Near the end of last year we had a solid plan for a nice, tidy little adventure. We would move seven hours away from home for a one (ish) year contract, live in a tiny little town while saving as much money as possible, and then move back home with a nice bit in savings to decide whether to continue with the short term contracts and travel lifestyle, or settle down in a tiny house in Colton’s parents back yard.
We were definitely moving back. We emphasized this point to everyone we spoke to, down to my favorite librarians. We’d known a lot of people who moved somewhere ‘temporarily’ and stayed for a decade or two, but we knew that was a risk, and we were fortified against it. It was only a contract job, 18 months at the longest. No way we were not moving back. After all, this is where all our family lived, where our church was, where we’d lived for multiple decades (all his life but for a couple of brief stretches for Colton, just over a decade and half for me).
Our home church started shrinking, to the point where we wondered if it could even continue much longer. Half of Colton’s family moved out of state, somewhat unexpectedly. (They’ve always had strong ties, including in-laws for one of Colton’s brothers, in the new area, but as much sense as it made, we didn’t see it coming much beforehand.) My sister’s family developed their own state of flux based on changing job situations.
Going ‘back home’ evaporated as a concept.
They say it’s a dangerous business going out your front door, but I always thought that meant a risk of dragons, not of accidentally becoming transient minimalists who move every three months. (Minimalist because, well, ‘moving every three months’. Many things suddenly feel a lot less valuable when faced with the prospect of packing them into boxes, again.)
In the midst of feeling adrift and in a broader sense, homeless, there are a lot of seemingly small changes that are strangely hard to deal with. I miss my black and red kitchen cupboards. I no longer know which of my elders to go to in case of a zombie apocalypse. I’m going to have to eventually tell my produce guy that I’m not coming back to town after all.
And that’s not even getting into the fact that my younger sister who’d been living in our attic bedroom has ended up similarly anchorless, and has been sleeping in our living room off and on, sharing the one bathroom in the apartment, which can only be reached by going through our bedroom, because this apartment was clearly only designed for two people.
So, as we’re trying to navigate some big life changes, we’re going with tiny, short-term goals for the moment. You know, just little things, like moving two hours west so we’ll be closer to the church we’ve been attending here. Giving our 30 days notice on our current apartment in faith that we’ll find a new place in time to move. Getting rid of our air popper because I learned how to pop popcorn in a normal pot on the stove like a true minimalist. Stuff like that.
Last week I finally started reading North! or Be Eaten, which my nephew’s wife loaned me a few months ago and I somehow hadn’t gotten to yet. When I got to this line I understood why I was meant to read it now:
“But those days had passed away as sure as the summer, and whether he liked it or not, home was no longer the cottage. It wasn’t Peet’s tree house, either. He wasn’t sure he had a home anymore.”
But it’s really the ending line of that chapter that is perfect, and makes me hope this is what naturally follows:
“All homesickness vanished. After weeks of waiting, adventure was upon them.”