I hate this one, and that one, and that one- really I do, I do, I potentially hate them all. You see right now I’m feeling the Koh Rong Island evening breeze at the front patio of my home at the Coco Bungalow, last week we were loving the live music at The Led Zephyr but, home keeps changing and it’s pretty much irrelevant where we’ll be next month, I’ll very possibly hate it anyway. I know that sounds confusing, pessimistic, bitchy, and really wrong….
“Gabi, you’re about to enter year three of globetrotting, you’re living the ultimate dream, and all you can do is complain? Is that the best answer you’ve got to ‘what does home mean to you’ Gabi? Is it possible for you to be so selfish, self-centered, and dissatisfied? ”
Yes, and no, and yes. Let me explain. This one is a bit complicated, but we can walk through it together, IF, if, if you stop judging me long enough to just hear me out. So, yes, no, and yes.
Part One: Yes, Where I’m Grateful For the Fluidity of Home and Am Not A Spoiled Constantly Complaining Bitch
Yes, I am living the ultimate dream and I am grateful for every sticky, beautiful, crappy, enlightened, magical, stressful, and romantic moment of it. I have said, over and over again, and believe it with every cell of my body, that I am so blessed and lucky and appreciative of the our lifestyle, and that I have had every traveler’s (and every married with children almost 40 year old woman’s) wet dream that I didn’t even know I could dream about. You name it, I’ve experienced it and I am so beyond grateful for everything, every intimate detail of the places we’ve lived in, the people we’ve met, the learning and bonding in our family, the adventures, the traumas, and dramas, and the sunsets. It has been unreal.
We’ve written about our changing concept of a home, most famously, in Liquified Homelessness, Perpetually Barefoot, and a hidden glimpse into life years before we were nomadic and so beautiful in Blessed Chaos . We’ve lived in the snow in an RV in the Rocky Mountains, in a tent off the beach of Huanchaco, Peru, on a ranch in Costa Rica, in a cabana in Boquete, Panama, off the river Kwai in Thailand, in an indigenous village in the jungles of Ecuador, in cool hostels (like Nomade Backpacker Hostel (my video tour) , Garden Village Guesthouse (closing the door video), and The Led Zephyr ( funny backpacker video) throughout the globe, and currently, in the CoCo Bungalow on Koh Rong Island off Southern Cambodia. I totally have the right to bitch right? Poor pitiful, suffering me? I know, I know.
So, the first ‘yes’ is for deep appreciation for all the unreal experiences we’ve had around the globe. For a husband as emotionally insane as I am, who also believes that we create the rules of a happy life, and not what society or all of our family and friends thinks is ‘normal’ and therefore ‘good’ or ‘right’. We don’t conform to that. The first ‘yes’ is deep gratitude to God and the stars and the Universe for showing us the way, financially, to make this ludicrous dream come true, and for continuing to bring us amazing angels and opportunities, and the persistence to stay true to our goals and make the sacrifices necessary to enable us to stay on the road. Without these ongoing, surprising blessings, we would not be able to live this way anymore.
Part Two: No, Where I’m Dramatic and Hating Home and Petty, and A Constantly Complaining Bitch
And ‘no’ cuz it doesn’t matter where I am, I can be in hell. I used to believe that ‘when we hit the road’, ‘when I lose 20 pounds’ ‘when that happens… then, oh then, I’ll be happy’….. I talked about it in this video and this Utopia entry when Justin from The Great Family Escape tagged me.
There is no happiness waiting for me beyond the allusive right-over-the-rainbow or just-around-that-next-corner. No such thing, so I may as well wake me-self up and drop that story. It’s just a story. Whatever ‘home’ I’m in physically this month, I am still confided to the prison of my unresolved soul issues, to the rollercoaster of my emotions, and to the swiftly temperamental ebb and flow of my family members and the world around me.
I can be in tropical paradise and going through hell. Here’s a tiny example in this short video clip.
