Paris, France

June 10, 2018

On Coming Home

This morning, for the first time in over two years, my feet pressed down against the stone sidewalks of Paris.

Home.

To say that the past two years have been intense is one of the largest understatements of my life. I've been lost, knocked down, pulled through what's felt like a mix of mud and barbed wire. There were some highlights - big ones - to be sure. But mostly, it's been struggle after struggle in a country where I've never really belonged.

Now - at least for a little while - home.   Home.

I have a hard time telling you when Paris became home for me. Perhaps it always was. Certainly, it caught me the very first time I came - almost exactly 8 years ago today.

But I do know how home feels.

Maybe this isn't remarkable to you - most people seem to have a "home" - the place that they're from. When they're away, they feel homesick. It's normal.

But my journey has been a bit different.

I was a military kid - moving between schools and houses like most people go through favorite songs. And I as I moved to adulthood, I kept moving, changing cities, starting over.

Homesick was something I intellectually understood - but I'd be lying if I said I'd ever experienced it.

I stayed in one place - Portland, OR, USA - for 6 years. It felt like a lifetime, and by the end, I was done with staying in one place. My dog died, my startup folded, and I bought a one-way ticket to Thailand - and this whole adventure was born.

Home.

Years before that, while visiting Seattle, I ended up staying in the house of the grandmother of a colleague - a beautiful old night owl who'd seen everything the world can throw at a person and had come out the other side.

I rolled in around one in the morning, and she smiled, sat me down, made me a cup of tea, and said, "tell me your story."

She listened to whatever I rambled for a few minutes, and then took a pause - sized me up. Let the silence hang for its moment.

"It's very important," she said, "before you get old - now you still have some years left - it's very important to find somewhere that is home. Really, truly, home."

I can still see that little kitchen, still hear her saying it. Using the wisdom that only comes from years fully and well spent, she'd cracked me in a single sentence.

Home.

I wrote once before about finding home on the road; in the air. And it's true.

But there's something different here.

This is the place I miss when I'm not here. This is the place where a piece of me refuses to ever leave - it just waits patiently for me to come back when I leave.

It's not because it's perfect (lord knows Paris can drive you crazy.)

It's because I love it, warts and all. Because I wouldn't change any of it, for anything.

Because it's home.

I wonder, where's home for you? Where's the place that a part of you never leaves?

Thanks, as always, for sharing the journey with me, and feel free to write back. I'd love to hear from you. :)

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I saw all week may not make you think - but it still might change your life. It's this video on how to peel a hard-boiled egg in 5 seconds, perfectly. My life will never be the same.

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