HOME. That word congers up different things to different people. We are currently “at home”. In February, 2010 we purchased a lovely home on 2 acres. It has a fantastic, huge, covered palapa…..the main reason we purchased this particular property, 4 outbuildings and an open floor plan. When we were on the road we truly felt like we were the best versions of ourselves, but, of course, we missed friends & family. We missed holidays at home. We missed being able to have a dinner party on the back deck. Now we are back in the life we left.
However, we long to be on the road once again. The quandry of it all is ever present. While we reveled in ringing in the New Year in Laos we also wished we were home celebrating with friends. Participating in the Christmas Eve pageantry in Hanoi with 2 million Vietnamese, most on motos and dressed as Santa was extremely entertaining but we missed our traditional family holiday.
We spent that year dealing in many superlatives…..my birthday watching the Melbourne Cup races with friends in Australia, Thanksgiving on the beach in Bali, a very unique Christmas in Hanoi, New Years eve in Laos. We started 2008 with Valentines Day watching the sunrise over the Taj Mahal, spent Jim’s birthday floating the Nile, and woke up long before sunrise on our 18th anniversary to climb the highest sand dunes in the world in Namibia to watch the sun come up beyond the clouds. Not every moment of the trip was fireworks, of course, but we have to be honest and admit it was a damn good year!
We love our friends and family. We have a very close group of loved ones around us and appreciate them daily. But, we also want to be back out there discovering the world. I read a quote once, something along the line of wanting to travel full time if you had a second life to have here at home. How true that ideal is. Having experience both, we do want the best of both worlds!
For now, HOME is our life in Oregon. Other than family, the things we truly missed last time were comfortable beds and the ability to cook. With our decision to drive to South America we have taken care of those two concerns. That just leaves missing our friends and family. By going slower, taking longer periods of time in different locations, we hope that we have many visitors along the way. We also plan on storing the truck & camper and flying home occasionally, all of which will allieve some of the homesickness we felt before.
At this moment we are taking advantage of what we won’t have when we leave again. BBQs on the back deck, family holidays, watching our nephews play football, and hanging out with friends. We are appreciating the gorgeous Pacific NW we call home and have spent over 30 days this summer camping in different regions.
Maddy is in heaven here, truly one of the most spoiled dogs around. She has 2 acres to patrol and call her own, a doggie door so naps can be had indoors or out, and a raised front deck to watch the day go by. She is also an excellent traveler and camper and is ever anxious to explore new horizons.
We had a fantastic garden this year, experiencing for the first time in years the joy of growing much of our own food. I had forgotten the intense satisfaction of building a raised bed, filling it with dirt, planting a seed and watching something miraculous take place.
So, the question as always is…what makes a home? As much as Jim, Maddy & I have been loving where we live, what truly makes it a home is that our pack is together. It really doesn’t matter if we live in town or in the country or, eventually, in our camper, WE are what makes a home. The things around us, while nice and having been lovingly acquired over the years, are just things. I think, perhaps, the most valuable lesson of our RTW is that we realized how little value material possessions mean to us. Will this make it easier to sell everything when we next depart? Well, perhaps, perhaps not. We are a society seduced by materialism and even while we, personally, are not great consumers, it is comforting to come home to someplace filled with familiar things. Even though we are both on board with reducing I am sure there will still be sad moments to see the items around us go to new homes.
I think HOME can be different things at different times and involves truly embracing each moment in life. Right now, we are at home here and yet all of our planning and plotting is going into making home our life on the road. They are both right at different moments in time.