I was at a thrift store the other day and found a beautiful, vintage map. It had some torn edges, some spot marks; you knew it had been through a lot. At first I thought it wasn’t worth the purchase. But then I wondered where it had traveled to. Whose hands had unrolled this and held it open to breathe? For a dollar I purchased the it. I wanted to be apart of the map’s story by adding my own.
When I got back to my place, I marked on the map all the places I’ve been in the world. I started local: a small dot on Santa Barbara, San Diego, San Francisco… I expanded; a small dot on Las Vegas, Atlanta, Boston… Even bigger; Mexico, China, Brazil, Italy, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, France, Greece… Plus so many more. The last dot I made was on my home.
By putting my face very close to the map I see little; I see each dot separately. I back up a bit. Now I see a different perspective. I see more memories, more experiences. I back up even more to see the entire map as a whole. I’ve realized that “home” is not just a simple dot. It is a whole bunch of dots. The world has become my home. It started as a blank canvas, and I have been continuously painting and creating my sense of belonging in this world.
Life is all about perspective. I could look at all these dots as a separate entity and think that I am a nomad, lost and trying to find my “home.” Or I can look at this map from a different angle and realize that all the places I have been, all the people I have met, all the cultures I have embraced, have been my own personal “home” in the making. It has shaped me into who I am today and has given me a completely different perspective on the world that we live in and how I see myself in it.
Everyone’s path may be different, but in the end the dots all are connected. We are all connected, and that knowing that brings me peace of mind.