Just what or where is home? Is it the little farm in southern Alberta that I was missing terribly at the beginning of the trip? I thought so.
I don’t know if it’s that I’m getting older and not as easy with change, or if the start of the trip was genuinely more difficult this time out, but I’ve had a hard time settling in. Even with some help from Dixie’s medicine cabinet early on, the journey down was tough. All I could think about was my comfy couch back home … that doesn’t move.
When the long journey south was over and we arrived at our first desert boondocking spot, I expected to settle in and just enjoy. At last. But the rocks hurt my feet more than I remembered, the slope to our campsite made the steps difficult for me to navigate, I missed the home-cooked food that Teresa feeds us at home, and I just wasn’t loving it. And, when I’m not happy, I’m just not that much fun to be around, or at least that’s the impression I get. They worry about me. They even started talking about it being better for me to maybe stay home next year.
At first my response was, “Yay! What a terrific idea!” But it would mean months away from my people and, as annoying as he can sometimes be, my buddy Chico. I realized that “home” wouldn’t be “home” without them.
That was when I looked up “home” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary and it turns out it’s more than one thing. The first three in the list were 1) one’s place of residence; 2) the social unit formed by a family living together; and 3) a familiar or usual setting. So, although I’d be in my place of residence (number 1) if I stayed “home”, I would be separate from my social unit, my pack (number 2). As for number 3, Sid is just about as familiar as the farm house after the many months we’ve spent living in here.
When we’re travelling, the surrounding environment changes every week or two, but the trailer (home) remains the same, always cozy and safe and familiar. Tuesday night was a perfect example. We arrived at our new camp spot in a howling wind that was blowing up a sandstorm, but once we were set up and inside it felt just the same as the last stop.
I’ve been feeling better ever since I started looking for things that are the same rather than different from home. And I’ve discovered there are a bunch of them. No matter where we go, my pack is here with me and I know they have my back. It’s not the same couch, but the one in the trailer is comfy and pretty much my personal domain (that I will periodically share). There’s a deck to hang out and enjoy an afternoon snack.
We go for daily walks in wide open spaces and there’s plenty of time off-leash. Just like we have good neighbours and friends back in Alberta, we meet friendly people everywhere we go and sometimes we even get to camp beside them. And, a small but important detail, I have my favourite toy, my hedgehog.
So where is home? Well, anywhere really. Home is where you make it, or park it, or feel it. And just knowing this, I’m not homesick anymore.