Minimalist Living: Home & Identity

jmbarclayMost people are proud of their homes. They manicure their lawn, create color schemes, and hang pictures. Whether it’s been two weeks or two years, folks tend to feel a sense of pride for their space and for their home. You’ll see framed pictures on the walls, shelves of books that may or may not have been read, and of course a few odds and ends that sit around gathering dust. We see our homes and the stuff we stuff into them as a projection of ourselves. Our home says, “Hey! This is who I am! This is where I’ve been! This is what my interests are! I hate doing dishes!” Or something to that effect. Each time you invite someone into your home you are presenting that person with an image of who you are. Or at least, who you think you are. Or, who you want people to think you are.

My home has been a suitcase since December 29, 2013. My fella and I set off on an adventure that began in Houston, Texas and has led us to Berkeley, California. We’ve slept in a tent, in an American Hostel, hotels, motels, floors and cottages. We’ve been lucky and skilled and courageous. We packed the Honda Civic with all we own in the world and decided to go where life takes us. We don’t have a home. We have nothing to decorate, no walls to hang pictures of our past experiences. Our lives are lived in the now. 

Not having a home has it’s pros and cons. Both of us are getting a little tired of being on the road and not having a place of our own. Living the life of a vagabond can give you a feeling of independence and freedom, but at the same time leave you feeling strangely disconnected from the world around you. If my identity is wrapped up in my home (and I don’t have a home) what does that say about me? Who am I?

One the one hand, I like not looking at pictures of my past every day. It’s hard to grow as a person when you are anchored to your past. Seeing pictures of Prague sometimes makes me sad. I have to remind myself that if I were to go back there today it wouldn’t be the same. I’ve changed and I am changing daily. I am not the same person I was in Prague, or even in Texas. I’ve changed and I allow myself the freedom to change every day.

In a few weeks we are moving onwards to Seattle, Washington. I am excited about the possibilities of living in a new city and excited about beginning a new chapter in my life. I’m also excited about having a place to call my own, at least for a while. I guess that’s the best part about living life as a vagabond – I don’t have to stay any place. If we like Seattle and we find jobs we like, we’ll stay. If not, who knows. There is a big world out there just waiting to be explored.

For this American Vagabond home is where you just happen to be. And that is more than alright with me. I’d rather have a lot of experiences and memories than a matching bedroom set and a mortgage.

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3 thoughts on “Minimalist Living: Home & Identity

  1. Amen, sister. Although I’m sitting by my fireplace this evening with my wife and dog, I agree with you. To me, “home” is about who you’re with, not where you are. Peace and best, John

  2. It sounds like you are having a fun adventure! There is always time to settle down and “nest” later. It’s good you both have the courage to just travel and see where your next adventure takes you.

  3. “Seeing pictures of Prague sometimes makes me sad.”

    I lived in Prague too. It is such a special place! There’s something with this city, that seems to be in you forever. I can feel myself navigating its streets right now!
    It’s hard to explain…

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