I’ve lived 39 years without owning real estate. I’ve never even signed a lease for longer than one year.
I currently live out of one duffle bag for clothes, one duffle bag for gear, a backpack for technology, and a tote for books.
When I was backpacking around Latin America, Asia and Europe during my twenties and thirties (sometimes studying, sometimes working, but always traveling), I found the ever-changing notion of the word “home” difficult. Always I was leaving something or someone behind, never I felt complete in any one place, usually I missed wherever I had last been dearly. Pieces of me were scattered around the globe – sweat shed on dance floors of eastern Europe, kisses planted on beaches of Rio, pounds burned trekking across Mexico, houseplants entrusted to a friend in Japan. In every place I left behind friends I cherished, colleagues I respected, and (often) a young man I swooned for. If home is where the heart is, I was a global citizen, shards of my heart abandoned at each place I loved and left.
Despite this nomadic life, the only time I have ever felt homeless was in late 2014; Blue Moon had gone south to stage for our lives as cruisers, and I was living out of a closet in the hall outside my office in midtown Manhattan, surfing from friends’ couches, to airport hotels, to west village airb&bs, to families’ couches for the holidays. It was less about the transient nature of my housing – I’m quite good at living out of a backpack and sleeping in random places – and more about the gross mismatch between the life I was living (working in New York) and the life I wanted to be living (cruising the Caribbean on a sailboat). If you believe the addage, my heart and home were a thousand miles away on a mooring ball.
For those four years onboard, Blue Moon was more of a home than I’d ever had before – a space I always looked forward to coming home to, a home that accompanied me as I wandered, a place I never wanted to leave. Within days of starting our life as cruisers, I wrote a blog post about how Blue Moon “feels like home to me” and everyday on her made that feeling stronger. Even now that I’ve moved off Blue Moon and she’s been left alone up on the hard (how could you leave her like that, Jason?!), I can still affirm that there is no place on earth I’d rather be right now than home on Blue Moon.
I learned a lot about home on Blue Moon. Blue Moon taught me that home isn’t where the heart is. Home can be far from those you love, far from your heart. Home can be far from where you want to be, far from where you are. Home can be temporal and transitional and transitory. Home can be anywhere you choose it to be, for as long as you want it to be. Blue Moon taught me that home is where the anchor drops. Home is where you’ve chosen to be, and if that home doesn’t fit, then up anchor, sail on, and find a new anchorage, a new home. Moving from home to home doesn’t make you homeless or incomplete; it makes you stronger and surer and better rooted wherever you do drop the anchor.
My anchor has dropped in Bonaire. This is the view from the pool outside my patio. Everyday I walk across the street and swim, snorkel and dive the beautiful waters. If I’m going to live on land, this is about as good as it gets. We’ll see how well the anchor sets over time and through storms.