Today I realized that home really is a state of mind. We have no physical house any longer. And yet wherever we are, we reset the GPS location to announce ‘home’, because it is wherever Ivan and I are together.
We have not joined the 220 million people (which would be the fifth largest nation in the world), who live in countries other than their birthplace. We are not a part of even that nation as we don’t live anywhere now; we are homeless wanderers.
Our nomadic status yields a mixed response; awe and jealousy, bewilderment and disbelief, wonderment and aspiration.
We often meet denial at first; “No way, you don’t have a home?!” Conversations close with acceptance. “Well good for you”. And then a parting comment; “I hope I’ll be able to do that one day” or the opposite “I could never dream of doing what you’re doing!” An unofficial poll seems to draw a split vote.
Yesterday, strolling in the Asheville Arts district, artists asked us where we were from, a common conversation starter. Invariably, the answering of that question would cause us to plant ourselves for lengthly periods describing our new life and how it came about.
We were stopping to chat for longer than we were walking. Since exercise was the purpose of the stroll, at the next studio, I declined answering that show-stopping question. When I hesitated, this artist surprisingly mentioned how he had just met a couple who said they were from ‘nowhere’. He related this couple’s incredulous story of having sold all that they owned and were now nomadically wandering. I was so surprised. I felt transparent. He had seen right through me and somehow knew I was also a wanderer.
Some argue that travel is great if you have a home to go back to. Ivan and I agree with Pico Iyer who said:
“Home, in the end, is not just the place where you sleep, it’s the place where you stand. Home is the place where you become yourself.”