This July marks seven years we’ve lived in Colorado, almost twice as long as I’ve lived anywhere as a married woman. Parts of the Centennial State certainly feel like home: a lovely church family, colorful cowboy boots, abundant sunshine and established friendships for our whole family. There are a few parts that don’t feel like home, like the lack of prolific deciduous trees and nearly nonexistent springs.
Yet if living the military life for nearly 20 years taught me anything, it’s that home is not found in the place I live but in the people I’m with. So Colorado wins over and over because my people are here. That will always be true. Still, there are things about a place that fit within the mosaic of my personality, of how God wired me to feel most alive. And when I brush up against one of these things, it’s like an anchor that ties me to a sense of home.
At the beach, I find home within the steady rhythm of the surf.
In Philadelphia, I find home within the rich historical tapestry.
In the Carolina low country, I find home in the towering live oaks.
In Hawaii, I find home in the predictable 85 degrees.
In Texas, I find home in heavy humidity and barbecue goodness.
In the familiarity of Oklahoma, I find home in deep roots.
In Ohio, I find home in the rainbow-fall foliage.
A second thing the military lifestyle taught me? I do enjoy traveling, but I enjoy being home as well.
“Two opposing things can be true. . . I was infected with an incurable sense of wanderlust, but I was also a homebody. I matured into adulthood when I acknowledged this truth.” ~Tsh Oxenreider, At Home in the World
Of course, many folks lean towards being adventurers or homebodies, and there’s nothing wrong with that in the least. But when I read the above lines in Tsh’s book, I exhaled because she gives words to the goodness found in the word both rather than either. Her words gave me the language to see how it’s okay to be both a travel lover and a home lover.
Part of why I enjoy traveling is because when I do, I see parts of my personality reflected in the surroundings.
And part of why I enjoy being at home is because when I’m there, I discover how our family’s travels line the walls of our home and hearts with good memories, and we can remember them over and over again from the comfort of our well-worn sofa.
Since David retired from the military in 2014 and began working as a civilian, we haven’t taken many trips too far from home. But this summer our family leaves for a big trip to the UK + Ireland. I think I’ll find a little home in those places too, especially in Ireland–the place of my father’s ancestors. My husband was stationed in the UK once upon a time (before we met), and he’s always wanted to go back. So we’ll wander around and keep our eyes open for more favorites, more parts of our personality laying in places beyond our address.
If you’d like to follow along with our travels, I’ll likely be instagramming the heck out of this trip. Feel free to follow me here whilst we travel. (Look at me using the word whilst!)
And whether your summer vacation includes a trip overseas or to the neighborhood pool, I pray you enjoy it to the hilt. And may you find a little of your personality–and home–there as well.
Happy summering, dear ones.
PS: I highly recommend Tsh Oxenreider’s fantastic travel memoir At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe. (affiliate link). 5 star read!
I am a traveler who does like to be home. I also am heading across the pond to Ireland later this month and so looking forward to it.
I hope you had a wonderful trip, Barb!
Jane Yasenchak says
I agree with you on finding parts of you that resonate during travels. I also enjoy being home. Home right now is Belgium with less than 4 years until my husband’s second retirement this time from the WWI and II American Cemeteries in Europe. We will be traveling back to the States for home leave and enjoying our time there with family and friends but will definitely be more than ready to get back home for some normalcy. I’ll be following you on instagram. You can find me at janeineurope! Have a wonderful trip!
Jane, what important work you and your husband have in Belgium. I hope I can travel to those cemeteries one day and see them for myself.
I hope your home leave is (was?) restful and restorative. Much love to you and your family!
Just read your thoughts on home and travel. Very familiar to me as my husband was in the military for 30 years and we have retired in Colorado. We have just returned from a wonderful 10 day trip to Ireland. A beautiful country and lots to see. We enjoyed every minute. That said we were more than happy to be home. Safe travels to you
We too have just returned home from our trip and it was amazing. Ireland is simply stunning!
But yes, we’re all so happy to be home as well. Much love, Julie!
I love to travel but I love to be home as well. Traveling is exciting and adventures, while being at home relaxing and my calm space to “fill up the batteries”. I don’t think most people are one or the other. Of course I can’t speak for everybody, but after a certain time of traveling ( if it is 2 weeks or 2 years ) everybody is excited to go back home. And on the other hand I think everybody likes to go traveling, even if it is the “boring” 1 week holiday in a 5 star hotel.
Bringing memories back home and design space to remember good times is a great way to make your home better. I love using maps from different countries, art or even fridge magnets to remind me of the last trips.
Maps FTW! Such a great idea, Becca. xoxo