Don’t worry that your life is turning upside down.How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come? -Rumi
Where is home? This has been a question that I’ve asked myself over and over through the years. Growing up, we moved thirteen times before I even made it out of high school. I learned early on that a home is not a house. Growing up, my home was my family, the laughter we shared in each house we lived in, the work we did together to create a nice place to be. Growing up, this was home. No matter where we moved or what new friends I had, we had each other as a family to give me a sense of home.
But deep inside, something still called to me. I knew there were other worlds to explore, countries to see, accents to hear, foods to be tried, and other cultures and viewpoints that I had to discover. I’ve always played it safe, though. I’ve moved around a lot, but stayed within the borders of the US where I was born. The farthest I ever ventured was living in Hawaii for several years, and this seemed somewhat exotic for a while.
However, my restlessness still rose up inside of me like a flower blossoming. I still didn’t feel like I had found home. I felt like parts of me were still to be found in the great “out there”, parts of me were waiting to be discovered. I had traveled for many years to exotic places, places that stirred something in me, places that made me feel more at home than I’d ever felt. “How is it?”, I wondered, that I could feel more at home in the tranquil rice fields of Bali, smiling at someone who didn’t know my language, or on the noisy streets of Mexico where everyone smiled at me offering a “Buenos Dias” or “Buenos Tardes” when I passed by?
Everywhere I have lived, I have created a house that has been my sanctuary, surrounding myself with beautiful things, creating a world that I felt peaceful in, nurtured, and safe. But, recently, I realized that, too, just wasn’t enough. I had to give up those things to have the life I wanted. A life of exploring, a life of knowing others on a deeper level, a life of freedom where on any given day, I could decide to go anywhere in the world that I chose. And so, I sold my “home”, I sold all of my nice things, and I prepared to set out.
It took having no “home” to realize what home is. For two months now, I have been homeless, staying with friends who have generously given me a place to stay, as I get ready to set out. I have had no dresser for my clothes, nor much order or sanctuary. And I’ve come to realize, home is the sanctuary inside myself. It’s the gratitude and calmness I’ve had to give to myself in the midst of disorder and uncertainty.
I recently went to Burning Man for the fifth time. When you enter the gates you are greeted with the words, “Welcome Home.” And yes, this place is something like a home. Why? “Why is that?”, I wondered this time. It’s because out there on the playa, people are connecting with you on a deeper level. No one is using their phone to scroll through the status updates of the rest of their friends while they are talking to you. They are truly listening to you, and you are truly listening to them.
And you aren’t afraid to be vulnerable. To talk about your dreams, your fears, or even the mistakes you made. And that’s how it’s always been when I travel. When I’ve met other road warriors ,we take a genuine interest in each other. We find ourselves talking and hanging out for hours, and we don’t even know each other’s name. And I guess, that’s how it is when you know you’ve found home. You find yourself in the same space that your heart is and you just want to stay there and never leave. Home is fully occupying each moment that you are in. You aren’t filled with longing to be somewhere else because you know you are exactly where you should be for that moment. And you drink in every single thing about it until it fills every part of your body with pure joy.
And so, as I journey to Mexico soon, I don’t find myself asking, “Will this be home?” I find myself creating it around me within every moment happening along the way, within every glance of a stranger, within every moment of hope and gratitude that I feel.
I am always looking for the perfect escape, the perfect paradise, the kind of place that tosses your cares into the sea. Fortunately, I have discovered many! I created this site to show you where to go and how to get there. My goal is to show you that Paradise is only a plane ticket (or boat ride) away. I have inspired many others to travel and to create a better life. I am available for inspirational speaking, coaching, writing, travel planning, and photography.
Always and forever you have a home in our hearts and where ever we hang our hat, you are always welcome. We always look forward to seeing you come and spend time making memories with all of us. We love you and no matter the distance our love knows no end!
Thank you, Mom!! Love you….
While I have yet to experience Burning Man, I do absolutely understand feeling more at home on foreign territory. I have had amazing conversations with women with whom I do not share a language and have experienced rare and extraordinary kindness in the most stunning and remote regions of the world. Home, as you suggest, is internal.
It definitely is internal!! It’s nice to know others who “get it”!
I’m like Mary – I haven’t been to Burning Man, but it sounds like such an interesting experience that I’ll have to go some day.
hmmmm yes… I understand. Home is not a place for me either… and yet, there are places that are, most definitely “home” to me. It’s a question that I find myself answering differently as I grow and change and life delivers me to my own future. Certainly worth thinking about and re-thinking about.
I couldn’t agree more Val. That’s one of the things I love about traveling, being fully engaged with every aspect of life.
Love this – some people never discover this, for themselves…
It’s incredible how we can call home a multitude of places – Seville is my home now and possibly forever, but so is my town in Chicago. It’s a strange concept to Spaniards, as they often are born, raised and die in the same place, feeling forever rooted to this same place. To them, I’m an oddity for moving so far away from my ‘home,’ and even after six years here, they don’t see me settled, just perpetually out of place.
My husband lives in Santiago Chile right now while we live in Guatemala, cause he’s getting his PhD and everytime I tell him he’s going home, like he’s going to his apartment with his friends there. He always corrects me and says that’s not home, even though he’s been there for 1.5 years, but home is with me and our kids.
So home is relative, it’s where you feel the most love and comfort.
The serenity and happiness that glows on your face in that photo prove that you are doing the right thing for yourself. 🙂
Having lived a nomadic life for over 2 years now, I can totally relate. I certainly don’t miss my stuff. Fortunately we live in a very connected world, so staying in touch with family and friends removes that barrier as well!
It’s true…Skype and Facebook are great for staying in touch with everyone!!
When I abroad, even right now. They talk about going home after work, after some stuff.. but my actually home is back to my home country, Malaysia 🙂
We must always stay connected with family and relatives with technology 🙂
I love this. Home is you not a place!
Yes, it is, Sally!
Kindred spirit. I felt it the moment we had an opportunity to chat. And yes, EVERYTHING is internal. We define our existence. 🙂
Absolutely! Nice chatting with you!
[…] forming on the street beneath me, I had a revelation. That dog was sending me a message to go home. I didn’t really know where home was, but I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t Bali. So, it was somewhere around the fifth […]