Your Place or Mine?

My friends have lovely homes. And I don’t want to live in any of them.

Over the past few months I’ve had the amazing chance to spend time with friends not seen for many years, friends not seen in mere months, cousins whom I don’t know so well, cousins who are dear friends, an aunt and uncle. It’s been a gluttony of reminiscing, connecting, and knowing who people are today.

This Bed is Just Right

All of their homes reflect their personalities–no surprise.

They range from modern decor to vintage; Asian-influences to walls filled with children’s art; historic homes and brand new. Goldilocks would be overwhelmed to make her assessments and ultimate choice.

Mi Casa es Su Casa

Yet despite my comfort with the people, their sofas, and sometimes their guest beds, I don’t want to live in any of their homes.

Once upon a time I had house- and decor-envy. A minor anxiety would wash over me as I craved a certain antique, squishy pillows, ability to choose curtains. That doesn’t seem to exist anymore (or not at the moment). Perhaps because I had the chance to create my own delicious home and live in it for 13 years.*

Or more realistically, because right now, my home is, in fact, a trailer. And even though the U-shaped sofa/table seating is so uncomfortable that my tush is sore, THAT is my home. As it turns out, home really is where the heart is. Right now, my heart is in America, not at an address.

A Beloved Pastime Holds No Interest

One of my favorite things to do on trips used to be going to antique stores and flea markets. It added to my collections, and more importantly, gives fascinating insight to a region. You can learn a lot about the culture and sub-cultures through their dishes and knick-knacks.

But I haven’t gone to a single one so far. I miss them in some way, but it’s hard for me to go when I can’t buy anything. Where would I put a glass platter? Do I even need more back home? (These are my weakness, and I don’t know why.)

Shopping vs Window Shopping

It’s ironic, that I, Paula, won’t go exploring because I “can’t” spend money. I’m far from a shop-a-holic (although Amazon.com may disagree). I can resist flowers made from metal even though I think they’re pretty; vintage tablecloths, but only because I have so many from my Grandmothers; and have gone to many markets and bought nothing. But the fun is looking for your treasure among others’ trash.Ā  And if I can’t take it with me, what’s the point?

Well, dear Paula, the point is to enjoy it as I would a museum. And if something really strikes a chord, then there’s this thing called the USPS and I can send it to my folks, who are already storing my earthly possessions in their basement. What’s one more box?

Mi Trailer es Su Trailer

I may eat off of plastic plates (pottery breaks, people), you have to turn off the water in order to shave your legs, and the TV gets 4 & 1/2 channels, but I have an excellent view.

There’s room for four people to sleep (depending on their height and how well they know each other), plus I have a four-person tent and air mattress.

So come visit, we’ll explore flea markets and I’ll live vicariously through your purchases. And maybe you’ll like trailer life, or perhaps go running back to your home and luxuriate in all that space. Regardless of where we live, it’s our souls that connect us.

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When traveling, what’s your trick to gain insight into the local community? Share your thoughts in the comments.

*Thanks to friend Mia who taught me about finishing touches, complementary patterns, and the color wheel!

17 Responses

09.30.12

You make a good case for the itinerant life style.

Mimi – you earn points for knowing the phrase “itinerant lifestyle” – I didn’t know it until planning this trip!

09.30.12

I like to browse craft shops of local glass blowers, weavers of baskets and cloth, artists. It’s interesting to see how art topics differ by geographic location. And when I use/see my Vermont vase and glass baubles or N. Carolina gourde basket with woven designed edges, I recall the areas and the experiences. I don’t have to purchase something every time, every trip. Often the looking is sufficient. Also, excellent perspective on what makes a home.

Raye – how lucky that you remember where things come from. I thought I would with a collection, but quickly forgot. I do know they come from travels, and that makes them special.

As a Baby Boomer, I have definitely reached that stage of life where I need to be shedding, not acquiring, even nice or quirky things. Admittedly, I’ve never been much of a shopper, but when we owned a house with 5 bedrooms, an attic and a big basement, it was waaay too easy to collect. Now, as you do, I view stores and flea markets like museums.
Just One Boomer (Suzanne) recently posted..Aspen, Colorado ā€“ Skis OptionalMy Profile

09.30.12

hey ya. so enjoyed hearing you describe the experience of your traveling home & how you are identifying with it. i am a nester & am certain that i could nest in an apartment, a trailer, a small house, a cube.
as for shopping, you know me, i like to collect, though i like to give something away if i buy something. i certainly like to look & not buy.
so enjoying your travel log & would love to see your little space & how it reflects your presonality. be safe & ever forward.

Stanis – indeed, you do nest. With such personality and wit!

09.30.12

I don’t need to add another word. Raye said it for me. We must have been separated at birth.

Jeannine – or are separated by a few houses. You’re neighbors! She also goes by Marsha…

09.30.12

I envy you the family visiting. I have a whole host of familly located in and around Austin and Houston. I would love to see them but it doesn’t seem in the cards presently. I think that you wonderfully describe how you find homes and decor. I can tell from e-mails and FaceBook that my bunch all have different tastes.

Dick – getting to know cousins has been among the best treats. Hope your trip to TX can happen sometime soon.

09.30.12

I love local art. So the same stops that Raye wrote about have a definite appeal. I am much better at looking and not always buying than I was in my 20s. I think the fact that I am de-cluttering keeps me in the mindset that I better REALLY, REALLY want it if I am going to purchase it. And I better have a plan on where it is going to go.

I look forward to coming to visit and exploring with you. I know su casa, while smaller and way more efficient than mi casa, is very you. It is just right.

Regina – REALLY REALLY want. That’s the key! šŸ™‚

09.30.12

Your Comments
Have you experienced the color changing of the leaves where you are? That is one of my favorite things in nature.

Leah – the leaves are changing and it’s decadent to see them almost transition before my eyes. Go to bed with a green leaf and wake up to find it’s half yellow!

09.30.12

When I travel to a place where the culture and language are very different, I try to befriend a taxi driver who has proven reliable, trust worthy and not direction challenged. We have been invited to many of their homes which offered us to see a side most tourists would not get to see – what their homes look like, how their family functions and of course, homemade food.

Jef – what an incredible experience; and bravery to do that. Both on your part and theirs!

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