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.

  • October 03, 2012

    Looks like an incredible trip and I think it is fine to settle into a moment, or several from time to time!

    • October 03, 2012

      Haha! Thanks for validating me, dear. And yes, it was an *incredible* trip.

  • October 03, 2012

    Kirsten, I am not sure anyone has brought this up to you, but when I use your Retweet button there is a double @ in front of your Twitter handle.

    • October 03, 2012

      I think, now that you mention it again, somehow has mentioned that before. And then I couldn’t figure out how to fix it. Le sigh. I’ll look into it. Thanks for reminding me love!!

  • October 04, 2012

    Gorgeous photos, Kirsten! That one of the beach is just….makes me want to go there right now :p

  • October 06, 2012
    Cathy Ly

    This gave me a bad case of wanderlust!!! Ah, you inspire me to travel again! Love it!


  • October 06, 2012

    This is an area that I really want to visit, thanks mostly to the coverage it has gotten from you all who have been there and shot such gorgeous photos of its, um, gorgeous scenery and towns. These photos are wonderful. And I can relate…I have fallen for a couple of places. Sadly I don’t live in either of them but they call me to return. 🙂

  • October 07, 2012

    A truly beautiful post from start to finish.

    I’m so glad that you and I got to share the stage and finally meet in Girona. I can’t wait till our paths cross again.

  • October 23, 2012

    Relate?….Your speaking my language!… My first visit to your blog, compliments of Nomadic Matt, … won’t be my last…it’s my pleasure to meet ya!

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