Home is Every Where

"But do not ask me where I am going as I travel in this limitless world, where every step I take is my home."   ~ Dogen ~
What home looks like to me:)
Since we left our former home 6 years ago, a lot of people ask us and seem to be concerned about stability. "How will the kids have a sense of home", they say. "They will never feel connected to any people or place", others offer. We know they mean well and that they are coming from a different perspective than we are now but it does get me thinking about it.

I want to tell them they are crazy and shrug off their worries, but I can’t completely. Part of this journey for us is to take a broader look at the world and that includes trying to understand everyone, not just people that think and see things like I do. So as I think through what home means to us I have to admit that I am shocked by what I come up with.

They are a little wrong AND a little right!

How are they wrong?

One month after "settling down" in Penang, my 5-year-old started asking when we would go to a new hotel (home). Last week my 9-year-old told me he was done here in Penang and pondered how on Earth we stayed living in Costa Rica so long (5 whole years). Contrary to popular belief, no one in the house cries themselves to sleep wishing they had a home. Not ever!

One of the greatest gifts this lifestyle has given all of us is the ability to focus on and trust in ourselves and our relationships rather than relying on things and buildings to give us a sense of who we are or where we belong. The song and corresponding video below says it so well I just had to include it.
"Home is where ever I'm with you!"

We could not agree more, in fact it is a family motto of sorts (and if you have not heard the song please listen and let it make your soul smile:). We have learned that home is not a place or a house but rather a feeling, an extension of unconditional love. We provide that for each other every day no matter where we are. So no matter where we are it is our home!

How are they right?

A year or so ago I went to our former home in the US. I was there by myself and was on a mission to get rid of all the things we had left behind. It was cleansing and freeing to know that our possessions were now down to what we carried with us but at the same time I struggled with my time there. It may have been getting rid of the last “things” that tied me to the US, or the fact that my family was back in Costa Rica and I was missing them terribly, but either way it was rough.

The cumulative effect left me feeling sad, anxious, and wondering where exactly I belong. I no longer am tied to CT or the US for that matter…so where then?? The answer is nowhere, not one specific place at least, but rather the world, the collective universe. The kids feel the same way, having never really felt tied to a specific location they see the whole world as their home, the whole world as a place that accepts and envelops them.

Some days I feel like a traitor to the US, to my friends back home that I left behind, but most days I revel in the fact that I no longer see borders, I no longer feel ONLY attached to one place and one set of people and because of that I can see different opinions, viewpoints, an ideas. I can share that with my kids and it is one of the gifts I feel proudest to give them!

The concept of home is particularly difficult during this time of year.  No other time of year ignites a feeling of tradition and familiarity like Christmas does.  It is this time of year that most reminds us that home is family and no matter where you are in your life or on this planet...family IS home!

See what other traveling families have to say about how the definition of home has changed for them:

Flashpacker Family - My Heart Doesn't Lie at Home

Living Outside of the Box - Where Is Home?

Life Changing Year - I Never Thought We'd Be Home For Christmas! http://lifechangingyear.com/i-never-thought-wed-be-home-for-christmas/

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)

The Barefoot Nomad... Where's Home for a Barefoot Nomad? http://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-philosophy/where-is-home-for-barefoot-nomad

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

A Minor Diversion - A Minor Diversion Comes Home
http://www.minordiversion.com/2012/12/a-minor-diversion-comes-home/ ‎

Simon Says: Where are you from?

The Nomadic Family....I Hate Home, and That One, and That One http://thenomadicfamily.com/2012/12/i-hate-this-home-and-that-one-and-this-one-coco-bungalows/

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

Expat Experiment...Traveling Home

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Sharing is Caring

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Please . . . please . . . tell me where I can purchase that "Same Same" shirt that your son is wearing. I'm guessing it's in Thailand somewhere and if so I will be there tomorrow. And I must come back with that shirt. Nice post, by the way.

    1. Thanks! We got it in Bangkok at Chatachuk weekend market. Also saw a lot of them in Chiang Mai by the main gate. It says "but different" on the back...we love it!

    2. I found it last night at the Sunday Night Market in Chiang Mai. It's the little things that make traveling so fun, isn't it?

  2. "the ability to focus on and trust in ourselves and our relationships rather than relying on things and buildings to give us a sense of who we are or where we belong."

    I love this quote Mary! You really hit the nail on the head. I'm totally with you. I see ourselves in the same boat. We've seen the light and we just need to shed the "stuff" and get on our way.

    1. Thanks so much! You'll get there, it always happens when it is supposed to even if we don't see it that way at the time:)

  3. I feel similarly... it's nice not feeling connected to just one place. It helps you to live independent of 'social expectations'. Your decisions are more authentic... at least that's what I think :)

    Great post.

    1. Thanks Rachel and I totally agree. It can be hard sometimes to let go of all the memories and obligations of our birth places but when we do, it is so liberating. It doesn't have to be everything but at least the ability to open up and see more:)

  4. Wow - six years on the road - I'm impressed. It's an amazing gift that you're giving your children - the ability to see the world as a one entity, and to see that lines on the map are pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

    Excellent post - I really enjoyed reading about your thoughts on home!

    1. Thanks Micki! We spent a few years in Costa Rica having a baby and settled a bit but 6 years + out of the US and away from our "home". Crazy how it passes so quickly, and how quickly it does NOT feel like home anymore!

  5. "The whole world is your home"..I think that is so great for you and your family. And to be free of so many possessions must feel liberating. Thanks for the nice post!

    1. Thanks Susan! It really is quite free! It will be interesting to see how the kids end up living their lives in a decade or so. Will they hold onto things tight or free themselves from "things" like they did their whole childhood??

  6. Oh there's the guilt word. I think I feel a little guilty that I've had such a big adventure and everyone at home is still exactly the same! I'm sure we'll get over it though. It's hilarious that the boys are telling you it's time to move on - not switched at birth I see! Hope you had a great christmas and didn't kill the dog!

  7. not a traitor dear, just true to a flag of love, not to any political or patronized brainwashed motto, just to mankind. merry christmas dear ones.

  8. I have to put in my two cents here. I've been living an expat life in multiple countries for many years now. My daughters lived with us. They are still world travelers. We don't necessarily need to feel connected to one place in the U.S., but we are still Americans. The hardest time they had was when they both trundled off to college after high school. They had a bit of a time settling down, finding friends, because their outlook on life was so much different than a normal kid growing up in the U.S. It took them awhile to get through that phase, but of course they did. They love their lives and wouldn't trade it, but do be prepared for that part. Good luck and keep living the life. Corinne of www.reflectionsenroute.com

    1. Yes Corinne we are definitely American but are so detached at this point. My kids do not even remember visiting the US. In all honesty we are prepared and talk about it a lot, the fact that we are removed from it all and that it would be hard to re integrate back. I really hope they have no interest in going back for college or to live in the future. If they do I will support it and help them through the transition back but I still hope they ddon't go back!

      They have such a lrager view on the world, I realy doubt they will but you certainly never know:)