At the age of 20, I had spent approximately 56% of my life in New Zealand, 30% of my life in California, 6% of my life in Maryland, 5% of my life in Canada, and just under 3% of my life in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.
They say that ‘home’ is where the heart is. If that’s the case, then my home is Canyon Village in Yellowstone, the place I’ve been happiest. Specifically, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, at 2AM in the morning of a late July night, wrapped in a blanket as it begins to snow.
For me, home was an era. Home was those cool summer nights in ’14 when we drove to Firehole River and swum under the full moon. Home was those late night summer canyon runs in ’13 under glittering stars when I told people more about myself than I’d told anyone in three years.
People fixate on the idea of ‘where are you from?’ because the answer to this question can generally give a sense of who one might be, and with which group they might fit in.
I am a city kid, but I was raised in a town of 40,000 people. I use single quotation marks around most single words, but double quotation marks around speech. I complain that it’s about 40 degrees out (Celsius) or that it’s about ten degrees out (Fahrenheit). I don’t have a glowing beach tan and I don’t listen to Flight of the Concords. I don’t speak like a valley girl and I’ve barely seen half of the Lord of the Rings movies. I am happiest when I am in the middle of nowhere, but I am happiest when anonymous in a bustling city. I could walk to my childhood friends’ homes in less than ten minutes alone, but my best friends live six hour plane rides away. I grow potted plants and support pot plants.
And the 5% of my life I lived in Canada? The biggest memory I have of that era is getting a gameboy advance for Christmas.
Where am I from? New Zealand, California, Maryland, Wyoming? It’s complicated. A nametag stating my birthplace or my permanent residence merely conveys a snapshot of my life, the dust cover of a book that has nothing to do with the inner pages detailing who I am.
Maybe someday I’ll make myself a home. Or maybe home will continue to be with my friends, and with my cherished memories, and I’ll just keep exploring.
see on defining home (clinical.)