I don’t get back home enough. This may be partly because I’m not quite sure I really know where “home” actually is anymore. I was born and raised in Cleveland. A couple of weeks ago, I made the trip back to visit family.
I spent my childhood trying to figure my way out of the city that was once called “the mistake on the lake.” I successfully managed to escape the harsh winters by virtue of having had a family vacation home in the Virgin Islands. That I was bitten by the desire for warmer Januaries was likely born while enjoying a precious few weeks each Christmas break on sandy white beaches. Those otherwise frigid winters might have been spent freezing my Ohio-born behind off in front of the fireplace. The closest I could get to them (warm winters, not fireplaces) and still receive a university education is why and how I ended up going to college in Florida. The University of the Virgin Islands was a tough sell, even to my parents. A fireplace in Florida was decorative illusion that would come.
Three years and a junior year abroad in London later, the world was my oyster.
Over the ensuing decades, wanderlust was the due north of my life compass. I strung together pearls of experience and settled in various places around the world. My previous apartments, homes and locales read more like a diplomat’s passport than an address book. Somewhere in Greece (or Egypt or Budapest), there are probably letters and items of clothing waiting for me to come back and retrieve them, like a few broken hearts I may have left behind.
I’m not very good at living in the past, even though I enjoy revisiting some if not most of the places I once called home. As the years pass, my ability to navigate the roads I once drove with my eyes nearly closed is not as keen as it once was. Familiar and somehow foreign, even a recent trip to Cleveland reminded me that I never really settled nor settled down.
After all, there’s no place like Rome.