Home. This word is full of different meanings. Is it where you keep your clothes? Where your pictures are on the wall? Where you grew up? The last place you lived? The last place you slept?
When I landed home in America, after a long flight with only one carry one suitcase and a backpack, I was greeted by the friendly TSA agent staring at my passport. “Where’s your home?” he barks at me. I thought of everywhere I had lived in the past year and the fact that technically I had no place that I resided permanently or close to what could be considered full time. No where I would truly consider my home.
My childhood home was recently sold and my parents moved down to Florida, in a home I had not visited yet. I had family and a variety of friends’ homes I was planning to stay in in the next 4 months while being home in America but those surely didn’t count as home. I was quickly brought back to reality when I realized he was definitely not in the mood for this abstract answer so I just gave my parents’ new address. “Go ahead” he says, definitely not caring any more than confirming I’ve provided a real answer.
Moving forward to now, which marks two years ago since I left the last lease I would have for a long while. I left my apartment in Brooklyn with a van full of my belongings on a rainy day. 4 and a half years of living in New York City and I reduced it all down some contents in a van. The rest of my things had been sold or left on the curb for the local Bushwickers to take, like my favorite chair pictured below. From that van I reduced further to two suitcases and a backpack. I continued to downsize as the months went on to one carry on and a backpack.
From New York I traveled through Europe, to Africa, to Asia, and then eventually to Australia. After a year in OZ I returned through Europe, around America, back to Europe, and eventually back to Australia. In these past two years there are 56 different places you can say I called home in 13 different countries and too many airports to consider.
Occasionally when I video chat with friends, I get jealous of their surroundings. The pretty pictures that hang on their walls, the nice furniture they have, their shoe closets… Having to move every couple months means you are a true minimalist. While exciting and full of adventure it is hard and requires some intense self control. I stare around my room for the next 6 months, which to me feels like an eternity, and realize how different my life is just on this basic level of housing and comfort.
In these last two months, specifically because of COVID, I have spent more time in this home than I ever would have. I moved in the day Australia went on lockdown. Quickly these strangers, my new roommates, replaced my coworkers and friends. Thankfully they are nice people and there is a backyard, and a dog. We have had board game nights, built puzzles, had an Easter lunch, and drunk dance parties.
It has reminded me that really this whole nomad experience shows you the generosity of others and pushes you into challenging experiences. I have stayed in more couches, guest rooms, hostels, hotels, and inflatable mattresses than I thought possible.
I am so thankful to everyone who has made their home my home these past two years. Here’s to the future, may you all be wildly successful so one day I can be a guest in your home.