Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Home is where the...

So where do you lay your head? Where do you eat? Read? Think? Where do you "live"?

I checked into my hotel in Peoria Illinois this evening and unexpectedly walked into a mini condo. I was expecting a typical small hotel room but was thrilled to be staying in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath suite with living room and kitchen. Frankly this suite is larger than some of the apartments I've lived in in Chicago. I closed the doors shutting off one half of the suite and am happily ensconced in the bedroom with the largest bed and attached bath. It's nice to have so much space but I'm happy to be cozy instead of sprawling.

Between my weeks in Oxford and London, my multiple trips to hotels around Illinois for Synergy workshops and library conferences as well as personal vacations I've often been living out of a suitcase this year. I'm an efficient traveler and can pack and go in the blink of an eye. I have certain small bags (bath-toiletries, kitchen-wine opener, candle, music etc) packed at all times that I just grab and throw into my suitcase. As I was unpacking in my suite tonight it made me think, "What makes the place you lay your head your home"?

Since I was 22 years old I've lived in more than 10 apartments, condos and houses. My son and I have been rather gypsy like in our lifestyle and until recently have never lived more than 3 years in any location. I've not really been attached to any particular home although I can make myself "at home" almost anywhere I go. I prefer to surround myself with some of my favorite things like my books and my pictures which conveniently has meant that I have less and less to pack with each move.

As I drove around downtown Peoria this evening to check out the area I found charm and comfort in buying a bottle of wine from the local grocer, by watching the ritual of couples strolling down tree covered streets and seeing families leaving a local church. It reminded me of Oxford where after just a few days, the rooms where I stayed became a comfortable home, the view became familiar and the faces became recognizable. For me, home is where I'm learning, where I'm meeting new people, where I still have a place to connect with those who aren't with me. And these days with the Internet and cell phones "home" isn't so far away.

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