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  • Katie Smith

Traveling Homebody

A vigilant vagabond, in carefully careless living, I represent the traveling homebody.

You know you don't have to fit into one prescribed suitcase. You can thrive alone, but crave social community. You can direct spontaneous planning. You can organize with little attention to detail. Too often we assume a role in a story and forget that we do not have to wait for the "surprising incident" before changing the trajectory of that story. The plot doesn't remain stagnant because our lives are ordinary. The plot remains stagnant because we choose to remain comfortable.

There is a way to remain uncomfortably peaceful though. A lack of peace may lead to a lack of emotional comfort. However, you can feel "comfortable" without soft and fluffy surroundings because you are inwardly peaceful. This kind of peace, then, never fades despite the plot-twisting in your story.

I never knew I would fall in love with traveling until I was pushed onto the plane to study abroad during my undergrad. Literally, I needed a forceful shove to get over my fear of leaving my homebody nucleus. I remember the sheer panic, stomach gurgles, and backsliding that happened when I realized I was going to leave for a two month trip to Spain without my best friend at the time. She backed out early, but my flight deposit was non-refundable, so according to my mother-I was going, or I was paying. I couldn't afford not to go.

My time abroad was scary because I didn't have any family, friends, or even feel confident in the foreign language I was studying.The return flight said two months, but it sounded like two years in my early-twenties. Unfortunately, I have always needed a push to make any progress in my life.

Today, many people take cues from the Gaines couple on making "home" a beautiful space to tell your story and invite people into that story. I would argue that you can tell your story without a home. Even if your on wheels or moving from place to place, you can still enjoy people and places that make your story, rather than making your house tell your story. My husband and I have already traveled a good bit together, and we've brought every age child with us at this point (minus teens), so we are excited to share more tips and travel ideas with you in the coming months and years as we book some big cross-country trips.

There is nothing wrong with staying put and living in the same home your entire life. But if you never get pushed into any deep water in your neighborhood, you may never realize how much you love swimming.

I am frequently asked about traveling with little kids, and most people think it sounds miserable. They would rather wait until their kids are older and traveling gets "easier." Although, parenting from home inhabits almost the same challenges as from the road. Fighting, tantrums, meltdowns, accidents, illness, and surprises happen under your roof and on the road. The difference is that you have less to hide behind without the privacy of a home. You must deal with the issues first-hand, so they don't spoil the adventure. You can't drop your kids off at school, soccer, or someone's house until the tension passes. Instead, you get to the core of issues quicker.

Plenty of moments may feel spoiled for a moment, but too many other moments become memories that shape everyone's character for his lifetime. Waiting until your kids are bigger is an option, but what if that option never happens? Life lessons occur anywhere, but perspective is more readily obtained through various vantage points. Traveling provides the perfect points to alter attitudes by simply changing latitudes (I couldn't help it).

Stay tuned... tips to come...

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