Look around me, life doesn’t get better than this, and yet, if I’m having an argument with Kobi, life, sometimes, turns to shit. And if we’re in the most glorious heaven and we’re tired, and the kids won’t stop fighting and whining and won’t go to sleep, I still want to die. On the other hand, we could be in a parking lot, some dump in the middle of nowhere with nothing glistening at us, and be so ridiculously happy cuddling, laughing, and make joy out of thin air. That is just how human and normal I am, which leads me to part three, the other ‘yes’.
Super Quick Review For The Weak-Minded Like Me Whose Mind May Have Wandered Off to What’s For Lunch
So, we’re established that I’m grateful. Yes, this open-ended trip around the world is an unheard-of dream come true. And we’ve established that gratitude and modesty have a huge role here. (Part One)
And we get that the physical ‘home’ has little to no bearing on our level of happiness as the emotional states of mind take a larger, more significant role in determining our level of peace of mind. (Part Two)
I told you this would be tricky, but if you hold on just that much more (I’m doing the inch sign with my thumb and forefinger right about now), it’ll all come together just beautifully.
Part Three: Yes, Where I Accept How Normal and Perfectly Imperfect We Are
You see, regardless if I have a 9-5 job (which for the record I’ve never had, but Kobi almost always did), if I have to spend two hours a day cleaning my house, or if my time is used doing hour after hour what my heart most desires, regardless of that huge chunk of awesomeness that I have that I don’t have to spend my entire day, day after day, consumed in activities that don’t replenish my soul; I still get tired and lost and stuck. I’m still just a mom who sometimes really wants to be in a fresh, new romance with someone who I don’t have to figure out parenting discipline measures with (again) or work through financial/business ideas (again). And sometimes I’m just a woman who dreams of being a single, female backpacker. And sometimes, it’s not because I am ungrateful or escaping reality as a way of life, it’s because I’m just so normal.
Who doesn’t have fantasies that have nothing to do with their reality? And who would I be if I didn’t sit there, in the middle of living out our dreams, and wonder, sometimes, when I get lost and stuck and confused about why we’re putting ourselves in each others’ faces 24/7, and constantly shaking up our world?
Who would I be if I didn’t question our parenting and lifestyle choices and wonder if what motivates us to keep traveling is really what is best for us?
Who would I be if I didn’t create drama (though I’m getting so much better) and didn’t hug myself for having this deep-rooted trait of constant dissatisfaction that I’m working to eradicate, one grueling inch at a time? Who would I be if I didn’t accept that part of my dissatisfaction may be what pushed me to accomplish the ridiculous number of dreams come true these past two years (Dream Before It’s Too Late) and may be the very fuel that whispers evermore, “More.”
Who would I be if I didn’t mark my own progress and forgive myself for being nothing more than a little girl having a temper tantrum and for being, well me, regardless if my home is now off an island, in the jungle, on a ranch, in a tent, or wherever the hell we’ll happen to be next month. (Editor’s note: We have not lived on a boat or in an igloo yet. Officially registered in mental ‘to do’ list.) So, what is home, that ever-elusive concept that I said in the introduction that I would hate this one, and that one, and this one?
Part Four: The Big Fat, Hairy Grand Conclusion
Home is where I’m quiet deep, deep inside. Home is a glimpse here, a moment there. Home was that moment when I laid down in the mud, in a rain storm, off the River Napo in the jungles of Ecuador and opened my mouth and my arms and my legs and let the water take me, and told God that it would be perfectly OK to die now, for I’ve experienced it all, and am totally at peace and grateful for feeling that fully joyful inside. Home was also on the River Chaychaco, also off the indigenous river in that jungle village, when I’d stick my head under that cold flowing water and chant,
“I am a river nymph, this is my river”
and then open my eyes, and see the sunlight through the gushing waters and feel one with the water. That was home. I had a lot of ‘home’ there in that village for those felt-like-a-lifetime-but-Earth-time-was-seven-glorious-weeks.
