Returning Home to Find It

"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it." --George Augustus Moore

After spending four very full weeks in my homeland of Upstate New York I am finding that it's my return to our little urban apartment that is proving satiating. After staying with family for the most of our travels--and renting a tiny cabin outside Hudson, NY for just five nights--I walked into our apartment like a stranger. A happy stranger. And as I continued to settle my son into sleep that night, pull apart our suitcases and make various piles, carefully unwrap the few purchases that made it into our luggage, and then begrudgingly begin sorting the laundry--I felt like I was a guest in my own home.

I kept noticing things just where I wanted them to be--the baby spoons had their place in the silverware drawer, the teas were stacked neatly inside the cupboard, the scissors and pencils and pens were just where I thought they should be atop my noticeably large and sturdy desk. The blanket on the back of the couch was lovingly worn and big enough to cover two adults without any body's toes sticking out from the bottom. The jewelry all had its place. The knickknacks were quirky and often handmade or vintage. And the colors, textures, patterns, and mismatch of furniture reflected my sensibility past, current, or future. In other words, it looks like me.

If I had my way I'd be in two places at once: Rooted firmly in an old farmhouse in Upstate New York and happily dwelling in my urban Oakland, California. But in the interim I think the fullness of our long trip east was best punctuated by our return home. The bustling trip with family and friends was a welcome change from our work lives in Oakland--filling us with old stories, deepening known connections, and the particular familiarity that comes with childhood landscapes, physical remembrance, and the palpable saturation of memory from revisiting childhood spaces. I like to think the land holds memory and we are triggered with certain sensations only when we visit. It floods us. In a good sense.

But there is something even more meaningful about returning home. About discovering our selves tucked into drawers and corners and cushions and cabinets that we had forgotten while traveling. Noticing the careful attention that went into organizing dishes, framing artwork, collecting clothing, and noticing that, surprisingly, things are just where we need them to be. At least for now, they are just the way we need them, and just the way we left them when we scurried off in the other direction.

Well, hello, California. It feels good to be home.



  1. This post resonated with me deeply at this point in my life. I have recently "returned" home. My family and I have moved back to NY after more than a decade away. But we do not have a home of our own at the current time. We are living with my in-laws in a perfect picturesque small town in the Upper Hudson Valley while we sell our house back in TX and look for a new home here.

    It's been an assault on our senses. Remembering old sights, smells, tastes and even touches long forgotten of our childhood has been overwhelming yet at the same time very comforting. But the feeling of not being settled while we continue with our daily lives, taking care of the kids, going to work everyday is starting to take its toll. I am hoping we find our place very soon and can start to have our own little corner of refuge to return to after a long day or even a long trip.

    1. Oh, it is so important to create spaces that feel like home. But, also, to be gentle with our selves when we are forced to be away from home too. To realize that home really IS a place we carry inside and that it will be there again when we need it. Wishing you some respite while you transition. xo

  2. i always love coming home. it's like the happy ending to the wonder of travel.

    1. i agree. it's this wonderful ending to contextualize the time away. it really does allow us to see with new eyes again. true, true.


Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.