... WHERE IS THAT EXACTLY?
Hola and Hello. It’s time for a ruminative entry, as this busy summer has left us with little time for some much-needed reflection. While we have been re-acclimating to life Stateside, we have been asked by friends, family and readers alike: Where is your “home” now that you are back in America? And while the simple answer is, “For now–Ann Arbor, Michigan,” the reality doesn’t feel that straightforward. “Home” has come to mean something much different to us than the 1000 square feet of space where our stuff happens to be. Lately, we have been reconsidering our collective perception of what “home” actually is.
Born under the zodiac sign of Cancer, or The Crab, I certainly smile at the thought of being one who “carries her house on her back”. And while I don’t subscribe to astrology, it seems an appropriate constellation assignment, given the fact that I feel more comfortable waking up in strange, new places than staying in one spot. However, in direct contrast with that, I often feel a curious pull towards the idea of having a more permanent base or a “homeplace”, as some affectionately say.
Tor and I share this dilemma of feeling compelled towards both the road and a more anchored existence. This has led to many hours of conversation about if there is a solution to this, or conversely, if this is actually a problem. We also routinely ask, “Are we weird? Do other people feel like we do?” (Both questions, we suspect, could be answered affirmatively.)
Our chosen life as location-independent freelancers places us in a unique situation and also perhaps, on a trajectory that will never find us living in a conventional home, but rather, spending time in a continuous rotation of “homes” in different places over the duration of our lives. Our most recent epiphany? That for us, our present concept of “home” has less to do with a place, than it does with people, belief, thought and awareness. Something like this:
- Our emotional homes dwell in ourselves, each other, and family and friends, scattered as they are, across the nation and planet.
- Our spiritual homes also reside within, and move with us as we board planes, ride buses, or walk to the kitchen for a cup of coffee.
- Our mental homes lie in our work–our ideas and the things that we create, as well as the art and experiences of others who inspire us.
- Our physical home? For years, a tattered tapestry from India has traveled with us from place to place, becoming a subconscious signal when laid across any bed, table or chair, that we are “home”. While we were in Mexico, a friend noticed that a hole had appeared in our cherished, thread-bare tapestry and thoughtfully asked her mother to sew it up. Through this simple act of kindness, she returned our home to us!
In living a life of continuous travel, we’ve asked ourselves about the potential of missing out on a community, something that we also see as important. However, we’ve come to realize that we do have a community; one that is alive and well, just not in the conventional sense. As creative people, the majority of our connections are made through the work we do, such as the art and design community that lives and breathes through the magic of the internet. We marvel at having the ability to brainstorm, collaborate and connect with other creative friends all over the world via tools like Skype, DropBox and Basecamp. In addition, the amazing people that we have met on our travels have also become a source of meaningful connectivity. This “vagabond” tribe of modern-day nomads is as strong and vital as a global neighborhood watch, sharing information on trips, destinations and travel advice while constantly bonding over a shared desire to see the world firsthand.
This past week, while staying at another one of our “homes” (my parents’ house on Lake Huron), my little nieces and I came up with an idea for a film one rainy afternoon. The outcome was a six-minute short about our annual summer carnival (which you can watch, above), but more importantly: it is a film about a family. It is also a perfect example of what “home” means to us–the feeling of being truly content, our hearts, spirits and minds fully engaged and surrounded by joy and love. Indeed, this is the “home” that we will continuously carry with us, regardless of where we hang our hats.
Some Photos of Home ...
Important Note: All these photos were taken by our Kuhlmann nieces and nephew, ages 8 through 13. Pretty great photographers, aren’t they?