The concept of “home” is always something that’s confused me. Not because my life is, or has been, unstable in any way – on the contrary, I had a pretty great childhood and lived in the same house from ages 5-18. It’s all the discussion about what home is that confuses me.
Home could be, quite literally, where you live. Your castle. I always try to make my apartments personal, hanging paintings or posters, displaying my video game collection and books, and I’m terrible about hoarding little things like stuffed animals and figurines. When people come over, they definitely get a sense of who I am – my kitchen is filled with gadgets, I have all of my video game systems proudly on display, and there are posters of things I like on the walls (framed, because I’m an adult and I can buy $8 frames at Wal-Mart instead of using push pins like some kind of animal).
But have you ever been somewhere and felt this feeling deep inside you like you belong there? It’s sort of like relief, like you’ve finally found where you’re supposed to be. I guess that could also be my inner dreamer, or my active imagination. It’s easy for me to picture myself living in other places. Of course I’ve thought about the usual things – Los Angeles, New York City – but I most often think about it in two places – Minnesota, and northern Michigan.
First, Minnesota. When I was in my early 20s, I went on a couple of road trips, all by myself. I drove up to Minnesota, because I had never been there, and I had friends there. When I first crossed from Iowa to Minnesota, of course I realized it was beautiful. There were signs for lakes every couple of miles, and everyone had this sort of laid-back attitude that reminds me of the nicer people in small-town Texas (you know, the ones that aren’t racist meth addicts). When I went to northern Minnesota, Duluth and the shores of Lake Superior to be specific, I had that feeling. When you drive up I-35 to get to Duluth, there’s this hill. It’s not very steep, but when you reach the top, you see Duluth below you, the famous bridge, and Lake Superior. I got so overwhelmed at that moment that I pulled over to one of those “viewing spots”, just to catch my breath.
I spent a few days there, just wandering the city and driving along the scenic route along Lake Superior. I ate pie from Betty’s, went fishing on Lake Vermilion, and went to the US Hockey Hall of Fame. I actually cried when I had to leave. I didn’t know anyone in Duluth or northern Minnesota, so I just wandered around and did my own thing, and it felt amazing.
Michigan is a little more complicated than that. My family lives there, so I can visit there a lot more often. My cousins two cute little houses in a small town. There’s nature everywhere – the only real road to get anywhere is US-31, a two lane highway that I’ve traversed from Petoskey all the way to Mackinaw City. My friend Steph and I will take the ferry out to Mackinac Island (I’ve always been confused as to why the city is Mackinaw, and the island is Mackinac – I’m sure there’s a reason that someone will enlighten me on), where there are no cars. We drink beer and eat whitefish dip at the Pink Pony, and make sure we sample fudge from every fudge shop on the island.
Steph and I have actually talked about opening a brewery/bakery up there. It’s just a joke (I think), but in actuality I’m not sure I would mind doing it. I’ve lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area pretty much my whole life. Maybe a change would be nice. I don’t want to be one of those people that stays in one place forever. I travel a lot, and I intend to continue doing that – maybe that’s enough. Where I am now IS home, for sure, but maybe someday somewhere else can be home. Either that, or I’ll just travel and have multiple “homes”.