HOME IS WHERE MY FEET ARE

I am well aware that I do not lead a ‘typical’ life. Conventional is not a common word in my vocabulary. For the most part, the people in my life support and encourage my lifestyle, whether they understand it or not. And for this I am so grateful. But I recognize that there are more than a handful of people that simply cannot grasp the way my mind operates.

If I had a dollar for the amount of lectures I have received about responsibility, reason, and reality. This girl would be flying first class on all of my ‘spontaneous-but-completely-not-suitable-for-a-26-year-old-to-maintain-longterm’ adventures. Or at least business class.

I, of course, have a list of responses that I have perfected over the years. But even then, they aren’t often received well. Especially the ones that end in, ‘We all live a different reality’ ‘Is marriage necessary?’ or ‘Kids, nah’.

So instead of feeling the need to explain myself each time someone questions my lifestyle, I plan to send them this URL. I wrote the below passage a year ago. As I sat at my desk in my Manhattan office, I was thinking about my next step. Yes, I had only just arrived in New York. Yes, I realize this sounds insane.

Regardless, I pondered who I could bounce ideas off of at the time. Certainly no one in my office. Maybe one or two friends that have a similar lifestyle as myself. Probably my parents. And that was about it. Hmm.

This made me start to wonder why I felt so isolated when it came to talking about my future. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to share in my enthusiasm for seeing the world. I just couldn’t explain it well to someone who didn’t share the same enthusiasm.

I have big, BIG, future plans to share with you all.

But before doing so, I figured I would share my best explanation for why I live the way I do. Why I make the sacrifices I do {aka missing weddings, birthdays, holidays, etc}. Why my restlessness has yet to be at ease. Not to prove anything to the world. But simply because the way I live has been instilled in me for years now. And maybe someone out there feels exactly the same way as me, but has yet to find the words to explain it.

Enjoy!

Typically when one thinks of home, they picture the quiet suburban house they were raised in. And how could we blame them? It is the place where many significant memories were made. It is the place that feels the most comfortable to them. There is always a warm bed, a cup of coffee each morning, and a big hug from Mom that always tends to always last longer than any others. They can be themselves in every moment and that is the biggest luxury of all.

But what if home means something entirely different to some of us?

I still have the warm bed, the coffee, and the big hugs from Mom anytime I desire them. But what if, in addition, I can completely feel like myself elsewhere? In fact, miles and miles away from what those I’m closest to would consider home. In a foreign place, surrounded by strangers, all alone. What if this is where I feel the most comfortable? What if this is what I consider home?

I began traveling when I studied abroad in New Zealand during my junior year at university. I had visited a handful of countries previously to this, however New Zealand began to change my perspective about the term ‘home’. I knew absolutely no one when I arrived in the beautiful land of the Kiwis, and within six months I had formed a new group of incredible friends and fell in love. I was traveling to new cities every few days and managing new obstacles along the way. I relied on myself more so then I ever imagined, and grew in my capabilities as a traveler and a young woman. I started to feel comfortable in my own skin and shed away any prior judgments I had formed about the way others live life around the globe. This is when I knew travel would become a permanent feature in my life. I couldn’t imagine my life before I discovered all of these things about myself and our world. Upon returning to California, the only thing on my mind was the urge to feel that sense of contentment once again.

I eventually moved back to the country I once fell in love with, in order to be with the one I loved. After almost a year in New Zealand, we found ourselves moving across the ocean to Australia. Unfortunately, like all good things, the relationship came to an end and I was once again back in California longing for home. I lived in my technical home with my overly-generous parents while I worked a desk job for nearly two years, and saved my pennies. Each day spent pulling my hair out during my daily commute, secretly reading travel blogs within the walls of my cubicle, and drinking multiple cups of highly caffeinated green tea, was all made possible due to the fact that I had committed myself to find my home once more.

I was more determined than ever to purchase a one-way ticket. So I did. To London, England.

Upon arrival, I quickly began to feel a state of physical ease. An unfamiliar city, a new place to rest my head, and a strangers face over a cup of coffee. These are the elements that represent contentment for me. These are the elements that make me feel at home.

London awakened the very best part of me. It was the impatient part of me that had been itching to be set free again ever since I left Australia two years prior.

Feeling fulfilled, I continued my travels and visited 17 other countries over the course of a year. In each new destination, I discovered an additional piece of myself that could have only been brought to the surface from this experience. I was once again falling in love with myself and my capabilities.

Over the course of my travels, I have experienced as many devastating times as I have incredible. It was in New Zealand that I was told one of my closest friends had been diagnosed with stage-four cancer. I experienced the heartbreak of a broken engagement in Germany. My physical health was tested in Indonesia. And it was in Sweden that I dealt with my own personal insecurities and doubts as an individual. For these moments of impact in my life, I was not surrounded with the warm bed, the coffee, or the hugs. But I didn’t need those things in the moment. I needed to be home. And I was.

We all gain something different from traveling. I have found my home. It will never be a sole country, city, or neighborhood. Home is where I feel most significant, and overwhelmingly insignificant at the same time. It is where I am challenged, both mentally and physically.  I will always find home beyond the borders of my comfort zone. Home is where my feet are. And I never stay in one place for too long.

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