The travel bug bit me hard, early on. I have always had to urge to see new places and things, to be part of something historic, to find how things come together. When I was 10, I took a month-long journey across the U.S. At the time, I had no idea how much this would fuel my need to explore. It also did cement in my heart knowing exactly where home was for me. I spent five years living in southern California knowing I would never be a “California girl.” Maine had stolen my heart long before that. I have since lived in many places and it has never been a question in my mind where home is.
There are many definitions of home. I know that some people consider home a specific place or house. Some people think it is where someone they love is. In my case, my home is several spots in Maine. Northeast Harbor is the first place that was home to me, then Trenton, and Ellsworth. Now, despite my attachment to my beloved Mt. Desert Island, home is split between Portland and Belfast. That is where my closest family is and being near them is what brings me a sense of peace. Every time I come back to Maine, the first sight of ocean gives me a feeling of being where I belong. My course has been set for a long time, but I do love the side trips on my journey.
I have recently been reading a lot about hiking and have always wanted to make it part of my life. I had some experiences with someone who really made me think it wasn’t for me, but the more I come back to it on my own terms, the more I think it might be an answer for when my wandering temporarily ceases. Many people associate the quote “Not all those who wander are lost” with me and I have always embraced it.
I love the life that I have created and I am lucky that I am able to follow my dreams. Is this the kind of life for everyone? Absolutely not. One of the things I hear most from people is that this life sounds fun, but they wouldn’t be able to handle the constant moving or not being in their own bed or the unknown that I constantly face. I don’t know why I am not scared of all these unknowns. I probably should be. I go to a new town, drive in places I’ve never seen before, possibly not even heard of and walk into a new hospital to learn a new job every few months. It should qualify me for some kind of crazy, but I seem to thrive on the challenge. Maybe my confidence comes from knowing each situation is only temporary or that no matter what, I am independent enough to handle what is thrown at me.
I have a certain level of sadness when I think about not having this line of work. I do love being a lab tech and could be happy doing just that, but my thrill comes from being free to explore and grow by walking beside the Grand Canyon or stopping in the middle of the road to let a bison pass or being in a solemn place like Gettysburg. I have been fortunate to see so much and I am rich with experiences that I would most likely not have with a permanent job. But, my family ties are so strong that there are times my homesickness overwhelms me. I never take for granted when I am able to see that familiar rugged coast under the plane I’m on and the warm hugs that greet me because they are my true sense of peace and love.