It’s funny how it’s taken all of 840 days, 4 continents and 31 countries plus a visit to California for certain things to REALLY set in. Sometimes you’re moving so fast you don’t realize the full gravity of what you’re experiencing. Have you ever been there? I have…recently, quite a bit.
I’ve spent many days lately letting the fact that I am actually homeless mentally “marinade.” I knew this all along…sort of… but I feel like it’s finally dawning on me what that means in totality. Why this has taken so long to fully grasp and appreciate, I do not know. Perhaps that’s a lesson still ahead of me.
What I do know, is that I am now completely aware of my utter homelessness and lack of direction when it comes to going “home” to settle down again- whenever (if ever) that happens. A man I just met in Panama asked me this morning, “You don’t want babies do you? You’re getting old.” My heart stung a little, but I made my case. “I’m only 28! I’ve got time to figure it out. Yes, of course I want babies!”
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it will be like to eventually slow down, settle, ready to unpack and where that might be. There just isn’t a clear answer yet. I don’t know where my true “home base” was or will be.
It’s funny because the first question people ask you on the road is: “Where are you from?”
Seems simple enough, right? But it’s not.
My answer changes. Do I say Redding? The small hometown that raised me. The town where my family is, yet the place I never plan to call home again. Or Sacramento, the city that shaped me and propelled me into adulthood and saw me through college? Or is it San Francisco? The city that was the tipping point for everything that has happened the last two years- the city that saw me off that last day in August 2015. The city where I said goodbye.
Home was Cape Town for a while, and I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time. It’s true what they say about not appreciating what you have until it’s gone, but such is life.
It was difficult for me to just be in one country, which sounds so weird. I also thought at the time that I needed to go “home” to the states. So I ended up doing that- only to find out that my heart wasn’t stateside anymore. It was a reality check of epic proportions to return “home” for a while and realize it’s not actually “home” at all. So, the question remains. Where is home? Will I always be a Black Sheep now that I’ve embarked on this journey?
It’s difficult to settle down anywhere after traveling so much, to be honest. How does one stand still after running for so long? How does someone find ONE home, when they’ve found so many? Will I ever stand still again? And do I have to?
It seems that to answer the question of “where I’m from” is to imply where I will settle down when this is all over. I see it as a loaded sentence that begs the question(s): Where am I going to be in 6 months? A year? Two years? Where will I return to? Will I return at all? It’s a loaded gun of a question that I’m clearly not ready to answer to anyone- not even myself.
When I think back to life in California, I am reminded that I don’t have my apartment anymore.
I don’t have any furniture- not even a bed. There is not a storage unit that I can unpack, using its content to decorate a place to call home. All that is gone. I’ve been gone.
As I fully grasp all this I feel panicked for a little bit, but then nervous and then excited. I get so anxious anticipating my continued walk into the unknown.
What is a home anyway? Is it not where your heart is? Or is it where you plant yourself and all your belongings? Ideally it would be both, right? But what if my heart is broken into pieces all over the globe? Where is home then?
I don’t know where I’ll end up, but I know where I’m headed. Forward. Onward and upward. It’s the only path there is. I’ve been on it, but now I’m fully appreciating what it actually means to be a nomad. I’m finding comfort in the homelessness and the (sometimes directionless) wandering.
Truth be told, the whole world is my home. I live everywhere and nowhere. I, myself, am my home. Me and my “moleta grande.”
I suppose all I need to worry about is where to place myself for each brief chapter in time, and let the Universe work the rest out. Today, home is Panama. Next week? Who knows. And 6 months from now? Your guess is better than mine. I do know one thing for sure though- I’d rather be homeless and happy than living an empty, albeit fully furnished, life. I’d rather wait for the right man, at the right time, than settle down just for the sake of doing so. I’d rather pursue my dream to see the world in its entirety than to forsake myself in the name of the “American Dream.” All in all, I’d rather be happy than chained down to mediocrity.
The world is meant to be seen and felt, and you can’t do it inside four walls. Period. If that all means being “homeless” a little longer than anyone expected, so be it. I’ll take it!
Now, I’ve got to go take my childless self out on a little tour of this island then proceed to stay up as late as I want, doing whatever I want, unashamed and unattached. Tune in next time for: “Homeless, Single and Barren Abroad: One woman takes on a man’s world ALONE.”