It seems these days that a lot of single travel bloggers are commenting about how they just can’t keep their traveling anymore, and that they have a strong desire to return “home” for Christmas. For so many people, “home” seems to be the quintessential location where everything begins and ends. Most often, it’s their parent’s home they talk about…the place where they spent their childhood years…the place where their favorite meals were made…the place where they came home from college to spend the holidays, etc.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve always felt a bit nomadic. I had a wonderful, magic childhood filled with days building forts in the the woods, catching tadpoles, playing competitive soccer, collecting crazy vintage décor for for my room, taking piano and vocal lessons, and performing in community theater. I certainly had a happy home life!

Yet, home for me has always seemed so much more…um…portable.

Home has never been rooted to the specific bed I slept in, the table in which I shared meals with my family, or the street on which I grew up. For me, “home” isn’t planting my roots through acquisition of furniture and cars, or decorating my own little corner of the world.

I didn’t leave a little bit of my heart behind in Kansas (where I grew up). I’ve already lived that, I’ve loved it, and I’ve built memories that have found a place in my heart. Bits of memories with my siblings and parents are a part of me, not a long-lost thing that I reach for, and try to capture in a frame on the wall. Those memories are carried with me everywhere I go. So, my question remains…why would I have homesickness when a bit of “home” goes with me everywhere?!

My home is built wherever my husband and I are together with our children. Home is where we are together, happy, and loving one another.

This Christmas we are going to be “home” in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Last year our “home” for Christmas was in a tent on Lake Bacalar in Mexico, and the year before it was at my parent’s new house in Utah, where they moved after I’d gotten married. In 2009 it was at my sister’s house in Atlanta, Georgia, 2008 we were back in Mexico, and in 2007 we were in a snowy Leavenworth, Washington rental home with a 2 week old baby and relatives galore!

Our homes have been just as varied as our Christmases!

And while a home is simply where we rest our heads at night (hotels, rental homes, friend’s houses, relative’s guest bedrooms, tents, etc), I believe that a Home starts in the heart. Natural or financial disasters can take your physical home from you, but only you can make a Home wherever you go.

If you lost it all tomorrow…would you still have a Home?

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This post was part of a writing project through an online group of families who are on the move!  To read some other great perspectives about what “home” is to people who don’t necessarily have one (in the traditional sense), check out these blogs:

Bohemian Travelers – Home is Every Where 

Flashpacker Family – My Heart Doesn’t Lie at Home 

Life Changing Year – I Never Thought We’d Be Home For Christmas! 

A Minor Diversion – A Minor Diversion Comes Home 

Grow In Grace Life – Home… Where Ever We Are, There We Are 

Witness Humanity – Things I will miss about New York (or a Guide to the Awesomeness that is NYC)

Discover Share Inspire – How to Always Be Home For the Holidays… No Matter Where in the World You Are

The Barefoot Nomad… Where’s Home for a Barefoot Nomad?

The Nomadic Family – I Hate Home, and That One, and That One

Simon Says – Where are you from?

Gypseekers – Are We Home Yet?: Re-entering Society After a Round the World Adventure

Expat Experiment – Traveling Home

27 Responses to “Where is Home?”

  1. This is really well written Alisa. Beautifully put. (And we have fond memories of celebrating Christmas in a tent on the shores of Laguna Bacalar!)

    • Wasn’t it wonderful? I will never forget the kids doing that peaceful, reverent nativity for us…or the long days hanging out and doing nothing but taking a dip in the water. We’re so happy to count you among our friends!

  2. So very, very true! It’s interesting to hear a bit more about you! I have always thought I was a portable-home kind of gal because my parents were divorced and moved quite a bit and never really had a home… but hearing from you, I realize that being nomadic and not feeling homesick isn’t necessarily related to not having had a one family home.

    • That’s why I wrote that…in case someone says, “wow! What damaged her so much that she doesn’t feel attached to a home?!” Hahaa! Truthfully…I think it is the personality and the values that make the difference 🙂

  3. We have been very nomadic as well for most of our marriage. Early on we had to teach our kids that there is a difference between a house and a home. It’s easy to get the two confused.

  4. You are a very eloquent writer, Alisa, and your words describe my family as well. Home is where the heart is…..period. I love reading your blog and anything that you write. They all resonate with me and make me smile. Truly. God speed….Beth

    • Wow, Beth. You flatter me too much! How fun that we’ve been able to reconnect after these many many years…and find so many common things and beliefs between us! Hope we get to reconnect in person someday, too! Enjoy your wild Christmas adventures!

  5. Beautifully written! Christmas at Lake Bacalar looks absolutely wonderful – very peaceful. I’ll have to add Lake Bacalar to my ever growing list of places I’d love to see!

  6. I love what you wrote about “Home” being in your heart and that memories of the past homes stay with you and don’t need to be revisited to give you a sense of a place that you need to belong to. Such an exciting lifestyle you are living with your beautiful family!
    Susan

  7. YES!! You take a bit of home with you everywhere, I love that. I also feel that everywhere we go we make a home of sorts and when we return to those places it also feel a bit like home because we also made memories there!

  8. Ah, well said! But for me, home is where my Tempurpedic mattress is. 🙂

  9. Thank you for sharing your heart and thoughts. I too have an affinity to travel, but my wallet isn’t prepared,not to mention we recently got a puppy.
    Anyway, Have a blessed and Merry Christmas.

    • Hi Robert,
      Thanks for your comment. We know many people (and families) that travel on a VERY small budget! It is totally possible…”where there is a will, there’s a way!” Merry Christmas to you, too!

  10. It sounds like you have had some amazing adventures! I can really relate to this post. I am just learning that home is truly where the heart is as we have just begun our adventure. I also have never left a piece of my heart anywhere I have lived and left. The great memories made at those places travel with me wherever I am. Merry Christmas Alisa! Thank you for this post. Reading it made me feel happy to be with my family this holiday and know we will be somewhere different next Christmas and I will still be happy to be home for the Holidays.

  11. What a lovely post. And how nice that you’ve always had a fluid idea of “home”. Such a great foundation to go forth into the world with and to be able to pass on to your kids.

  12. i agree with the other comments dear. your writing is lovely… if you lost it all tomorrow… hmmm…it’s all in your heart, not in that bed, or that table but in your heart, with you. thank you for sharing so much light… i think you and i reached the same conclusion but in our own lovely angles. thank you so much.

    • I have enjoyed your postings and site. Haven’t read them all yet, but am curious how you manage to afford it. Can you clue me in?

    • Mark in TX says:

      RE: visting with friends and family in USA

      I’ve been following your story for a while, thanks for sharing!! Had a quick question about how often and for how long you get to visit with your family and friends, specifically back in the USA? We have 2 little kids and plan on moving to Dumaguete, Phillipines and are wondering if Skype/MagicJack will be enough for a while. One set of grandparents is in Texas and the other in New Jersey.. We thought about moving somewhere closer, Latin America, where it won’t take some 30 hours and $1500+ a plane ticket per person such as is the case with SE Asia..

      • In the past we have only visited the States for about 1 month per year, due to tax benefits of not being in the US. Yes, we use Skype and VOIP phones, and this often makes us feel not so far away. It’s easier when you have a permanent base with reliable internet–which it sounds like you certainly would! It is certainly tougher being that far of a distance to rationalize plane tickets very frequently–not nearly as easy/cheap as Latin America. But what can you do? The world is a big place!

  13. Lovely post! Wishing you guys many more adventures! x

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