Growing up in Long Valley, a small, one-traffic-light town in northwestern New Jersey, I had a real penchant for sleeping out.
No, not like that, but it seemed like in a effort to quell my boredom and my discomfort with being in yet another new home (and one that was constantly in jeopardy as that one sat on the market for years), I would often sleep at friends’ houses, where I felt more comfortable and more at peace than I did in my own bed.
This feeling seemed to spur much of my love for travel – why stay in one place when I didn’t feel like I really belonged there in the first place? How can you feel homesick when there is no home to feel sick for?
However, times have certainly changed for me. After many moves, I now, for the first time, live in a place that I alone have outfitted and chosen.
This time, I had no roommates to consult with before choosing an apartment, let alone negotiating a room or replacing an old rug. I didn’t feel like I had to take a family member’s old dresser or ugly dish set. Instead, from the oven mitt to the loveseat, I handpicked everything that is now on my floors.
Even at 26-years-old, this was a weird feeling for me, and it still is now, a few months after my move. Now, I don’t want to sleep on friend’s couches or get changed in my car as I head to the next destination. I don’t want to figure out how I can sneak into the local gym to take a shower or decide where’s the best local spot to escape the rain.
READ: A traveler’s home is her stuff
I have tons of friends who are saving oodles of money by living at home or by having roommates and even though I may be jealous of them as my savings grows limply while theirs skyrocket, for the most part, I feel kind of bad for them that they probably don’t breathe the same sigh of relief that I do when I open my front door.
There’s a lot of things in life that I, probably like many others, take for granted. When I’m feeling down, I have to remind myself that things aren’t so bad – I have a fun job and great and easy part-time work to add income, I have a lot of friends, a great boyfriend and I’m always on the move. But one thing I never have to be reminded of is that I have a space that’s all mine – hell, I’m reminded of it each time I walk through each room.
READ: An adult’s right to travel
Sometimes it makes me feel kind of lame, but these days, if I’m heading to a destination close by, I make all efforts to make it back to my bed, even if it means drinking a few less beers and no longer being the last to leave the party.
I still love to travel, of course, and there’s still no destination better than one far-off and exotic where you have no choice (oh, the horror!) of sleeping in a cozy hotel bed and navigating a confusing shower. However, whenever possible, I still like to head to the only place I’ve ever called my own.