I remember reading nearly twenty books the summer after fifth grade. I spent my school breaks at home by myself. I had school-day friends, but rarely did I find someone with enough mutual interest to go out of our way to see each other after the bell rang. Having that much time to myself at home gave me a great appreciation for the solace of home. I spent every day of every break at home up to and including the January break of my sophomore year of college.
Once I made traveling a priority, it became obvious that home was no longer a given. Rather than knowing that I had weeks to spend my time as I pleased, I would rush home so that I had a whole week at home rather than a couple days. I exchanged my security blanket for adventures abroad.
Having spent so much time at home, I expected it to be a difficult transition into spending only a handful of weeks a year there. Within my home reside my mother and my seven beautiful cats. They are the beings who I love most in this world, yet I persuade myself to leave more often than not.
The concept of home is a complicated one. I refer to “home” here as my actual house, and I do not include the surrounding areas. I’m from Luzerne County, PA (you could read some scary political articles about it, if you wish). Even the radio station which I loved has changed its name, lessening the number of positive associations I have here. While my house here is my home, I understand that a house is not always a home. A home could be mobile, it could be many different places. It could also be a feeling that you get from yourself or another individual. I’ve even referred to my car as my “home-base” on long-term trips. (Seeing my Corolla after 12 hours at Disney California Adventure was extremely comforting.)
Now that I’ve adopted the persona of “gal who’s never home,” it gives me an even stranger feeling to be here. My time spent here always has a fast-approaching expiration date. After the semester ended, I was home for literally a day before moving onto my next destination. I enjoy this version of myself: the person who no one can keep up with, always on the go, does so many things in so little time. As I’ve mentioned before, I find it hard to reconcile my urge to stay in one place and make connections and my longing for exploration of the unfamiliar.
My home represents the years that molded me and led me to believe that everyone buys a house and stays there until they die. I live for nostalgia, but I’m also addicted to the challenges presented by traveling. Being home bombards me with the reality that I can’t have it both ways.