Whenever I say I’m going home, my friends always laugh at me. “Home?” They say. “Which home?”
Where exactly is home? Is it where you grew up? Where you’re parents are? Is it where you just moved t0 or where you came from? Is it just a physical location or an emotional location too? Sure, the house I lived in in college was technically my home, I slept there every night. But did it really feel like home?
Whenever I say I’m going home, the first question people ask me is “which home”? Are you going to Montana, Crested Butte, or the UK? and now that I’ve moved to Jackson, does home for the weekend mean a quick trip to Salt Lake?
Some people who go their who lives and never leave their hometowns. Others choose a more nomadic life, living in vans. Home is wherever they park for the night. But home to me, has never been one town or another parking spot. I’m a nomad who craves a place to unpack, to set up my kitchen, to relax at night. Home is a feeling. One one hand, my mother’s home will always be my home. But it’s also where I find my friends, happiness, and peace of mind.
When I first moved to Salt Lake as a 19-year-old college kid, I was horrified by the traffic, the smog, the people, the commuting. I missed walking to the store for essentials in five minutes, or the peace and comfort that comes from living within a small community. In a small town, the noisy neighbor is the least of your problems when the whole damn town knows your life story, but they are also the backbone to your life. The community celebrates your successes, laments in your loses, and rallies in your defense. In Salt Lake I was just another face in the crowd. I didn’t matter to 99% of the population, and that was just weird.
As the years wore on, I forgot why I loved small towns and simply took Salt Lake for what it offered: year round employment, inexpensive living, and relatively quick access to the mountains. But something was missing. Just because you can access the mountains in 30 minutes doesn’t mean you’re in the mountains. It was that direct interaction with my environment I missed.
Three weeks ago I rolled into Jackson with a car-load of belongings and a deposit on a fully furnished room. I didn’t know what the house looked like or how to get there. But I did know that I was exactly where I wanted to be.
Sometimes moving is difficult. But this move? It was simply the pragmatic effort of packing and moving. It didn’t feel brave or different or scary. It just felt like it was time. That doesn’t mean there weren’t any tears, or that I didn’t leave behind dear friends, but that I know that for those friendships it’s more a see you later than a goodbye.
What does home mean to you?