Are you away from home a lot? Do you do a lot of traveling? There have been times, on and off during my life, when I did travel very often. Mostly on business, although I have taken my fair share of holidays.
I’ve taken short trips, gone and back the same day. I’ve taken trips lasting from a few days up to a couple of weeks. And I’ve taken longer trips of a month, or more. And it’s always the same. I’m excited to go. Filled with anticipation. Looking forward to being away. Meeting new people, exploring new places. Even if it’s just a business trip, I’m taking.
Then, when I’m there, at first I want it to never end. I fall in love with wherever I am. I dread each passing day. Because each one brings me closer to having to leave. And then suddenly, within the last day or two, something changes. I find myself looking forward to getting back. To my friends, to my cats, to my routine, to my regular haunts, to my home.
Does the same thing happen to you?
It always surprises me. Because just days before I was wishing I could stay away forever.
But home is home and, as they say, “Be it ever so humble there’s no place like home”. Do you know where the expression comes from, by the way? It’s from a song that’s been around for more than 150 years. It was adapted from the American actor and dramatist John Howard Payne’s 1823 opera, Clari, Maid of Milan.
Just a little bit of trivia I thought you might enjoy. A bit of a diversion.
Back to the business at hand.
As often happens to me, I’m inspired by a WordPress Daily Prompt. Which is, of course, why they exist. They’re meant to help us jump start an idea. Well Saturday’s was about there being no place like home. And what that means to each of us: “If you had the opportunity to live a nomadic life, traveling from place to place, would you do it? Do you need a home base? What makes a place home to you?”
Interesting, because just recently I wrote about doing such a thing. Traveling around, without a set itinerary, wandering wherever I feel like wandering, for an indefinite period of time. It’s something I’ve been contemplating for a while. Since writing it, though, I’ve had a slight change of heart.
Now I wouldn’t move away from Toronto permanently. I’ve realized I do want a home base. Somewhere to come home to. To park my bags for a while. Until the next time the mood to travel strikes me. Somewhere comfortable and familiar. With all my favourite things around me.
Which brings me to what “home” is to me.
In a nutshell, I think it’s “familiar”. And “comfortable”. It’s where you store the memories you’ve made over a lifetime. Like a scrapbook. Furniture you’ve collected. Recipes handed down from great grandmothers and aunts and cousins and friends. From your mother. Those you’ve found or created on your own. Knick knacks and paintings and photographs collected from travels, and from various stages throughout your life. Mementos.
My books make my house a “home”. It’s a comforting sight to look virtually anywhere in my apartment and see all my favourite authors and books on shelves, in piles, stacked up everywhere. There for me to pick up and read and re-read whenever I want. Same goes for my music. Even though I have it all on my computer and my iPhone and my iPad, I’ve never gotten rid of the CDs. I like to see them. And I often still play them. I like going through the stacks, re-living memories. Where I was the first time I heard a particular song. Who I was with. All the other times in my life I listened to that same song.
There’s also nothing like sleeping in your own bed. Hotels these days have fabulous beds. In fact many of them have websites where you can go to buy them. But no matter how comfy and cosy a bed in a hotel might be, I still prefer my own. It knows the curves of my body. It fits me like a glove. No matter how many times my sheets are washed, the scent of my perfume still lingers. And whenever I open my eyes, my cats are there, curled up beside me, in their favourite spots.
If I moved away I know I’d miss my friends. They, too, are part of what makes a home. While hotel rooms can be beautiful and luxurious and lavishly appointed, they’re sterile. And impersonal. Whereas your home is where you invite friends. The rooms filled with the sounds of a life being lived, and shared. Laughter. Conversation. Clinking glasses. Cutlery clanking on china. Arguments. Crying. Barking. Meowing. Pots boiling over. Blenders whirring. Taps running. Doors opening and closing.
Homes are alive. And ever changing. People coming and going. Objects coming and going. Furniture coming and going. But yet they stay the same. The constant is you. And the things and the memories you most cherish. Everything and everyone you hold dear.
Hotels are where you stay. Home is where you live.