where are you from? where do you live? where’s home? three very simple questions that never, from me anyway, elicit a simple response. we’re born, raised, go to schools, and go to work. we may travel; but at some point we’re likely to meet others and bond, then move together and settle down for a time, only perhaps, to move again. or we’ll set off solo and have similar, or disparate, experiences. but – we still have to answer the questions. so, close your eyes… relax… and let me ask you: where do you call home?
Oh, Auntie Em – there’s no place like home!
steppenwolf author, hermann hesse, said, though not necessarily in that book, “One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time.” i like mr. hesse but prefer narcissus and goldmund perhaps because goldmund abandons school and wanders the country in search of life’s meaning. spoiler, his world was his home. that’s the essence of hesse’s quote.
i was born in the high-desert of california and from the time i can remember, i split my time between parents. dad was military and mom couldn’t stand him so the home-town experience was never mine. not including the early parent bounce, i began relocating at age 7. forty-three years later, i’ve tallied 25 moves to arrive at where i live today. victorville is not my home and neither is la.
the map references 10 locations where i’ve lived and one where i quasi-resided for 1.5 years. it breaks down to this: 2.7 locations per move means i’ve relocated, on average since i was seven, every 21 months. life, however, is not average and this doesn’t represent that i lived there for 5 years… there for 6… and here for 4. it also doesn’t factor multiple moves for any given waypoint. charleston included 2 houses, as did charlotte, and i had 4 abodes during the three and a half years in north dakota.
moving sucks and i know of no one who enjoys it. it’s a drain on just about everything. it tests patience, friendships, and relationships. it can scar emotionally and physically and depletes cash reserves faster than a trophy wife (or so i’ve heard). it also reinforces the counter-notion, which inevitably creeps upon us, that your stuff owns you. i still have boxes filled with crap from move #17 that i’ve never unpacked.
i’ve moved in the dead of night, in the rain, in the snow, and once on christmas day by myself with a van i questionably borrowed from work.
Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.
– robert frost
through it all, where was my home? a long-time friend, mr. brown, has always been fond saying, “you can never go home again.” while that may be true, in an existential sense, one must first identify their home if one is to return at all. some do, and sometimes it makes for a good hollywood story. apparently, my story is more nomadic, and i’m comfortable with that.
through all the moves and my travels and my abandoned or lost stuff (its difficult to miss what you forgot you had) i found the common denominator that works for me. its the people i’ve met along the way. in the end i can say that i’ve lived in some wonderful (and some not so) places and i’ve had many homes. the people i now know and have known are worth more than any of them.
where do i call home? home is wherever i am when my family and friends comes to me and wherever they are when i go to them.
And home, in the end, is of course not just the place where you sleep. It’s the place where you stand.
– Pico Iyer (TEDGlobal 2013)
today, i’m hanging out at home.