Want to know a secret? I’m assuming yes, because everyone does.
I don’t like travelling. I don’t like being uncomfortable and not knowing how many people have used the pillow I’m sleeping with or when the bathroom was last cleaned or even when the toilet paper is put on backwards. I hate it when I come home and my clothes don’t smell familiar, or the way cupboards in new places are organized in a manner that don’t make sense to me. I always seem to leave behind some specific thing – like a hat or certain shirt – that I think about every single day until I return. I don’t like the weird look I get when someone in a small town recognizes that my face is unfamiliar.
I realize these things are trivial. That the colour of the walls of my room or the texture of my sheets shouldn’t bother me. It doesn’t matter if the plates don’t match or the shelf isn’t centred with the wall. But these things get to me. And even when I’m in the midst of experiencing a sunset along the Yukon river, or autumn in August, the thought of going “home” to a place that doesn’t feel like (or even remind me of) home is daunting.
I’m in awe of people who don’t obsess over their living spaces. Who think of their bedroom as a place to crash between activities instead of a sanctuary. I want to be one of those people that it okay with not having something that is “mine”; the way I want it to be – without questions – to return to.
I’m aware of the idea that home should be within yourself. Or where your heart is. Or with your significant other or whatever, but the truth is I don’t know what that means for me. I don’t know how to feel at home with myself if I don’t know when those walls will sink through the floor in a panic attack. I don’t know how to feel comfortable in my own skin if my favourite jeans now have a hole in the thighs or I still can’t remember where that sweater I seemed to have lost over a year ago went.
Sure, my body is a temple. I go to the gym, eat my greens, shower, write, yadda yadda, on and on. But I don’t think that home is about taking care of yourself. For me, home is predictable. Home is where things have a place, and I know where that place is. Home is being able to sit at a desk and write instead of cramped up on a bed, or being able to use all of the ingredients in my kitchen and not feel guilty for taking 2 days to clean the dishes. Home is where I can figure out my internal chaos without having the external contributing to it.
But there are little ways to bring home with me. In a duvet, my favourite sweater, a playlist, and finding my favourite wine at the liquor store. There’s home in cozy cafes and lattes when the milk hasn’t been burnt. Home is on a path in the woods that makes me feel the same whether I’m in Toronto, BC, or the Yukon. Home is in being able to call my mom, or grandma and have their voices still be the same. It’s in Shakshuka and burrito bowls and Black Forest Cake on birthdays.
So, I hate travelling. I hate not being able to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night in my underwear. That people smoke in the living room, in the bedroom next to mine, leave ashes in the toilet from when they were shitting and having a cigarette like it’s the fucking 80’s. It irks me when I can’t rely on a grocery store to have what I’m looking for, when there are too many pillows on a bed, or I get anxiety about having all my shit spilling out onto the floor because I’m living out of a bag.
It might be that knowing home is waiting for me is the only thing keeping me sane on my travels, or that losing my sanity will make me feel even further. Maybe having “home” is what is really making it harder. But as it is, the more I miss home, the more ways I’m finding ways to close that gap. Right now I can’t find that comfort within me. That’s okay. So far I’ve been able to carry a little bit of it with me, and for all that I’m seeing and doing it’s a reasonable sacrifice.