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!