I spend a lot of time on the road, and I am often asked “Where is home for you?”
The simple answer is where ever my suitcase is. Today it’s Fullerton, CA and tomorrow it will be Pittsburgh, PA again. By the end of September, I will have four different “homes”: Pittsburgh, Columbus, Seattle, and Berkeley. By the end of November I will have considered seven more places home: Cologne, Buenos Aires, Quebec, Grenoble, Hamburg, Genoa, and Lima.
Originally home was Lafayette, CA, a small suburb outside of San Francisco on the other side of the Caldecott Tunnel. In June 2004 after my brother graduated from high school, my parents moved to Seattle and I was upset about it. I understood that there was no reason for my parents to continue living in suburbia, especially since the kids had left the nest and my mother was no Stepford wife, but Lafayette had always been considered home and with them moving, I was not going to be able to return to the place that I grew up in.
While attending UCI, Irvine was considered “ school home” and Seattle was “home-home;” after all, that is where my boxes, spare clothing, childhood trophies, and parents were. Before graduating, “home” had also been in Osaka, Japan and Montpellier, France. After graduating, I moved into Kevin’s house in Pittsburgh, PA so that we could dance full-time. And then we started traveling. And then it got complicated.
As the hours ticked along from time spent away from home (referencing Pittsburgh), I would catch myself saying things like “I need to go home before we go to the dance tonight” (that location) or “my boyfriend is back at home” (Pittsburgh) or “last week my suitcase exploded when I got home” (anywhere) and they all referenced different places. So where was home for me?
While traveling, the immediate “home” is where my suitcase is. When thinking about how great it will be to go “home” and sit and relax, it’s Pittsburgh. Getting to be home and being taken care of is where my parents are, Seattle. And at the end of this month I’ll get to head back home to see my aunt next week, and then I’ll be in Berkeley.
Home can be anywhere. Home is a place where I can relax and take a shower. Home is where the bed I am sleeping in is. Home is a place where I can stretch in my underwear. Home is the place where I can be me and not have to censor myself. Home is where I make it.