‘Where do you live?’ seems to be such a simple question. My address is in my mountain village, where I bought two apartments; the one I rent, and the one I live in. My books are there. My tax information is there. This is the one that I am responsible for cleaning. My favorite toothbrush is there.
I rent a room in the city where I work. There I have a few changes of clothes. A bathing suit. A few books.
I stay with my boyfriend every other weekend. There I have a few changes of clothes. My favorite bikini is there. My favorite hair brush is there.
And how do I get back and forth from these places? The train. The truest answer of ‘where I Iive’ is ‘on the train’.
‘Home’ is overrated as a single place. I heard someone say that it was stupid to retire somewhere where you didn’t live before. ‘All those folks going south, to Florida, to Greece, to the south of Spain; you should stay where your ‘home’ is.’
But many people stay in a place they don’t like because of jobs, or family obligations. When are we allowed to choose our own ‘home’? ‘Home’ can seem so important to people; it’s where their friends are (but friends move). It’s where their job is (but people change jobs, or lose jobs). It’s where they grew up (but who really recognizes the place we grew up?) There are more/less people, the shops change, businesses change. The fact is that it’s not where you grew up. That place no longer exists.
If I had to pick a ‘home’, the closest I have is the city where I work. This is defined by the fact that I run into people I know there: old co-workers, ex-students, former roommates. Odd little corners have memories: where the car ran a stop and knocked me off my bike, where I hid behind a tree in a park to go pee, where I know someone who runs an ice cream stand. But is that enough to call a place ‘home’? What about my apartment in the mountains, where I’ve been for two years and still wake up in the night when the moon is full and stare at the view because it’s so damned beautiful? What about where my partner lives, where I’ve learned about love, and caring deeply for someone I respect, and who respects me?
And so I can’t choose, or won’t choose. I live in a suitcase. I live on the train. I take three things with me to all of these places: my computer, my yoga travel mat and Foro. Foro is always ready to go. He makes wherever I land ‘home’.
Everyone should have a travel cow.