Creating a Home on the Road
I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” ~ Maya Angelou
It finally dawned on me that I am living constantly on the road. Since 2014, I travel outside of the U.S. for six months and travel within the U.S. for the rest of the six months. Somehow my lifestyle has lent itself to abandon the traditional way of living and embracing an alternate way of creating a home and livelihood for myself. It is truly a fascinating experiment on my part to tap into the “migration” gene in my lineage. Both sides of my grandparents left China and traveled to Hong Kong, to Malaysia and eventually to Singapore for work. And many of my uncles have traveled and lived abroad to work. Leaving home base seems to be a common trait in both sides of my family.
As I adopt this “Gypsy” lifestyle, I find myself more and more at ease with new routines such as packing and unpacking, adjusting to a new time zone, temperature, currency, cuisine, language, culture and a new bed.
Another adjustment that is getting easier is the new rhythm and schedule of how I stay connected with students, studios, teaching colleagues, friends and love ones as I travel. My resistance to the constant state of arriving and leaving has lessened tremendously. And the biggest learning curve is letting go of my wanting a physical home that I can call my own where my belongings are permanently unpacked.
When I think of a home, I often think of a place where there is an address to receive mails; a comfortable bed for rejuvenation; an altar where I can go pray and be in silence with God; a kitchen where I can make a cup of tea or a pot of curry; a bathroom for a refreshing shower; a cozy sofa to read a book undisturb; and a living room where my friends can hang out. Having a home is like having a sense of safety, warmth and protection that not only helps to increase well-being but also gives me a sense of permanency. There is a sense of belonging. And there is a place where the soul can rest.
With this new lifestyle, the meaning of home is quite different. What I discover is that a home is more than a place, or a space. It is a feeling and/or a state of being. It is the feeling at peace in my heart and mind where ever I am. It is the feeling of being comfortable with impermanence and with no solid ground to call my own. It is the letting go of wanting a sense of control of my life, and of something safe And strangely, a feeling of equanimity and liberation arise from that letting go that does feel like home. It is like a feeling of finally accepting all of me and feeling at home with myself. Emily Dickinson said, “Where thou art – that – is Home.”