Lily and I had a great chat during our podcast recording. Despite our lifestyle differences, I think we found a lot of common ground with regards to the way we think, feel, and approach our lives.
One of the lessons I’ve learned through my 10 years of travelling and living around the world is that, for the most part, we’re all programmed similarly. It may not appear so at first glance, but I’ll use the idea of “home” as an example.
I am “The Professional Hobo”; by definition, I’m homeless. But ask any lifestyle traveller, and even though they may staunchly defend their homeless moniker, talk to them long enough and you may hear the word “home” creep into the conversation.
“Home” could be the place you grew up, or where your parents live. Many lifestyle travellers also love to say “home is where I lay my head for the night.”
There’s nothing wrong with these definitions of home. But I want to go deeper than that. I believe we can feel “at home” when a certain set of circumstances is met in our lives—circumstances that make us feel secure, stimulated, and happy.
Despite saying I’ve travelled full-time for the last 10 years, I’ve also had various “homes” (rather, home bases) throughout that time. I was in Australia for a year and a half, Grenada for two years, and Peru for two years. In each case, I had a place I could call “mine” where I had autonomy, I felt comfortable, I had friends and community, and I could see myself being there for a very long time—for life, even.
But in each case, over time, something happened that affected my ability to continue to see it as home.
In Australia, I survived the Victorian bushfires (their worst-ever natural disaster to date), and I broke up with my partner at the time. The entire landscape (literally and figuratively), and the network of friends that made the place home, changed.
In Grenada, I discovered a dark underbelly over time that I didn’t like. I moved house a couple of times, but things didn’t improve. The final nail in the coffin was (another) breakup.
Peru was the ultimate home. In Australia and Grenada I struggled to admit I wanted a home; it seemed to contradict my travel lifestyle. (It didn’t: I still visited upwards of seven countries a year with these home bases, but it was a mental block). Here, I overcame this mental block and accepted Peru as home. But again, when my circumstances changed, so too did the feeling that Peru was home.
I’m on the road again, living out of my bag. Sure, I feel at home in the world in general, and in each place I spend a few weeks or months, I call it home. I can travel and be home. Likewise, I can have a home and be a traveller. The two are neither synonymous nor contradictory.
For me, home is both a place and a feeling. So although I’m home wherever I go in the world, I’m also searching for the next place that resonates through to my core… as home.
Your guess is as good as mine as to where (and when) that will be.
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