Where is home? Where are you from? Where do you live?
I have always struggled answering questions about “home”. As someone who was born in Upstate New York, lived in Florida and Arkansas as a young child, grew up in New Jersey, went to college in Connecticut, and spent eleven years living in California, I never know how to answer those questions. I certainly haven’t made it any easier on myself since moving out of my California house in June.
When I made the decision in January to leave my job and travel I knew it was going to be a daunting task. First up was what to do with all my stuff. I was living very comfortably in a house filled with furniture, books, pictures, clothes, technology, food, kitchen gadgets, camping gear…no way it was going to all fit into a backpack or my car! I spent the spring going through my house having to make decisions – was I going to keep it or get rid of it? If I was keeping it was it going into storage or was it staying with me? If I was getting rid of it was it something I was going to sell or donate? And if I was going to donate it what organization would take it? It’s been a long time since I literally looked at and touched every single item I owned and made a decision about its fate. It was an exhausting process – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
But I also found it extremely freeing. It felt great to get rid of items that I have been hanging on to because I had space. Or items that no longer served a purpose. Or items that reminded me of things I no longer wanted to remember. Letting go of physical objects helped me feel lighter and more open. I found Marie Kondō’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing very helpful in this process.
On June 12th the movers arrived.
While I unloaded a lot of stuff to friends and donation centers, there were still some pieces of furniture, books, mementos, etc. that I wanted to keep. I was proud of myself because the movers estimated that I would need three storage crates based on what I originally had in the house. I only ended up using 1.5! While I didn’t completely let go of everything like some people do when they make a change like I did, I certainly let go of a lot!
So where is home?
If I answer by where the majority of my stuff is then it’s in a storage center in Castroville, CA. It would be impossible to pick one place if I had to define it by where family and friends live. I like thinking about home as wherever I currently stand. I know there will come a day when I long for a physical house to call my own but for right now I am really enjoying the idea that home is literally wherever I am.
As I embark on this nomadic lifestyle there are a few people I have to acknowledge who were very helpful in my transition:
- Sally – thank you for being an awesome colleague! And thanks for having the best moving and storage company. Cardinale Moving and Storage has been instrumental in several of my moves. Always professional, I know my belongings are in good hands while I travel!
- Rich and Debbie – thank you for being an amazing couple! And thanks for letting me stay with you those first two weeks. It was so kind of you to open up your home.
- Sarah – thank you for being a wonderful friend! And thanks for letting me store stuff at your place this summer!
- Casey – thank you for being a fantastic sister! And thanks for spending so much time with me in a car this summer!
- David and Shelley – thank you for being the best parents! And thanks for letting me spend so much time with you this September!
- To the countless friends who supported me in my final months in California – the transition was hard but I really felt so much love and support from so many wonderful people. From dinners, to waffle breakfasts, to chocolate croissants…clearly the way to my heart is food!