Tag Archives: Home

Gratitude Challenge – Day 1 of 30

wpid-screenshot_2014-08-16-19-49-03-1.pngSo here we go. Day 1 of 30 in my gratitude challenge.  Today, we are asked to write about gratitude for “home”.

Coming home from having virtually no privacy on the camino, I am very grateful for the “lack of people” in my house and some peace and quiet.  I was so used to being surrounded by people in the common shower, the sleeping area, the stairwells. Unless, I went to the bathroom and closed the stall door, I didn’t get much “alone time” at the end of the day.  

I appreciate the comfort of couch cushions :), my own shower without flip flops, a washing machine, and the same wonderful bed night after night.  I also appreciate the simplicity of my home.  A year or so ago, I got rid of a lot of excess. Coming home after carrying all I needed as 10 lbs on my back, it was a far easier transition.

It is really striking how much one can appreciate such seemingly simple things that we mostly take for granted in our homes. Sometimes it takes being away and without to appreciate what it means to come home and have so much.

With love from aneternaltraveler 😉

There’s No Place Called Home

One of the things I discovered after traveling so much and finally living overseas was that I never felt like the USA was my home again. It’s hard to describe to most people because it is not like going on vacation for a couple of weeks and returning to your life. When you live overseas, you begin to integrate into a different culture, learn the language, the customs.  

Without you realizing it, you start to unconsciously give up the parts of yourself and your culture that you liked less in favor of adopting new ones.  Then, one day you return home and you’re some kind of strange hybrid who doesn’t quite fit in there anymore. For that matter, you could return overseas and you wouldn’t quite fit there either.  

Sometimes, I imagine that to truly feel at home anywhere again, I’d have to create my own hybrid community.

When I travel I often like to take a look at what I think each culture does really well or way better than the culture I came from.  I imagine that in a perfect world we’d be open enough integrate those great learnings into our own society, regardless of source.  

It seems to me like countries are a bit like sports teams.  Each one wants to say they are the best and each has their die hard fans. In reality each country (or sports team) has their strengths and weaknesses and none are perfect.

But herein lies the problem.  When you try to reintegrate into your own country again you’re filled with ideas that are either misunderstood or plain unwelcome.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), once you open up your mind like this, you can’t un-see it or un-think it.  It becomes a part of your new reality.  

I would like to feel “at home” somewhere, but I start to wonder if home will never be a place anymore and if instead that feeling will come from the connections I make with people I meet along the way.      

 

And so it begins…

When I was a child, my mother asked me ‘what I wanted to be when I grew up?’, as parents often do.  I said,

 Mom, I want to learn all the languages and cultures of the world so I can get to know what’s in people’s hearts.  That way someday I can show them how to come together in peace.

Looking back, my mom must have thought I was a quite a handful!  I was always the do-gooder type that wanted to help people around the world.

As life progressed, I loved having the opportunity to travel even if it was only for business.  Over time, I’d seen 20 countries on 5 continents and I lived for over a year in Ecuador.  I never wanted it to end.  I thought I was unstoppable.

However, during the past few years, I’ve gone through some really rough times and my confidence was shaken.  A tough divorce, fighting like the be-jesus to try to hang on to my house, watching the business I’d built phase out, and finding myself taking on two jobs to cover the bills rolling in. That’s not even to speak of the wall of distrust that built up around me which has made relationships of any kind pretty challenging to say the least.  I felt alone and isolated.  I was treading water.

Occasionally, my inner adventurer would poke me and ask, “When are we leaving?” or say things like, “What are you doing here?” I learned to squash that voice for awhile reminding it of our “survival” and my “new found belief in practicality”.

Somehow, I connected the events in my life to being irresponsible and impractical.  Because I didn’t fit into a “proper” box, I should work harder to shove myself in there and work it with a smile from 9-5, damn it!  “Then bad things like these wouldn’t happen to you”, I said.

I told myself to grow up! because that’s what I thought all grown ups eventually did.  They gave up their dreams and settled (down). My whole life I rebelled against this for the simple fact that I never met a grown up who was happier at work than they were at happy hour.

No matter how hard I tried to shut myself down, eventually my mind made me listen to that voice.  I was terrified.  I began to sob.  I knew I wasn’t happier in this cookie cutter life.  I proved that I was responsible and practical and that I could work 9-5.  I could get through a divorce and keep my house. And now what?

I felt like I was trapped in the Matrix and I wanted to swallow a red pill and see how deep the rabbit hole goes.

So, I did and I’m about to find out what’s down there.