I’ve been calling this the “Finding Home Tour,” but that’s bullshit.
You don’t ‘find home’, you ‘make a home’. You may find yourself in a location that you chose, or maybe you ended up there because you followed someone 15 years ago, or it was where you went to college and you stayed, maybe you live in your hometown, or you got a job offer, or maybe you closed your eyes and put your finger on a map. Regardless, you found a house or apartment, and you stayed in that town. Over time, you formed connections and friendships with people. You got to know where are the good restaurants to eat, and where to take your car to get repaired. After a while, you established relationships with a dentist, a doctor, a few grocery store clerks that you see regularly. You know good roads to ride, and enjoy weekends with friends camping and riding your motorcycles.
One day you look up and realize that you created a home for yourself.
That’s how it works.
A phrase that I often turn to is “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” I have to remind myself of this often because I tend to look for the ‘just right’. Many years ago I promised myself that I wouldn’t settle for ‘well, it’s okay’, but that I would require passion and fulfillment in my life. The problem with that though, is it takes a lot of energy! Also, life is a series of fulfilling things – also with boredom, confusion, tragedy, discontent, illness, exhaustion, fun, hilarity, and so much more. People who ‘find their passion’ are lucky, but they also have boredom, confusion etc. And unlike all those memes would have you think – you can’t really go out and ‘find your passion’. Obviously, you aren’t working hard enough to find it…<sarcasm> But it doesn’t work like that, and the people saying so are pulling an enormous guilt trip on you, as if it’s your fault that you can’t find it. Your passion will find you, and usually totally on accident. Just like the idea of “finding home” is ridiculous, so is “finding your passion”. The harder you look for these things, the more elusive they become.
(Spencer Hot Springs, Nevada)
So, what is a woman with two dogs and a camper to do? I have a list of criteria for a new home base, and I don’t think my home-requirements are unrealistic. I’ll let you be the judge.
- Community: My people have always been important to me. I remember getting in fights in high school with my mom when she wouldn’t let me visit with friends. Even though community has always been important to me, I think maybe meeting new people and making friends came so easily for me, I didn’t value those relationships in a way that would have made me re-think moving away. Over the past many years, I’ve realized how vital those friendships are to me.
- Future-proof for climate change: I’m not totally on board with this one, because while it’s a smart thing to have on this kind of a list, my love for the South West might over-rule this one. I’ve studied maps and looked at how our dismal future looks and no where looks great. I thought the Pacific North West would be the smart move, but the dry months get drier, and the wet months get wetter making for difficult to grow. Top soils get unusable, wild fires, earthquakes. Of course, the South West won’t have water. We’ll end up like (that city in south Africa. That was just a test run, you realize. That’ll be the norm all over the place soon enough) When I was 19, I watched a movie called “Koyaanisqatsi” It means “Life out of balance”. That’s us.
And on that chipper note, I’ll move on to #3.
- Not a huge city. Chicago was too big. I lived there for 8 years and had some good times, but it took hours to escape past the sprawl. When I was a kid, I promised myself I wouldn’t live in a place where I couldn’t see the stars. Well, I’ve broken that promise to myself many times over. I don’t now need to live in a place with starry skies, just a town small enough where it’s super easy to get to them.
- Then there are the little things, both what I’d like in the immediate and for my future: I’d like a garage, space for the dogs, something like 5 acres of land, a friend or two who knows how to play acoustic guitar and likes to go camping, a partner – a Mickey to my Mallory, Danny to my Sandy, Christian to my Satine, a town with some culture…art, theater….