An Ounce of Home – You’re embarking on a yearlong round-the-world adventure, and can take only one small object with you to remind you of home. What do you bring along for the trip?
This reminds me of when I emigrated to Israel at the end of 1978. I brought as close as I could to an entire world in three trunks. Real trunks. You know, the big hard-sided ones that were, at one time, standard luggage for trains and aboard ship.
I quickly discovered you can’t bring home with you, even if you bring a lot of stuff from it. Because home isn’t your stuff. It isn’t your house. Not even your loved ones. It’s all of that and something more, something indefinable that makes you know you are in that safe harbor called “Home.”
These days, since I won’t go anywhere without at least one laptop and all my cameras, there’s not much need for a specific memento. I have thousands of photographs of home, friends, the region in all seasons on every computer and I could just as easily access this blog and find anything else I might miss. Short of actually being home, with WiFi and computers … we are never far from home. Any of us.
It is probably the single most significant social change technology has wrought over the past 20 years. I don’t always like it. I don’t always want to be connected or safe. A little whiff of potential danger is like spice in your food. It’s a big part of the fun of traveling. Getting away from everything and anyone. Being on your own. Taking a break from friends and family used to give me a chance to miss them and therefore, appreciate them.
But we are so connected these days. No matter where we go, we are never completely “away.” In fact, we are no farther than the nearest cell phone tower or WiFi connection. How can you miss someone who texts or calls you 25 times a day? Why would you miss a home you have photographed top to bottom and carry with you everywhere?
It takes much of the adventure out of travel, don’t you think?