Since I started nomading last May, I quickly realized my definition of home drastically needed to change in order to adjust to the constant change in scenery. There was no longer the option or feeling of “coming back to your own bed” after weeks of travel. Instead I’ve found myself living in hotel rooms, friend’s couches/beds, and other people’s homes thanks to airbnb. Nothing is my own except what I bring on my back which isn’t much to begin with. My travel items basically consist of everything I can fit in my custom built Automattic Timbuk2 bag and a small tote bag that carries my shoes and books.
Until last year, I didn’t travel all that much most of my life. I’m used to being in one spot – that’s what has always been comfortable. Fortunately, I’ve never been terribly tied to material items. For me, this means that “home” isn’t so much space or items as it is place. Space to me is the environment around you. Place is the environment around you + meaning you’ve added to it. As a result, my definition of home has had to go mobile 🙂 I want to feel a sense of place wherever I go. For me, that means finding my groove no matter where I might be that day.
Some ways I’ve done this…
- Wake up consistently at the same time no matter the time zone. I’ve found it helps orient me to my surroundings.
- Find your constant. A 25lbs dumbbell feels the same as every other 25 lbs dumbbell. In a weird way, I find peace in that. I typically seek out a gym wherever I go because it’s something I constantly do. Seek out that constant wherever you are.
- Bring Letters. I carry a few letters with me from loved ones. Not just any letters but letters that cut right to my core upon reading them. On disorienting days, these bring me back to who I am very quickly.
- Anne-ify things! aka leave a personal touch. For example, I have a thing for working on couches and the currently airbnb I’m at has a couch that I’ve completely taken over.
- Read a book across your travels. There’s something nice about having a consistent stream of thought found in a book that helps connect the different adventures I go on.
The important part in all of this is that you still let your surroundings change you. The point is not to go to a new place and to remain firmly rooted in who you were before you came there. In order to feel the change though, you need to know first what you’re starting from. You can’t recognize that you have changed if you didn’t know who you were to begin with.
This quote sums up quite nicely how my travels have changed me:
“It might be time for you to go. It might be time to change, to shine out.
I want to repeat one word for you:
Roll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn’t it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don’t worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.” ― Donald Miller
I’ve found myself returning to places I’ve been before and am finding that the space hasn’t changed all that much but I have. As a result, the “place” feels different as the meaning I bring to wherever it is I end up develops. My mom may jokingly tell family and friends that I’m “homeless” but I’m learning that that feeling of home is something I carry with me all my days.