Home. For some it’s the beach, the mountain or the smell of a clean sheet. For some it’s a meadow, a valley or the smell of the leaves after the rain. For some it’s traditions, the aroma of baking bread or the sound of family waking up underneath the same roof. For some it’s a place, while for others it’s a feeling. Home is an interesting concept. As a child – home was my nuclear family, the house in which I grew up, the only street on which I lived and the town to which I was associated. Home was a short walk from the high school, down the block from the youth group, twenty minutes from the beach and about an hour from sleep away camp. Home was the people, an address, an abode, a town and a state to which I referred when introducing myself. Damn, a lot has changed.
I’m not sure the question of ‘what does home mean to you’ comes up in the everyday conversation while sipping hot chocolate at your local Starbucks. Sure, out on an adventure somewhere in the world, surrounded by other travelers seeking a similar question – it might pop up more often, but in those day to day situations of walking to yoga, going to work, heading out to dinner or saying hello to strangers at the market or on the trail – does it come up on a regular basis? Probably not. For me, it’s been a question to which I’ve been seeking the answer. I’m not sure the answer will ever be a full constant or one that’s stagnant, but I’m still seeking.
Surrounded by many with different views on how to live, how to work, how to raise a family, what to treasure and what dreams to have, I am certain that the ‘what does home mean to you’ answer varies. I’m also certain that there’s no one right answer to this challenging question and for some reason, I truly believe that throughout a lifetime, for each person, the answer changes – mine has without question, shifted.
In these last few months, many have given us advice and shared their stories. Throughout actively listening to them and to ourselves, I think I’m closer to the answer to ‘what does home mean to me’, right now. As my friend Jacqueline tells me, I have the right to change my mind at any time – so, I know that answer might be different in a few days, weeks, months or decades. But for now, I think I’m comfortable with saying that for me, ‘home’ might not mean one particular thing or one brick and mortar locale.
The husband and I feel lucky to have many places around the world in which we are comfortable, feel loved and welcomed, have favourite spots to revisit, have family and friends we can’t wait to see and places we’re happy to plop ourselves for a moment or a timeframe. I’m sure part of ‘home’ will always be the towns, cities and spaces where we grew up and the ones in which our families still reside, but there might be another concept beyond the bricks and mortar and post codes – one we can find, cultivate and reach for in those moments of need. These past few months (even years) have taught me more lessons than I expected. Looking inward, seeking peace, channeling that authentic self, and choosing happy are many of them, and perhaps, to that, I can add the idea of ‘seeking home’.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to roam – I still do. The art of traveling, seeing new sights, seeking new paths, meeting new people, following a new journey – I love that. Perhaps that ‘seeking home’ idea is to find much of that wherever you are or seek out a location that gives you much of that on a more daily basis. I don’t think I ever thought home could be something more than a place – but at this point in life, to me, seeking home, might mean more of a feeling than an actual brick and mortar spot. Those natural elements that I so deeply crave are present, the sense of adventure at a moment’s notice is there, significant people who lift us up are available, the healthy atmosphere and warmth of the sun is ever present and the ease necessary to focus on ones authentic self is showcased in the every day – these are such big facets of the ‘home’ I seek.
So, I continue to seek, yet, for the first time, I feel a bit more grounded, and a bit more sure that as long as I can hold the hand of the one I love in a space where we feel that ease, that grace, that peace, that warmth, that calm, that lift, that joy and that authenticity – the seeking outward can ebb for awhile and the seeking inward can continue. I’m secure in planting my feet for awhile knowing that that seeking is in me, and that the process of continuing to enjoy and focus on living authentically will continue (I think my Dad would be happy with that). My home will always be where there’s warmth of sunshine, love of family (related and chosen), laughter of friends, ease, access, sandy beaches, places of happy, yoga mats, adventure, a nearby airport for those needed escapes, frozen yoghurt, chocolate and avocados. Care to join me?