Home and Feeling at Home
I am sure you have all felt it, that magical feeling when you walk in your front door and step into your house/condo/cabin and say to yourself “I’m home”. It’s a glorious feeling, to feel at home, whatever that home might look like.
For me, it’s taken nearly six months to finally feel at home on our boat. I don’t know if it’s a mix of missing our previous home (we really loved our condo) and friends or the fact that our current home literally rocks and rolls, but it makes me feel a little unsettled.
But it has happened at last: we’re feeling at home on the boat.
I think I’ve actually forgotten what normal life was like for me. I’ve forgotten that we had a car and we could go places quickly whenever we wanted. I’ve forgotten that I used to do laundry whenever I felt like it. I’ve forgotten that I used to have pleasant little weekly routines that I could rely on. I’ve forgotten that I used to have information, music, friends and family at my fingertips with the help of technology. It was a beautiful life and I loved it. I miss it dearly when I think of it, but it seems too far away now that it doesn’t seem real anymore.
I often go to bed with no idea what tomorrow might look like, or where we might end up. That’s normal. I know that would drive some people bonkers (and sometimes it does me) but it has become what we do. I don’t always handle a change in plan all that well, but when it happens enough, over and over again, it doesn’t ruffle my feathers like it used to. I feel like that is a huge part of this travelling lifestyle: letting plans trickle through your fingers and watch what happens after. And we always have our boat home to come back to, whatever our plans turn into. It has become our safe place.
For me, home happened when I sorted through my pantry. I could finally find good spaces and places to put all our stores of food. Maybe it is a deep-seeded maternal instinct that I’ve given up fighting, but to know that I can tear up a floorboard and feed my family is a comforting feeling. Perhaps, after we did a huge stock up shopping trip before we left St. Martin, and I squirrelled away hundreds of dollars and pounds of shelf-stable food, I felt safe. We hid all sorts of good food all over our boat and we are still eating through it (but man, I miss some of those delicious things we only found in St. Martin!). There is no wasted space on a boat. It’s incredible how routine it is now to tear apart half of our couch to reach that extra bag of granola/wraps/beans/chips (let’s be honest: I’m always going for the chips!).
It’s all become a little easier, it’s all become a little less stressful, it’s all become a little more like home. I am happy to spend a whole day on the boat, doing schoolwork or cleaning or cooking or reading: just doing home things.
Though we can’t zip around in our car to the store, we can pull out our sails and head to an entirely different neighbourhood for the weekend. Though grocery shopping is a full-on marathon every time, I am exposing my kids to new cultures and methods of transportation. Technically I can do laundry anytime of the day I want (we use a Scrubba bag), and I am more aware of how few articles of clothing I need to be happy. Though I miss my instant technology, those moments when you are unplugged and have no option but to spend time together, those moments turn into really sacred memories.