I was recently back in the town where I used to live. I think I have been back three times since I left. This being the third time. This should be the last time for many months. Each time I visit I realize the space between that which was my home, where I used to live, and that which is my new home, my new life, becomes greater.
I make it a point to visit folks. Not everyone all day or every day. I am particular with my time and the visits and my money. I try to go to church and they make me laugh when they get confused. “I thought you left?” “I heard you moved?” LOL Yes I did and I did and I am back – again. Honest, I have been gone! Living on the road, just like I said. Volunteering and hiking and biking. Oh, and visiting breweries. Work here and there, too.
I explain that I have not gone far. The reasons are several. First, I wanted to get used to this way of life in a geographic area that was known and familiar. I wanted to be near my storage unit in case I had to make changes and in case this was a bust and I wanted to rent an apartment and put an end to this whole thing. It was such a radical and unique change to my life I needed to feel like I had some sort of home base and back-up plan. That feeling is now mostly gone. My home base, I have learned, is where I am. It is the Jeep and the tent and my totes. It is where I am now and where I have been. Home is where my stuff is.
I have visited my storage unit each time I came back and made deposits. Well, to the extent that I can jam anything else in there. I did take a couple things out, but in all honesty, I cannot reach anything. I have seen new parts of my home state and have been in new parts of adjacent states. I have traveled about 5000 miles and am still home. This makes me laugh and smile and feel somewhat unsuccessful. Like, here I go on my grand adventure and I have always been a one day drive from my belongings.
Then again…. I have had to change gear, get rid of things, buy new things. Add and subtract, exchange and eliminate. I have had to adjust how I buy and store food, how and when I wash, how and when I move around. It has been a learning curve. I forgive myself and embrace the approach I chose as my starting point. I have also picked up some temp work and that will help with the bank account. I have volunteered, which was on my agenda. I have sat around and read a book for an entire day and I have hiked my ass off for miles. I have done the things I set out to do and I was glad that I have been close. Glad I did not have all the stresses of change and adjustment and a new way of life added to being far from “home”.
This place I used to call home, that I said I was from, is home no longer. I am starting to adjust my language to better reflect my sense of self and sense of place. “Where are you from?”, I am asked all the time. “Eastern Washington”, is my answer. “Sort of of all over”, I continue. If that does not work, then I say “Spokane, Pullman, Medical Lake and a short time in Oregon and Montana”. That usually shuts the locals up. I may or may not share that I live on the road. I may or may not get into all of that. Each situation is different and what I choose to share varies. I empathize with folks in the military who are literally from nowhere and everywhere at the same time.
I will also be formally changing my address. Initially, I did not. I had my mail sent to my Mom’s house in Florida and just lied a little about my home address. I have no intention of becoming a Florida resident or changing my state of affiliation. This was just a temporary fix to the mail situation until I figured something else out. As usual, the answer came along the way. I was visiting “local” friends and was informed there was a mailbox service nearby. There was none where I used to live, nor was there one that kept me in this region, Eastern Washington, where I am from. I just lied and left out parts of the truth when asked. But, now, I have the answer. I have a place I can use as a real address and I can have my mail sent there and forwarded to me. I will have the truth on my driver license and on my paperwork and in my life. That will feel good because I hate not living the truth. I hated the little stories and embellishments, but they were necessary to get checks and former life documents. An address will be necessary for taxes, too.
In a month I will head East. I do not plan to be back here until the Spring. I am antsy to go, antsy to see and do new things. I mean new as in never been there before, as in be and see and do in places that I am not familiar with, that are not close to other places I know. I am feeling the urge to move on. I would have left sooner, but I am working and I can always use the money. During these periods of work I will be in some new places and see new things. There is always that.
Much like the life I used to live, the concept of “home” is falling farther and farther away. I am moving farther and farther away from who I used to be, how and where I used to live. I am moving closer to who I am and what I am about. I am learning more about what moves me, what I want and what I need. I am coming closer to my own home. I am fitting better into this skin that I am in and this life I am creating. It is like it was always there, but I did not bother to put that skin on. Now I am wearing it and loving it and embracing it. Dare I say I am working it??
As I continue this journey, I continue to learn what home is and means and how and where to make a home. Until then, home is where I hang my hat and pitch my tent and hike and bike. Home is that bright orange dome with the Jeep parked nearby. Home is comprised of totes and storage bags and camp stoves and water bottles. Home gives me joy and peace and fun and excitement. My home challenges me and makes me smile and frustrates me and soothes me. Home is where I lay my head. Home is also where my heart and my head and my soul are. Home is what and where and how I make it. It is not really even a place, it is more of a state of mind. Home is in your heart.
Home, sweet, home.