Hi Travel Mates,
Last we spoke we were in Utah. Our next stop was Colorado…
Leading up to our visit, my cousin in Denver and I talked in circles. COVID! How? Masks! Outside? Tests? Quarantine? Hugs! Normalcy! Cousins! COVID! How?
Finally we landed on a plan. She would quarantine with her school exposed kids and we would quarantine with our mystery-travel-exposure for the first week. We would skip Thanksgiving and keep our eyes on the prize.
And so it went.
We arrived at my aunt’s place in Longmont and it was everything an Airbnb isn’t. Homey and welcoming, Ganesh sitting on the table, A Chakra chart in the bedroom, and to top it off, a home cooked meal she left us on the stovetop before she generously vacated her place.
My daughter immediately got into the vibe of the place and had us sitting around the singing bowl for a “feelings circle.”
I felt grateful for FAMILY.
The next day we met up with my cousin and her kids in a park and greeted each other with distant hugs and tears behind our masks.
During the week we collected eggs from my aunt’s chickens, fed the cats (my eldest especially took them under his wing and kept shushing us so we wouldn’t scare them,) played basketball and tennis with the cousins, and did our regular torturous homeschooling routine.
Finally Saturday arrived and we broke the seal. And that’s when our family visit REALLY started.
It made me realize how much masks affect our feelings of connection and comfort with others. Shedding them broke a barrier. Not only could we hug freely but we felt much more at ease, like we had growing up.
For the grand finale we rented a house together in Buena Vista. It was gorgeous and every moment felt precious. We sang songs, cooked tons of food, played more Monopoly than anyone should, watched movies and went into hot springs.
When the weekend was over we piled into the van, tried to mend our broken hearts listening to Ed Sheeran and Adele, and started our 4 hour drive to New Mexico.
Our visit with family filled us with new juice in our batteries and fuel in our tanks, unlike the car. At one point we had 28 miles in the tank and the gas station was 32 miles away. We were on a “highway” with no lights, no people, no towns, at night. It’s the stuff memories are made of. And the stuff that can break up a marriage. But we made it.
People ask us how long we’ll be traveling and if we’ll return to NY. I don’t know. We can only see two weeks ahead. But after feeling warm and cozy with family I couldn’t help but ask – why are we leaving? where is home? And –
What makes for a HOME?
In many ways this trip is about figuring out where we want to settle next. Will it be somewhere warmer than NY? Rural? Suburban? Urban? Will our travels lead us right back to Brooklyn?
We enter every new town imagining ourselves sitting in the backyards, making dinner as we look out onto the view, the kids playing with the neighbors.
NY never felt like a final destination for us. But both my husband and I have come to the realization that maybe nothing ever will.
But these days I’ve found home in an unlikely place – TRAVEL.
When we’re driving down an endless highway, music playing, the kids safe in the back, everything we need in the car, it feels like HOME.
Home for me at the moment is the in-between, the transience, saying hello and shortly after saying goodbye, not knowing where we’re going next or for how long, arriving at strange places and unpacking and then packing up our lives again like origami.
There is a lot of difficulty to what we are doing right now, but I can’t imagine taking any other road.
I’m not sure the kids agree. Especially for my eldest, constantly needing to be flexible and deal with the unknown is extremely challenging.
So then I ponder – How do we handle different concepts of home within our family? They may not see travel as home as I do, but do they see my husband and I as home? Are we home enough?
One thing we’ve learned is this: When we do land somewhere, the location itself won’t really matter. We’ll end up steeped in the same routines and habits regardless of whether there are mountains, desert, or storefronts out our window.
What will matter is whether we have family around us.