for me, home has always been an anchor. a haven, a place so delicious to come home to that it makes the trips all the more savory. i remember many trips to El Salvador and rural Peru when I was younger, in which the layers of grime built up, slowly, to a point where you could pretty much scrape the crust off your skin with a fingernail. layers of sweat and dirt and pollution and grime that almost took on a life of their own. the badge of "i went waaay off the beaten path" to the trip-collecting-junkie that i was becoming. (showers not being exactly plentiful, or even possible in most cases).
the last few days before coming home, the fantasies of "that first shower" started to bubble up in my consciousness. the bliss of unlimited hot water. clean skin. clean everything. and yes, too, those dreams of the first juicy hamburger, that longed-for nibble of truly perfect sharp cheddar cheese, or the glass of fresh lemonade with ICE in it (replacing the slippery many-times-recycled bottle of Fanta Orange from the roadside stand, or the Fanta Grape that had been poured into a plastic bag and tied up with a straw peeking out the top, just before being handed in the window of the bus).
where was i? oh, talking about home. (very easy to get lost in memories of trips, lots of stuff just under the surface i guess) there was always a leaving and a coming home to each trip, anchored on both ends by a place that was comfortable, homey, and "just right". walking in the door, flinging down bags, hitting that shower, and then unpacking, souvenir sorting, photo developing, and telling the first and best stories while they were still fresh. a sweet finish to any journey i've ever taken.
this trip? there's no home to come back to. no feeling of knowing where or when it will end, no known destination. pulling up roots, but not feeling sure of anything much after that. i've been struggling with feeling trepidation about that, and it's probably one of the subconscious reasons I've not been too motivated to get the packing going any faster. this trip won't have an end like any previous one. at least that's how it feels from here. there will be no coming back to where we started. it's technically a trip, not a permanent lifestyle, so in that sense there's an end. it's just not known or visible, and for someone who does all the planning and logistics and structure in most things around here, it's nerve wracking. or perhaps more accurately, more unsettling.
one thing that's made me feel a bit more ok with it, was remembering that on the cruise to Bermuda that Fynn and I got to take last spring, (with my lovely sis and her hubby and youngest son) I had fears about claustrophobia and about sleeping in a rocking boat entirely untethered from land. i'd spent one night on a boat before, barely getting out of sight of land, and it didn't really feel that "out there". being out in the open ocean for three days and not seeing anyone or anything in any direction (other than your 40 bazillion fellow passengers and crew of course) was a different experience.
the first night, i didn't sleep very well. our tiny inside room felt more cozy than prison-like, so the claustrophobia never kicked in, but i couldn't lose the thought that i was adrift. unanchored. moving, sliding, shifting and rocking, not in any way stable. once i got up in the morning however, and explored the ship from one end to the other, top to bottom, i felt fine. it became home for that week, comfortably so, and i stopped feeling adrift. (it turned into an utterly delicious trip, with a rather magical homecoming to boot.)
my hope is that i'll be able to do the same adapting thing once we get a trailer, and i make it into home. i'm assuming that's the case anyway. that it will be a haven, a comfortable place to come back to, just as much as any other place i've lived.
as for having a place to come HOME to when this trip is over, michael pointed out the other night (as i was having a wee meltdown) that the pull of sweetness and rest at the end of this all is thinking about the goal, and where and how it will take shape. the place we want to build, the atmosphere we hope to infuse it with, and the things we want to make and share there. this trip is a necessary part to getting there i think, and actually i can no longer see or feel any other way of getting to it. it's all unknown, but it's also sure. the dream of what to build and how to shape it is something we all agree on, and that touches on the parts of our hearts that are the most closely tied to each other. it's a shared dream, and just the fact that it IS sometimes amazes me, knowing that not everyone gets that chance. it's not sure that it will look exactly like what i envision, or indeed that it will happen anything like the ideas cavorting in my brainbox, but the dream is sure, and shared, and that's enough for me to step out on.