Are you a tourist or a traveler? Is it a trip or a quest? A journey or a destination?
These days, I’m a tourist more than a journeyer. I did my journey early in life. I was on a quest for years before coming home to myself. Coming home to my heritage. Coming home to my genetics.
That sounds kind of sad, but I don’t mean for it to. A year or so ago, maybe two, I was playing around with some video software and did a digital story about my house. I often don’t know what I think, until I start writing. The montage needed a script and so I wrote one. In the course of writing, I discovered I had reached my destination. The journey was over.
Now when I leave home, I’m a tourist. I’m not looking for a place to live or find happiness or fulfillment. I’m simply out seeing the sights. Kirk Judd wrote:
I be leavin'
the comin' home
The comin’ home. Yes.
Until I was 26, there wasn’t really a place that was home. I had 29 distinct addresses until my current one. Even then, I didn’t realize I was home for another decade or so.. All I knew was I had no desire to move on. To find a better place. To find a better life. I was content with my location in space.
A friend of mine says to beware of destination addiction – the idea that the next place, the next thing, the next whatever will bring happiness and fulfillment. The corollary being happiness is inside of us.
I beg to differ.
My happiness has turned out to be very much place oriented. It’s hard to pursue happ9iness when you are not in love with where your body lives. We are mind, body and soul – the trinity, so to speak. I think each is an equal leg on the tripod of life. Where I am located in the universe should give me joy and peace. Shouldn’t it? And if it doesn’t, shouldn’t I move on down the road?
I was instantly in love with West Virginia and Appalachia. Truly. Love at first sight. It was Memorial Day weekend, and we were driving from North Carolina on our way to Michigan. The mountains and the trees just knocked me out. I was near speechless at the beauty. This reaction from a girl who grew up in southern California, Hawaii, and coastal Carolina.
The mountains soothed my soul. I often say that entering the Appalachians is like putting on a warm shawl on a cold winter day. I feel comforted and comfortable the moment I’m wrapped in the mountains.
Scientists say we have genetic memory. Experience gets coded in our genes. I don’t pretend to understand it, but I believe it. My people, grandparents and great grandparents, out migrated from Appalachia a hundred years ago or so. As far as my parents knew, we were Michigan stock. While Michigan is quite beautiful, it never felt like home.
West Virginia almost immediately did. The people here felt like my people. And the customs were mine. I had grown up in the Appalachian Diaspora even if I dd not grow up in Appalachia proper. That sphere of influence was strong in my life. Genetic memory? Or learned behaviors? Who knows?
I just know that I am home. I am done with the search. Now, I travel for the joy of seeing other places knowing that the coming home is gonna feel so good.
2 thoughts on “The Coming Home”
Good mornin, I found your video pleasing to say the least. And I’ve read your story as well. I can tell you one can travel a lifetime and never find home until home buying to you. Thank you for sharing love the barn, peace and tranquility that you have there and the life, I’m just a country boy myself who loves the outdoors, the hunting fishing camping everything that goes with it. And sometimes just being out sitting in it is all that I need. Thank you again for sharing, I would say to you. I hope your day is blessed, but I can see every day you have is already blessed. So may your days be many and I am happy the little girl in you has finally found her way home!
Thank you so much! I am glad I found my spot on the planet, too!