We’ve stayed with friends and family and coworkers. We’ve been in Airbnbs and in a tent. And everywhere we’ve gone has felt like home.
More often than not on this trip, I’ve found myself making notes to Zack (Marketing and Logistics Manager) along the lines of, “when we get home, remind me to…” At first, I think it was understood as an easier way to say “when we get where we’re sleeping tonight” or something that sounded better than, “when we get to the campground or to the Airbnb.” But the more I’ve reflected on the verbiage, the more I’ve realized how truly I believe it.
The first night of the trip was a lot of driving and – in my opinion – some of the worst driving so far. Paired with a storm, extensive traffic, and first day nerves, getting out of Pennsylvania was tough for me. We stayed in Virginia with Jeff, a friend from college, and by the time we killed the engine on the car, I was ready to collapse. But we rallied. We visited with Jeff and his friends and it felt like home.
Then, we went into the mountains of North Carolina where I stayed with a many-years mentor and friend, Steve Barr (link out to Service Sunday). Despite having never met in person, Steve has been an amazing support to me from the time I studied Happiness and service in my college years and onward as I’ve continued to pursue The Smile Project in New York City. From the second we pulled up to the log cabin, he insisted we make ourselves at home. And how easy that was.
The third night was with my mother’s little brother. I hadn’t been to my uncle’s house in years but as I entered the garage code and waited for him to get home from work, muscle memory took me home.
Beyond those examples, we have found comfort in unexpected places as well. Our fourth night was our first Airbnb in a room on an island near Charleston, SC. We had settled in for the night when the homeowner arrived. He introduced us to his dog and we talked a bit about the best way to spend a day in the city and then we went our separate ways. I can’t imagine I will ever reconnect with him or his adorable dog, but that still felt like home.
Maybe home isn’t so much a place as it is a feeling of comfort, belonging, and security. Maybe home is making up your mind to fully love where you are when you are there – even if it’s just one night in a sweaty tent in a Montgomery, Alabama tent ground.