And home was when the Honduran men, under the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, crowned Oracio the head of their soccer team. “Meci Dos (two)” they called him, and I beamed with pure parental joy. Or when in Siem Reap, at the Garden Village, Solai played chess with Patrick and he said that in his thirty years as a Master chess player, he’d only seen one other kid analyze the moves with such computer speed and precision and that kid became a national chess champion. Or when Dahnya got on stage in Open Mic Night at the Led Zephyr in Sihanoukville and sang her own song, like an angel, to a crowd of adults, both Kobi and I got tears in our eyes. That was home, home deep, deep inside.
Or in moments a bit too intimate for even me, the great open book, to share would occur and I’m looking deep into those eyes and feeling deeply what only we shared right there, with all the emotion and passion that overcomes two souls sharing those moments, then I’m beyond home.
So, ‘home’, I guess you could say, for me, is a location-independent phenomena. Yeah, I still miss my kitchen counter (what a lovely counter it is!), and my mountain-side garden home; but that’s not home, anymore than wherever we’ll be next month will be home.
Home is when/where/why I feel normal and able to fully accept myself and my family members for being normal.
Home is when/where/why I decide to choose to be happy and am, regardless of who or what is exploding around me.
Home is when I go within, deep within and feel whole and calm and joyful. Home is when I reach, again, that spiritual oasis beyond words and logic and Earth and quite mystical and light-filled.
Home is when I become ego-free and can help a client reach their own inner peace and permanently remove some boulder that was chocking their energy flow.
Home is a bite of that Godly chocolate ball or being able to miss that one person, and still feel total love and embrace the heart-pulling tinge of pain in that confusing, yet beautiful ying-yang of falling in love and saying goodbye.
And every time I think I got it, I think I can say in one sentence or phrase what ‘home’ is, it slips through my fingers and gets transparent again. So, I could keep writing for you a hundred euphemisms and similes of what home is, but I think I’ll leave it at this: Home Is Inside, Anywhere on this Globe And Beyond, It’s Just Inside of Me.
So, deep breathe, did you get it? Were you able to follow what just gushed out of me so quickly that I could barely type it fast enough? Is this what you expected to read on this little ‘family world travel blog’ or would you have thought you’d find it in my self-healing, soul-cleansing www.gabiklaf.com site? I know, and I’ve told you it’s a bit slippery for me when I try to separate Gabi the spiritual who is traveling and Gabi the traveler who is spiritual. Sometimes it just makes pretty pictures like on those spinning boards where you drop ever so little bits of paint onto the middle and the centrifugal forces make such awesome, powerful firecrackers-on-paper. So, share, tell me, what is ‘home’ for you, and have you ever felt what I do about ‘home’? I’d love to hear that.
And, if you do the google plus thing, and you liked this, we’d really appreciate you sharing it. Share it on FB, SU, Twitter, whatever floats your boat, but do share. It directly, directly enables us to keep traveling. And so, under this mosquito net, listening to the Koh Rong Island crickets sing their three-harmonized tune, I wish you a fond good night. Tell me what this one did to you, it’s done a world of good for me.
OH, oh, OH, wait. Don’t go just yet! I nearly forgot (how could I?)….As a special bonus, I’ve got some pretty amazing friends who want to share what ‘home’ means to them, as they too travel the globe with their families. I’m part of a growing community of pretty amazing folks who also live life by the rules that make the most sense to them. They are most definitely inspiring, and most positively worth your time getting to know.
Bohemian Travelers…Home is Every Where
Lovely Travel of A Nomadic Dad…. The Abstract Concept of A Home
Flashpacker Family – My Heart Doesn’t Lie at Home
Living Outside of the Box – Where Is Home?
Life Changing Year – I Never Thought We’d Be Home For Christmas!
A Minor Diversion – A Minor Diversion Comes Home
Grow In Grace Life…Home… Where Ever We Are, There We Are
Discover Share Inspire… How to Always Be Home For the Holidays… No Matter Where in the World You Are
The Barefoot Nomad… Where’s Home for a Barefoot Nomad? http://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-philosophy/where-is-home-for-barefoot-nomad
Galbraiths Go Global: Our Next Home…..Wherever we are TOGETHER!
Simon Says: Where are you from?
Expat Experiment…Traveling Home