Where is home when you live in an RV?
When you live anywhere and everywhere you sometimes wonder, “Where is home?” We have asked ourselves and our children that question. For each of us it may be a different place we call home, but the idea of home is always the same.
The Idea of Home
There are many definitions of home. You can see them at Oxford Dictionaries. The first one at that site is, “The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.”
This primary definition has two parts. The first part of that definition has to do with permanence, “the place where one lives permanently.” Of course, that does not preclude home from being a moving or movable vehicle. In fact, a typical house can even be moved with the proper equipment. But when many people think of home they think of their house. And they do not think of it as something that moves or that even could be moved. They think of it in a certain place, an address.
Home can also mean where we grew up or where we come from. For me that is small town central Illinois. But for my kids who have lived in central Illinois, Orlando, Florida, Houston, Texas, and now the nomadic life, who is to say where they are from? At some point they will have lived away from Illinois longer than they will have lived in Illinois. When asked, one has said that he is from Illinois, but it is still a struggle for him to define it that way as he continues by qualifying it. He adds but I went to middle school and part of high school in Florida and part of high school in Texas, etc. So it is a bit difficult to define. It seems to be linked to memories and feelings and growth.
So where is home, then?
The second part of the primary definition of home has to do with family, “as a member of a family or household.” This is how my perception has evolved as we constantly travel. Our home is where our heart is, as they say. And that means, for me, where my family is together.
Two of the boys have said that home is where ever we are. When we are parked somewhere and we are out on the town or shopping or eating dinner or whatever; when we say let’s go home we mean back to the RV. It doesn’t matter where the RV is. Home is where the family comes together each day. We know that when we are in that space we are in our home.
What about when the kids leave?
Two of the kids will be leaving soon. One is most certainly going to serve a two year mission for our church. The other may serve a mission soon or he may be off to college first. Either way, they will both be gone to other things. I expect home will be where the rest of us are. I don’t really know. I expect time will tell. It will be the other three who will have left home and are in other places. This sounds a lot like folks who live in a stationary home! Maybe this isn’t so complicated after all?
The Bottom Line
When we visit a new place people ask, “Where are you from?” One of the boys answered that by saying, “When you tell people you are from Texas they think you spent your whole life there. They don’t understand until you explain it to them.” I tend to answer that question by saying, “Here and there.” Then I add, “We live on the road in an RV. We spent most of our lives in Illinois, but we also lived in Orlando and Houston.” That is a fairly short answer, truth of course, but sometimes it may be more than they really want to know, right? And it leaves open the follow up question, “Where have you been recently?” If I can quickly add, “How about you?” then hopefully the conversation isn’t all about us. We want to know where you are from. We want to know about you!