the less you realize you need.
I’ve been traveling for so long, anywhere has begun to feel like home. Cheap hotels (because I’m on a budget), friends’ flats, an unexpected week in an apartment, crashing on someone’s couch… Even hostels feel like home. When I arrived in Siem Reap, I checked into my $9/night accommodations. I pulled out my packing cubes and placed them on my bed for easy access. I grew accustomed to having them with me at night after I had surgery because I needed to elevate my leg somehow and they did the trick. It’s also handy having all of your clothes in bed, but unlike before, they all fit into a small area. They are not left in an unwanted pile of laundry waiting to be put away! So, sleeping in a room full of strangers with my few belongings by my side has somehow become “home” to me. When did that happen?! HOW did that happen?
They say “Home is where the heart is.” I guess my heart is in travel and so that has become my “home.” I still think about my decision to finish up this adventure come next January and I still feel ok with it. But I wonder, once I settle back into the familiar, will I be bored? Will I need my packing cubes by my side? Will I dream of far off places? Will the rat race be enough?
Tonight’s sunset definitely made this spot sweeter than all the rest.
What unconventional places have served as your home?