Time to time, I find myself in an extremely comfortable environment where I almost feel as though I am at home. I am grateful to have a large network of friends who open their homes to me across the states and am always happy to have the opportunity to stay with a friend and visit during my travels. I am fortunate for the ability to use the phrase, “my bed,” to something as small as a couch on which I may sleep for a night or as grand as a guest bedroom, thus transforming a temporary landing place to something which is intended for me, and know this gift is what has sustained me all these years.
Since my journey began 5 years ago, I have not held a lease on an apartment. In the beginning, my travels were markedly slower, and some of my stays prolonged to see a city as a visitor or tourist, or even long enough to almost feel like I lived in one place. I have “lived” with a handful of boyfriends, sharing their space and considering their homes partly mine, as home is where the heart is, and they were a stable factor in my life and someone I yearned to visit. I have spent large amounts of time in California, where my family still lives, being drawn to the connection that is blood and love. Cities with the most work have be visited frequently, but being in town for work does not equate a home, and if truly busy, I may actually end up sleeping at different locations every handful of nights. I currently have a small space in Houston in a home which was once a church, and when I am in town, the storage area laden with my boxes of belongings and Persian napping rugs and pillows, is the closest to what I call home. But in my “hobbit home,” room, I can cross my legs on the floor and touch the ceiling with my fingertips, or recline on my back and press my feet against the ceiling, so the term “room” is a bit too generous. I stay with a kind friend of mine and when in town and sipping Manhattans at the neighborhood bars, I am reintroduced as his absent, traveling roommate. I have spent 58 days in Houston this year, and will likely be there another handful of weeks before the year has come to a close, but I feel less like Houston is home than I may have a couple of years ago.
Many people forget I am originally from California, but moved out to Texas for graduate school 7 years ago. My online portfolios have me listed as a Texan, but at this point I do not know which title is truer, Texan, Californian or Nomad. As I am always on the road, where I store the bulk of my belongings has never been much of an issue, but during my South American journey I noticed I traveled slowly and found myself finding living situations in which I stayed for large periods of time for someone who was on a journey. I know I am nowhere near ready to firmly plant my feet in the soil, but I am almost ready to have a small room that I call my own. Even nomads build temporary “homes” for a short period of time before moving on with their travels, and this nomad feels the time to find herself a place with a true bedroom in her future.
I know some people read my blogs and jump to firm line conclusions, and may be thinking that I am done with my travels. This is not true. And the reality is that I will not have an apartment anytime soon, as there are too many factors to mull over and I am drawn in too many directions to make a decision. I also know I would not be thrilled to have a large overhead associated with a home, nor am I ready to be overly stationary. But this year I have entered the phase of tossing different possibilities regarding a new home base.
One of my issues is I am almost always able to find reasons to like a place when there, and I can easily be trapped in the daydream of how great a place is, but upon moving to another area, I see the draw of another place, as well. Texas, Portland, North Carolina and New York City are the general areas which suit my fancy, but the bay area of California, or Baltimore, or Pennsylvania are not completely ruled out. I know I do not need to make a decision anytime soon, and will continue to be on the road about 300 days a year for at least the next year, but perhaps someday I will have a piece of paper tying me to an apartment.
My current desire for a place is a small bedroom in a multi bedroom apartment - a place where I can put my belongings; a place to shut a door behind me and do whatever I please within the confines of my room. A place where I can hold a dinner party – a place where I would be the host and not the guest. But until I have a clearer idea of the “where,” I will stick to my friendly “hobbit home” room and keep circling the globe infinitely. I do not want this future to home to be where I am all of the time, but to be available to me when needed.
I muse on all of this as I sit in art model friend Erica Jay’s NYC apartment room. Sometimes she wishes she were without the cost of a room which sits empty for long periods when on extended trips, but realizes for her, having a place she calls home is important. I appreciate this and perhaps had I been from the East coast and epicenter of much modeling work, I would have been drawn to do the same, but the lows temperatures of the east cost winters and heights of the NYC expenses and stress of the issue of parking my car has me avoiding making a move to NYC and finding a little box to call my own in this amazing city as well. Today I have attempted to feel as though this cozy space has been in my own, even though I knew her roommate would have preferred my presence or musical sounds not be felt or heard through closed walls. Tonight I will return to the Manhattan apartment I stay in with a friend, and on Saturday morning I will begin a schedule of shoots which will conceal any thoughts of having a home until my schedule begins to subside.
Photos by Andrew F Photography
A home we were not welcomed in ("No Trespassing" Signs) but dared to visit briefly