I am sitting in my apartment thinking about furniture, and stuff generally: what to sell, what to keep and put in storage. And it hits me: I am about to be homeless. Sure, I won’t be homeless in the bum-on-the-street sense. But I will have no home.
This idea is not new. I spent some time spinning it around in my mind a couple of months ago when trying to decide whether we should actually do this. Once we decided to go I pushed the thought aside and spent the next few weeks reveling in my ‘OH MY GOD I’M TRAVELING AROUND THE WORLD’ glory. But now it’s back.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about second thoughts or doubts or anything like that. It is about trying to wrap my brain around what it will be like to live with no home base. Sometime next July when we’re done traveling we’ll land at JFK and… what? Check in to the Holiday Inn? That’s not going home. The thing is, no matter how short or long a trip, no matter how much you don’t want it to end, there is always something comforting about unlocking the door and crossing the threshold of your own home.
The first definition in the several dictionaries I consulted refers to the physical structure in which one resides. For the next year we will be residing in various hostels and guest houses, rarely for more than a few nights at a time. Our furniture, books and other belongings that we have saved will be residing in some small, dark, usually deserted, storage unit. Our mail will be arriving at my parents’ house (or maybe here). So where will home be?
The next couple of definitions have to do with the focus of domestic attention. Though the dictionary does not specify, I interpret this broadly to include a physical place, a person, a goal, even an idea. I suppose in this sense we can make home for ourselves anywhere. I had always thought that one of the thrills of traveling was being away from home. But maybe Kerouac had it right: “the road is life,” and, by extension, the road is home. For the next 12 months anyway.