When we change course, when we change the direction of our lives, we often come up with new questions.
We can also get completely different answers to the same old questions.
It’s been more than three years since my girlfriend and I sold our home and everything in it, and began our adventure and journey of living on the road—and we’re still out here. Before we sold the house we had a few people suggest that we just rent it out so that we would have a place to return to when we were ready. A good idea, but we decided that it would ultimately diminish the challenge, because the first time we got cold or uncomfortable or exhausted or struggled, it can be too easy to simply say, “eh, let’s just go home.” We wanted to remove every safety net possible, so we threw ourselves out there to see what would happen.
When we remove all of the noise and chaos from everyday life, when we strip life down to the bare essentials, things tend to become more clear. When we let go of everything we have, and put ourselves in a world that can be uncomfortable and our limits are pushed on a daily basis, when there is nowhere to run to and nowhere to hide, we may eventually end up looking ourselves right in the eye. In the past, I used to run from myself, I fought myself, I was frozen in indecision with myself, and I have lied to myself. But out here, I finally had to face myself. This tends to alter one’s perspective. Questions change, answers change, meanings change.
The term home means different things to different people. To many, it is a physical structure. It is where we believe we should feel peace and safety and comfort. To others, home is where the heart is, whatever that may mean to them. There are many ideas of what home is, but the word has taken on a whole new meaning to me now. Home is not simply a building or a place; it is a state of mind as well as a state of being.
Of course, not everywhere is going to feel equally comfortable, and I still miss that house sometimes. But I have been at home as clouds of mosquitoes swarmed us on the Gulf Coast in Louisiana. I was home while camping with a group of hunters—complete strangers—in the middle of Georgia. I’ve been home while staying with a friend in the seemingly incessant rain and drizzle in southwest Oregon. I was home when we kept encountering closed campgrounds in Missouri and it was getting late and we didn’t know where we were going to sleep that night. I was already home.
Home has been camping among the saguaros in the Arizona desert or on an incredibly cold mountain in central California. It was in the occasional hotel room from coast to coast, sleeping in the truck at a truck stop outside of Las Vegas (among other places), and being exhausted and dirty after days on a trail or in the backcountry with no amenities. Home is also up in the Colorado mountains where we currently are. It is all of these places and all those stops in between. I am already home because I never left home.
The more we are at peace with ourselves and the more we are comfortable with ourselves, the more that anywhere we are can be home. To feel that we have to be in a particular physical place to have peace and comfort would seem to suggest that we haven’t found it within ourselves yet. What if home is not merely a structure that we go to? What if it’s a place we create within ourselves? When we stop trying to find it in other places or in other people, we may just realize that it was there, within us, the whole time. Home is where we park it because that is where I am and wherever I am is home.
Sure, home can be thought of as a building or a residence, but that’s only one part of it. I have come to realize that home is not just a point outside of ourselves, some fixed destination. Being home is how we think and how we feel. It’s a state of mind and a state of being. It’s how we look at things. It’s how we respond to things. It’s in every single thing we do. We take our idea of home with us everywhere we go because we are our own home. To really be home is to be at peace with ourselves.
I am the comfort and peace. I am the destination. I am home. Return to yourself and you return home. Always.