The signs became more familiar. I started to recognize cities, highways, byways, and knew exactly where to go without a map. I was headed back to the place where I started. I was headed home… or was I?
I have written a lot about this concept of home. Technically, I do not have one. I am home-less, sans domicile, no permanent structure in which I live, sleep, eat. No permanent place that will protect me from the elements, provide safety and shelter, or that holds my belongings. I am transient, I am a nomad, I live on the road.
I drove from Nevada to Oregon. I know Oregon, I lived there once, I traveled there tons. I did not recognize the cities in these unfamiliar parts; I still did not feel home. Then I got closer to those parts I did know, traveled and lived in and around. I knew these places! I put the map away. I knew the way to my overnight stay. I knew exactly where I was and where I needed to go. I was excited to see familiar mountains and hills, though not so much the freezing rain and the snow and the winter weather. I arrived safe and sound, ate a great and complete meal, slept like a baby. That felt good.
The next day I was headed to my final destination in Spokane Valley, WA to house sit for my friends. I know I have mentioned this before, my commitment to them, my gift so they can travel and live worry-free down south for the month. Happily I made my way to their house. These roads were now all familiar and I also knew the backroads and small towns and most places in between. This place did not look any different than any other place I have been for the last ten months. Though familiar, I was not moved with emotion. This was just another travel day. Still, I happily did not need a map.
I checked in with myself – what was I feeling? Did I feel home? Is this it? How am I?? To be honest, I felt like I felt when I was moving to a million other places. I was excited to see my friends and I knew I had a lot of “life” business to take care of with appointments and Jeep maintenance and getting my mail. But, I was not over the moon. I was not clapping and squealing like when I arrived at my Mom’s place in Florida. I did not feel a grand sense of accomplishment. In fact, I barely felt anything. Heck, I had been more excited to hit my next campground than I was to be in this place I have called home, Eastern Washington. I felt just like I felt when I was traveling through someplace to arrive at my next home stay or visit. This felt no different.
These feelings, or lack of, surprised me. I saw the places I used to visit or work or travel on a daily basis. I saw stores I shopped at and restaurants where I have eaten. I also saw buildings I did not recognize, neighborhoods that have disappeared and others that came out of nowhere. I saw signs for places I did not recognize. I laughed every time I saw a WA license plate because I forgot where I was, got excited to see a fellow WA car, then remembered that is where I am. Silly pilgrim. Yes, here I was, literally back where I started. I thought it would feel different.
I had started to reach out, make plans to visit folks, schedule my TO DO items, order my mail and assess my supplies. I will be sending my friends off soon then unpacking the Jeep for our stay. I will be organizing and cleaning my stuff once again. This routine is familiar, this process I know, this has been repeated all around the country. This is my life. None of these places at which I have performed these tasks have been home. I am welcomed and at home and comfortable and cherish my time with loved ones. But, all of the places over all of the months are still not home. I still need a map to find things and have the same challenges. Where to next? How to occupy my time? How to stay fit while in the city? Where is the closest brewery? Car wash?
I am in a place where people who love me reside. I will visit them and we will connect and it will be grand. I am in a place where I have lived, loved, raised my child, worked, spent most of my life. I know some parts, yet others are new and unfamiliar. This does not make me feel at home. I am not home. This is not my home. I am OK with that. I embrace that. I am not sad or disturbed. I am a bit surprised by this feeling, but I will go with it and know it as my truth. I have grown and I am at peace and I am happy each and every day. I feel more like myself in this unfamiliar place that casts shadows of my past. I feel like I know this skin in which I live. I feel more at home with myself than ever before.
Ends up I do not currently need a home to be happy and at peace and feel joy. I do not need a home to live my life. Not now, anyway, not at this time and not in this place. Ends up I really am happy in this nomadic pilgrim life. I really have my home with me at all times. I truly am home no matter where I am.
Cheers to the place you call home. May it bring you comfort, peace and joy.
May your home be all that you need your home to be!