The concept of home and being rooted is one that I often struggle with. I don’t own a home (nor do I want to at this point) and I don’t own a car.
For me I can be “home” wherever I am.
I remember being in Turkey back in 2011. It was my first “big” trip. I was away for 14 weeks, the longest I’ve traveled to date.
I had actually just booked my flight back to Cincinnati and was sitting in the heat of an Antalya evening outside the carpet shop with my new friends who I called “the carpet guys.”
This young lady with a wheelie bag walked by and one of the carpet guys called out to her, “Where are you going?”
I remember, even now 6 years later, her face. She smiled, a look of true happiness as she replied, “Home.”
And I recall thinking that I too was going home in a few weeks, but I didn’t really want to go home — that Cincinnati didn’t feel like home. I don’t think I would have that smile on my face if someone asked me where I was going as I was heading back to the States.
I felt more at home where I was at that moment.
Then I thought to myself, “Is there something wrong with me?”
Don’t answer that!
Oddly enough my sister is the polar opposite.
At almost 9 years older she married her high school sweetheart at 21 and then proceeded to have 4 children. She’s never lived more that 4 miles away from our parents. Her kids have kids and all live nearby. She and her husband have owned a home since their first anniversary.
She’s definitely rooted.
And I commend her for that.
And I can’t imagine my sister any other way.
I’m the one with itchy feet and the worst case of wanderlust on the planet.
I’m happiest when I’m not rooted.
While I love my family, I just don’t always want to be around them. Small doses are good for me.
I enjoy being on my own, in my own company.
And I love to explore.
It satisfies my intense curiosity.
I’m a perpetual student.
And the world is my classroom.
So for me the world is my home.
And I love this about me.
But it took me a while to realize this about myself.
It took traveling — both in the US and abroad — to really figure out that being “out there” exploring was what made me happy.
And that being rooted, made me feel confined or chained which made me not so happy.
My friend Alex said to me once, “You always have to have that plane ticket in your pocket.”
I need to know that I am going out into the world to explore.
I have to have that “next trip” in the works.
And while I’m okay with being rooted in small doses, I do “rooted” best when that ticket is bought and I have a departure date on the calendar.
It can just be a short trip to Colorado to visit friends.
Or a road trip into the hills of Kentucky to taste bourbon.
However when I have that ticket to some place that has a different culture, that’s when I’m happiest.
And that’s when I can stay rooted for 6 months or a year — knowing that adventure awaits helps.
So as I sit here back at “home”
I’m feeling out of sorts.
Everything seems unfamiliar.
I was trying to remember what the kitchen looked like on the plane ride back.
I really couldn’t remember.
As I drove for the first time on Monday, I kept reminding myself to “stay right.”
This will go away and I’ll readjust.
But not having that “plane ticket in my pocket” has me feeling tied down.
And I hate feeling that way.
However I do know that next spring (barring any major changes) I will set off on my next journey.
And that is what I remind myself of each time I feel the walls closing in —
That next spring…
I’ll be home yet again.