Sunday, August 17, 2014


Yesterday on NPR, Rick Steves (aka my travel idol) interviewed a woman who decided to downsize her life and live out of an RV, traveling all over the country and stopping on public land at night.

During the interview, she said something that really captured me.  Rick was asking her how she made the camper feel like home.  She replied with the normal sorts of things, such as putting up artwork and tapestries, and having her pets.  She also said that she has places all over the country that feel like home to her, such as a specific tree in Taos, New Mexico, or a particular view of the milky way from the desert in Utah.

I realized that I too have spaces around the country that I consider "home". 

1. May River, Bluffton, South Carolina - There's something about the smell of salt and pluff mud that just gets my heart beating.  I can remember letting the tide carry me with just a life jacket from one dock to the next, to the next, then back as it ebbed and flowed.

2. Broad Creek, Hilton Head, South Carolina - The most formative year of my early-adulthood was spent slinging kayaks on Broad Creek.  The summer after I graduated from Clemson was one of the best of my life, and it all centered around this place.  From learning how to paddleboard and teaching people about our wonderful ecosystem to riding in a 10-foot skiff in the pitch black in the middle of the night and spending the scariest moments of my life when my friend Jenn got in a fight with some oyster shells, every moment is etched in my memory.  (Please excuse all of the gratuitous photos.)

3.  The streets of Charleston, South Carolina - One year during college, I spent a summer living with one of my best friends in Charleston.  It's been the only point since I was 15 that I wasn't working full-time or in school full-time, and it was glorious.  I spent most of my time riding my bike here and there, going to the library, reading, and painting.  I figured out a lot about myself that summer by just doing things I wanted to.  And I got to spend incredible amounts of time with close friends, both from high school and college.  Whenever I get the opportunity to go to Charleston, all I want to do is walk the streets to bring back some of those wonderful memories.

4.  Random Forests and Waterfalls, North and South Carolina - Man, we did some adventuring in college.  Usually it was spur-of-the-moment, I'm-tired-of-studying, need-some-fresh-air-driven.   It's hard to pinpoint an exact spot, but anywhere with these goons was pretty amazing in my book.

5.  Daniel Square, Clemson, South Carolina - I spent two years in this apartment during college, and it is the epitome of feeling like home.  Lots of laughter, lots of tears, and copious amounts of tea existed here.  Some highlights include a block party with all of our neighbors, family dinners with 30 people crammed in to 300 square feet, tea parties every Tuesday afternoon, and smoking cigars on the porch. 

6.  Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Morningside Heights, NY, NY - This is one of most meaningful places on the planet to me.  My favorite writer, Madeleine L'Engle, was Writer-in-Residence here for much of the latter part of her life.  I came here the first time on a pilgrimage of sorts during a college spring break, and I've been back every time I've come to NYC.  I've gone to services there, taken guided tours, and just spent time watching people (and peacocks!) in the cathedral close.  The most magical parts are the 7 or 8 different themed chapels behind the altar.  My favorites are the Spanish and the English.

7.  The Amphitheater, Clemson, South Carolina - So, so many hours have been spent here.  I've napped here, taken photos here, studied here, chatted here.  No matter where I was living at the time, this was always home base for me in Clemson.

8.  European Decorative Arts Wing, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, NY - This is the place where my obsessions with European history and interior design come together to form heaven on earth.  I could spend days on end here studying the incredible detail and imagining the way the people who lived among these exquisite items spent their hours.

9.  Sandpoint, Idaho - My aunt, uncle, and three cousins live in Northern Idaho.  I've gone to visit them 3 or 4 times over the years, and this place never disappoints.  It's stunningly beautiful, and the outdoor adventures are limitless.  There's almost nothing better than hiking from the bottom of a mountain all the way to the top when it's 75 and sunny, and looking down over a glacial lake and a funky downtown area.  Looking at the photos below, I can almost smell the fresh mountain air.

10.  Alta, Utah - It's funny...when I was living here, my feelings toward the place weren't particularly warm.  I was here for the winter coming off the summer I spent on Broad Creek, working in a ski lodge.  I missed my friends, my job, my parents, and my dog.  I was homesick in the worst way.  I cut my winter short, leaving in early February when I was meant to stay until April.  But now when I look back on this period of my life, I have nothing but gratitude for my short time. 

So that's it!  Some of the places that feel like home to me.  Where do you feel most at home?  In an actual home?  Someplace you've been once?  Or maybe somewhere you've spent long amounts of time. 

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