Part of traveling over years means coming back to the same place and knowing it for the first time.—Gloria Steinem, My Life on the Road
I’ve spent a decent amount of time over the last six months thinking about home.
When I’m not caught up in the thrill of all these new and exciting places and opportunities, I’m probably sitting in my car, stuck in traffic somewhere, missing Minnesota and doing a mental dance around the question of what home means to me.
When I was young, my family moved around a lot. So for us, home existed on an intangible basis and was hard to define.
Now my parents are divorced, my dad still moves around a lot, my mom lives in Nashville, my brother is in Milwaukee and I’ve never really been able to pinpoint one person, place or thing that marks my spot.
My permanent address, according to the ID issued to me three years ago, is where my mom lived four homes ago.
The Fischer way is, and has always been, a little hard to keep up with.
But that’s beside the point.
The point is, the more time I spent on the road, the more I started to miss Minnesota.
As I worked on finishing up this blog post, I learned there are many different interpretations of the word home.
Beau Taplin said home is not where you are from, it’s where you belong.
Christian Morgenstern said home is not where you live, it’s where they understand you.
Stephanie Perkins said home is not a place, it’s a person.
Perhaps they’re all right and there’s no wrong answer.
Because the more I missed Minnesota, the more I realized that home is less about the place where you live and more about all of the small things you love there.
There are a bunch of small things about Minnesota that I never really took the time to notice or fully appreciate until I drove away from them.
Things like knowing my way around the city and being able to get from point A to point B in 15 minutes or less, without having to rely on a GPS.
I missed the friends I’d play volleyball with every Tuesday and Thursday. The strangers I’d see at the gym. The neighbors I’d pass in the halls of my building.
I missed seeing Mr. Will at the front desk–and all of the other familiar faces that make up the fabric of my community back there.
On October 14th, when the pictures of the first Minnesota snowfall took over my feed, I decided that I even missed seasons.
For the first time and probably the last, I missed the same Minnesota winter I only ever knew how to hate.
I missed the way the holidays sneak up when the weather gets colder and how it feels to sip a warm drink out of a blue plaid mug while sitting beside a fire.
I missed the wonder that lights up my nieces’ and nephews’ eyes when they show us what Santa left for them by the tree.
I missed the lakes.
And I missed up north–up north was the closest thing I ever had to a home that looked like everybody else’s. It was the one thing that always stayed the same, no matter how many times we moved.
I missed my grandparents.
I missed my scattered family.
And I missed my routine.
Sure, all of these things will still be there when I return. But time away from them has helped me realize that the sum of all those small things, amounts to a lot more than I ever gave them credit for.
“The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
It is the small, simple things that create big, important things like:
A sense of belonging.
That is home.
When I first set out on this grand adventure, I wasn’t entirely sure what I hoped to know by the end of it. I had more questions than answers. I was open to everything and sure of almost nothing.
Would we land in a place that I never wanted to leave? Would I meet someone and fall madly in love? Would I cross paths with a serial killer and never even make it back?
Everything was up in the air and I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly I was searching for.
The one thing I was sure of, however, was that if I didn’t force myself to do this now I would most definitely regret it later.
And so all this to say, the wild wild west has been as fun as it is beautiful and I am absolutely thrilled to see what these last six weeks have in store.
But when my time on the road finally comes to an end, I’ll be happy to return to the midwest–to my middle ground–with fresh eyes, a stronger sense of self and a truckful of memories that are second to none.
Perhaps the most revolutionary act for a woman will be a self-willed journey–and to be welcomed when she comes home.Gloria Steinem, My Life on the Road
We did it. We found it.
3 thoughts on “On Home”
Very insightful Ashley! It is so energizing to know where your body and mind are most at peace. My roots run deep in Minnesota and so happy we moved back.
I wish I had the opportunity to know you better when you were that shy, quiet young girl. Look how you’ve blossomed! You could definitely have a career in writing in some capacity. I really look forward to your posts. Keep up the positive vibes😊
Aw, thank you Aunt Lynda! That means so much.
Another great piece Ash. I’m with Aunt Lynda. Looking forward to having you back home.
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