Tales of a wandering lesbian


I like traveling.  A lot.  I like seeing new things and meeting new people.  I like the actual travel, too.  I’m like a little kid every time I climb on the airplane.  I’d ask if I could say hi to the captain if they’d let me, and I have to refrain from asking for a set of wings – every time.

When I sold my house and decided to go traveling, I knew some of the things I was getting into.  I thought about the loss of language.  I agonized over leaving my house and also over leaving my home.  Traveling through Italy, I experienced the newness of a foreign environment and the challenge of not having my own place.  I rejoiced in the magic of timeless cities and grieved the aloneness of my experiences.

And I wrote.

When I returned, it was to a set of familiar places.  Places that had been mine, but that no longer were.  It’s a strange feeling not knowing how to answer the question, “where do you live?”  That’s something I hadn’t anticipated.  I know it’s pretty basic, but I didn’t really think about it until I booked a room in a hotel in the city I considered home.

And I stopped writing.

Yesterday, I packed for a trip to Hawaii.  (I’m tagging along with my parents again, so who knows what will happen this time.  Maybe I’ll decide to become an astronaut, or a professional surfer – though I should probably get insurance and take a few surfing lessons first.)  I’ve gone to Hawaii something like 20 times on family trips, and know exactly what I need to pack, so I left it until the day before my 6 AM departure.  Which was fine, except for the fact that, while I’d usually go to the closet or dresser to pack, this time I had to make a run to my storage unit.  I had plenty of icebreakers and jeans in my luggage, but my shorts, t-shirts and tank tops were locked safely away in a giant warehouse.  Odd.

I put my cold-weather clothes in a couple of big suitcases, and threw them in the truck that used to be mine.  I drove from the home that used to be mine, to the only physical space that I have any ownership interest in – a storage unit that houses the furniture, artwork and clothing that used to fill my life.

It was a strange experience, standing in the old warehouse, the thick wooden floors powdery from the decades of boxes dragged along, shoved into place.  I was able to find my clothes pretty darn quickly.  I labeled things well and must have anticipated that I’d need to get to my clothes at some point, so they were accessible.  I even ran across some of my super-soft scarves to replace the incredibly itchy one I’d picked up in Lucca.

I grabbed what I needed and traded out the suitcases of winter-clothes.  I lingered a moment with my hand on the saddle of my bike, an old Motobecane that belonged to a high-school teacher of mine, and was fixed up for me by a good friend.  A year ago, the bike was my greatest adventure.  Riding to work was exciting and liberating.  Like anyone who has ridden the same bike for 15 years, I’d take it with me everywhere if there was a practical way to do it.

It was strange, seeing the physical manifestation of my life that was, stacked up, covered in plastic.  It’s unsettling not having a single place that I live, but fascinating to see how little I’ve needed the things that I collected – the chairs and desk and bins of stuff.   I’m interested to see where it leads me.  Stripped of the ability to use language the way I was used to, I found a new voice in writing.  What will I find while I’m stripped of a home?  Right now I don’t have an answer to the question “where do I live?”

But maybe for a little while I can be content having an answer to the question “how do I live?”

In the mean time, it’s time to start writing again.

But maybe I can be content having an answer to the question “how do I live?”

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