Home in the Most Unusual of Places

I’ve left pieces of my heart all over the globe. A little bit is still on Rose Island in the Bahamas and when I think of a private place with turquoise water, I still long for that stretch of beach.When I want a long, candlelight meal ripe with drunkenness and laughter, I so often think of Daphne’s and The House in Barbados. There’s a stretch of road in Turkey that I walked enough times, smiling all the way because of wonder and excitement, with Pete and Dalene that it has a little sliver of this thing which pumps my life blood. When I think of fall, a cool breeze, the surface of a lake rippling in the wind and blue sky with white, puffy clouds it is the state of Vermont that pulls on the heart strings. I could go on but I digress from the point in doing so…

The point, is that if home is truly defined as being, “where the heart is” then I have homes in more places than most absurdly rich buggers have houses.Right now, as I type this, I’ve realized there’s another little bit of my heart that will stay behind in the region within the country in which I now sit: Catalunya, Spain. I visited for the first time in May and fell hard. I returned, as a guest again, of the tourism board and despite an imperfect experience, I still fell even harder this time. It’s like Catalunya has made it into the sinew and tendon that makes up the physical part of who I am and has attached itself like a non-deadly cancer. I used to feel that way about Paris, and Paris will always have a bit of my heart too, but some part of me has become Catalan in the sense that I think [nay, hope] that I already appreciate this place with some of the same passion and enthusiasm that Catalan people themselves do.

Teaching at a conference in Girona — that included moments of passion, of argument, of laughter, of heartsickness, of exhaustion, of theory, of learning and of simple beauty — cemented the town in my heart.Exploring the Pyrenees mountains convinced me that it isn’t just the white peaks of Vermont which are home to me but it is mountains in general. There is something about the natural, rugged landscape that makes me feel comfortable. It puts an end to my restlessness and allows me to breath, so deeply, so clearly.But it’s sitting here, working, drinking beer, occasionally laughing, sharing stories and planning future adventures with Turtle while the hum of Barcelona drones on outside our door — that made me want to write this post, because as much as I am often the kind of person who turns to places instead of people for a sense of home, it is people sometimes that provide the most unusual sense of home. The unexpected sensation that washes over me and reminds me it’s something I long for even as I run away from it sometimes.Comfort, for me, is both a blessing and a curse. My past tells me that anytime I get comfortable, I’m likely to experience that comfort being ripped away from me. So I run.

Sometimes, right into the arms of a moment that is fleeting but no less powerful. I won’t spend much longer with this friend who I sit across from. Our future isn’t tied together but we’ve found a reason to spend a bit of time together now and because we get along and both enjoy similar music…and for a few other reasons — it works, it’s home. Unusually. Shortly. But no less, wonderfully.

It’s a reminder to that girl inside me who still has her running shoes firmly tied on her feet that running isn’t always the answer. Sometimes, it’s ok to settle into a moment that is just, comfortable. Even if it’s only a moment, in a country that doesn’t own me and who I don’t own. Maybe ownership isn’t my destiny.
Can you relate?Thanks to Eric Vökel apartments for the physical home from where I write this, and to Costa Brava Tourism who both hosted me for TBEX and for #InPyrenees. You all rock my socks, er sandals, off. || Thanks to C.C. Chapman for the photograph of me teaching at TBEX and to JD Andrews for the wind-blown photograph of me in Dali’s park. || All images, save for the one from the Bahamas, captured and edited on an iPhone 4S.