Since I can remember, I’ve been intrigued by the notion of “home.” Hell, it was the only broad-enough topic on which I could conceivably fathom focusing my entire thesis portfolio for my second master’s degree, so it’s safe to say it’s fairly preeminent on the list of things that matter to me.
This isn’t a quantifiable or simply defined idea. I’ve moved around a lot in my life and have not yet ever owned a piece of property or a brick-and-mortar. The pop-up camper in which my tiny family currently lives is the closest thing to an actual “home” I’ve ever had, and I absolutely love it. But I’m still seeking.
One of the–if not the–most important reasons for setting off on this travel adventure was to find a spot in the lower 48 that could possibly be considered home for at least part of the year. As idealists, we’ve reckoned ways we could have multiple dwellings to prolong our “climate surfing” for a while, but even this idea is fraught with challenge. To begin with, I presently have an insanely awesome job (right–this doesn’t sound like a challenge. Wait for it.). Not only can I do my job from anywhere I have internet access, it combines all of my education, teaching, and writing experience into one happy little ball of professional goodness. On top of that, I’m honing more wordy sarcasm skillz and pop culture referencez than I knew possible. But all good things will end and the pragmatist in me accepts this fact, though the optimist in me is in full-denial, shaking her head and rolling her eyes (and maybe even sobbing a little).
So I won’t have this job for eternity. More and more jobs are becoming remote-optional, but the whole “finding-a-job” process is blech. And being in a place where there’s the possibility of finding a job that occurs in one location should probably top the list of reasons to move to a particular locale.
There’s also the simple fact that owning multiple residences is tough. The process of procuring a house or land is time-consuming and frustrating on multiple levels. And the idea of settling is not something either of us are willing to commit to. “Give me death before you give me complacency,”–or something like that. Who says I can’t have it all? This is America–I’m young and free–there are so many ridiculous maxims that could go here and don’t at all express what I’m really feeling.
We’ve been on the road for almost 17 months now. We’ve traveled from our home state of Colorado to both coasts and back again. And there is not one single place that can be considered the “perfect” home. I have contentions with and qualms about every single place we go, no matter how beautiful, accessible, or fun. Colorado’s winters are too long and miserable–though it’s a wildly beautiful place with the largest concentration of people we already know and love to pieces. The PNW’s rain and fog is enough to make me cry for days into buckets of anything-but-Starbucks because I’m trying to stay awake through the gloom–even if it’s got a wonderful amalgamation of ocean and forests. Austin was fun and the people are amazing, but I don’t really want to live in a city, and especially not one with such horrific traffic (Denver–I’m looking at you, too). Savannah is also compelling for a few reasons, but it’s so far from so much of the things we love. New Mexico has the nature, wonderful locals, and cheap housing that make it super-desirable, but there’s virtually no water (lakes, rivers, oceans) in the places we’ve explored as possible homes.
I am the living embodiment of that BS “Home is where the heart is” aphorism. But I also want a place to put our things, to paint the walls, to “nest,” if you will. Since this is the goal, at times, it becomes oppressive and all-consuming not knowing where home will eventually be. Sometimes, I feel frightened that there because there won’t be a perfect place, I’m going to be forced to settle. I’m down with having to change–even when it’s hard. I do it all the time. But settling takes more effort and has never been my MO. I think everyone has something in life that makes them scared, whether it’s feeling as if they’re not living up to their “potential,” or feeling trapped in a hopeless or horrible relationship, or anything in between. I’m acknowledging my own fear and continuing to figure out how to work with it, mold it, make it work for me. Which I suppose it has, in a way, since I’m sitting here writing something personal for the first time in months.
Thanks, fear! Next stop–home?