Home is not a place.
It is no wonder that people rarely leave home for good. I myself have come and gone throughout the years. There have been moments where I have entertained the idea of living where I grew up but mostly I’ve always felt that pull to leave, no matter how many times I have returned.
It seems it’d be so much easier and comfortable to just stay put. But no. That is not an option. Though living at home makes me feel safe and comfortable, what it doesn’t make me feel is excited. Certainly there is something to be said for the peace of mind you get when living close to family and friends and knowing your daily routine. Knowing that if anything goes wrong, someone will be right there. I’ve come a long way from the days of panic attacks, but all the same, the anxiety still creeps in sometimes and internally I feel everything collapsing. Fear starts speaking louder than the excitement of a new adventure and I want to hide. I want to stay small and unseen. But that is not who I am. I have learned to be that way at times but that personality does not actually come naturally to me. Naturally, I was born a leader who is a social butterfly. I crave excitement and newness. Sometimes I worry that I will never be content to stay anywhere for too long. I find that I envy people who are content staying where they are and I think how much easier it would be if I was one of them.
That said, this move has been very good for me. I have learned to breathe through the fear and release it. It helps to remind myself that I won’t be living here forever so I should make every day count. For a long time now I have been telling people that I am looking for ‘home.’ And I really was. I have been searching for the place that makes me feel like I can be my most authentic self, the place where I have everything I need, the place where I belong. But something happened. I realized that I won’t find home at a specific location. Now I understand home is not something separate from me, but within me. It is always present, no matter where I am. The amount of peace and gratitude I felt upon understanding this is unreal. Such a burden has been lifted knowing that I don’t have to take this traveling thing so seriously. I don’t have to vet each place to see if it’s the last place. And I certainly don’t have to put the immense pressure of finding home on myself anymore. Now I can just enjoy the ride and know that more than likely I’m meant to be somewhat nomadic, until I no longer want to— until the desire leaves me. That may or may not happen and it doesn’t matter. What matters is knowing home is within, that most people have good intentions and that we don’t take ourselves too seriously.
Alas, my journey doesn’t end here. It takes me to new places, to new levels of vulnerability and self-trust. Each move I must adapt to the local culture. The hardest part to accept so far has been the multitudes of people currently experiencing homelessness here in Hawaii. Not only is it difficult to see and accept but it’s hard to hear the opinions and views of locals on the matter. I have brought it up to quite a few people so far and I’ve literally had people laugh in my face and state how they’re not homeless and they are choosing this life. As much as I believe we choose the life we have, I also believe in empathy and compassion. I will admit that I have not looked into any local programs or non-profits to volunteer at but it is something that weighs on me and I intend to look into the matter. On a brighter note, billboards have been outlawed here since 1927. It has been lovely driving down the highway with nothing blocking my view, no ads telling me that 7 miles down the road I’ll find a hotel or eatery and definitely no ads with religious propaganda.