Recently, I got my second tattoo. It was at the end of the summer and it was slightly on a whim. And yet, I have quite literally no regrets.
“Home is away”. It probably doesn’t mean much to most of you. Except maybe to remind you of the Aussie television show Home and Away (believe me many from down under have told me).
The reason I stumbled across this line for my tattoo was because of a poem one of my favorite people in the world wrote. It is a poem about travel, about life away from the strict box society wants to put us in, about using time to it’s best ability, about not dwindling away at jobs we are supposed to have and schedules we are supposed to keep but getting away, slipping away, moving from dreamers to doers into the streets of other cities across the globe, doing that which we want. I cannot say it as elegantly as he did. However another close friend turned this poem into a song- converting the offbeat lines and exceptionally profound words into flowing beautiful lyrics. The way she tied the song together, like any good song, was with a refrain, and that refrain she choose was Home is Away.
That poem and that song got me through months of time back in the states, just wishing for my next adventure. I would listen to it on repeat, agreeing with the lyrics that yes there is so much more out there that what society attempts to have us conform too.
Last spring I met an amazing guy “on the road”. I went for a weekend away in North Carolina, staying at my first hostel in the US. That is where I met Dylan. As we do in society, I attempted to place him. I asked him where he lived, and what he did. That’s how we identify people. By how far along they are on societies journey towards “success”. Once those questions came out of my mouth he looked at me completely puzzled.
He was from Kentucky, 20 years old, and he was on the road.
He told of a whole group of them, of young people across the country, dirty kids he called them, who are mobile, seekers, infinity chasers, without jobs, without restraints, and without specific ties. With no money currently in his pockets, Dylan works whatever jobs he wants, and moves, wistfully, whatever way the world might take him.
So I asked him, confused still, but trying to quantify his lifestyle
“So you don’t have a home…?”
He looked at me with his sharp blue eyes and responded – “I’m house-less not homeless”.
It was one of the most amazing statements I’ve ever heard.
When I first got my tattoo I sent out photos to friends and family- so enamored with my new ink. They were mostly less than pleased. To them it looked like I was dissing where I came from, I was hating on that place I had been raised, on the place where it all began, on the place that most people think the word “home” describes. They are wrong, I mean no discredit to the place I was born.
As a self-proclaimed wanderer, I’m away from where I grew up a lot, but that does not mean I don’t love it. This is meant in no way to hate on my family, or my hometown. It will always be incredible to go back there, to visit, to the house I grew up in, to the town I was raised in, to the place my parents and many friends still live.
But home, home is something entirely different for me. My hometown, that is a physical space that means, of course, a lot to me, but my home isn’t a physical space. Home is a feeling. Home is where your heart feels comfortable, where you can laugh to no end, where you can speak your mind, where your soul feels free, feels at ease. Where everything inside of you falls into place.
Away is where I feel at home. That’s where my self really comes through. Countries across the world sing to my heart, being out there in a new place, on the open road with no expectations, no preconceived notions holding me back, that is where I am the most comfortable. The whole wide world out there suits me more than the hometown I grew up in ever will. That is where I am the most myself, and that is home. It’s away, out there, always waiting for me, the next block in a foreign city, the next mountain, the next village, the next smile or cup of coffee with a stranger. Away is everywhere, and everywhere is my home. It’s not confined to one physical space. I can feel home anywhere.
I’ll always love coming back to the house I was raised and my parents and family. But that’s doesn’t mean it’s where I belong. So many people think that they will only feel at home in that space, in that so-called comfort zone. They haven’t realized how wrong that is. We are told that our home is our home, and it’s the place you should feel most at ease. Meaning anything else will be scary, uneasy, hard.
But by dismissing that preconceived notion of a comfort zone, it is clear that the comfort zone in not fixed- but it travels with you. That out here, that away from where you came from, from societies preconceived notions of what you should do and be, you can easily be more comfortable that the space you have so long considering “home”.
For none of us our ever homeless, with just choose to actually seize the freedom we have to live the life we want.
If you give it a chance you might find yourself like me, more comfortable out there than you will ever be waiting here.
The last line of that poem is “so all that’s left to do is take their hand and run”.
My one is extended to you, but I’m not slowing down so you’re going to have to move fast to catch up.