My time in the States is beckoning- demanding, rather- that I make peace with my identity as a traveler. That I face the reality that my sense of home is fluid, my place of origin a landing pad that is more frequently launched from. While a place of comfort and full of community, my most consistent choice is to leave.
I am asked this in various forms every day. Friends begin their correspondence with “what country are you in now?” New acquaintances reach out with the innocent question, “where do you live?” Reunions open with the inevitable, “how long are you here for?”
With every query, I suppress an internal groan. There are surface answers to be sure: the United States; San Diego is where my family, dog, and belongings reside; I’ll spend the week here for now.
Beneath these questions, though, is a set of my own. They center on responsibility, presence, community, and vocation. I face the inverse of that which I grappled with as I prepared to embark on my journey around the world. My former inquiry explored the tensions of my temporary presence in communities worldwide. In a post picked up by Everyday Ambassador, I reflected:
In that piece, I looked at the problems with international travel and my (brief) presence in communities abroad.
The untouched story here is my brief and fleeting presence in communities at home.
These tensions are not of accumulation, but abandonment. What does connection look like when a timestamp lingers over every exchange? How do I sustain relationship when my pace and place are fluid and ever-changing?
The trend is clear: since being back Stateside, I spent one to two week stints in DC, Virginia, Pensacola, Southern Utah, Colorado, and the bay before spending the last month in San Diego. On the cusp of a trip to Minnesota, I pause.
And I ask: what must I reorient myself to now?
When my voices of self-doubt and loathing take over, my questions level critique against me for my lack of consistency. I wonder at the cost of the life I’ve chosen. I distrust the ease with which I depart.
Yet, when I lean into the invitation to trust my path, my questions are gentler. Predominately, they are ones seeking to create space for my process, as wayward as it might be. How do I embrace this traveler’s identity as a central part of how I engage in the world? What does it look like to accept the call to keep moving? What exactly am I traveling toward?
This last one leaps off the page and into the core of the why and how of what I do. I travel toward Love. Change. Learning. Growth.
And in these words, I find my center. It is to purpose, then, that I must reorient myself.
With this reminder, I step into a process that, though uncertain, is embedded in my understanding of my life’s work. And I seek a center that can move with me. Furthermore, I wonder if the notion of ‘leaving home’ distances something that is actually inside me from which I can never depart. Perhaps home is synonymous with vocation. It is within, as realizing it is about discovering the call of Deep Self.
From this perspective, my blog title takes on a new meaning. It is not only a nod to where I am heading, but that which I am bound to- who I am. The journey I am on is one not of leaving but of returning, greeting, and birthing this place. Beautifully, this task is also the core of what I support others in doing. In a circle that astounds me, my home is found in helping others create their own.
Sitting at my favorite coffee shop in San Diego with the warmth of the sun upon my back, my roots tug me eastward. I’ll sleep tonight in the bustling suburb that raised me to be the woman I am today. Come next Wednesday, I’ll lay my head elsewhere.
My hope is that in both places- and wherever else I find myself- I’ll learn to be home in my skin and in my heart.