We’re going home.
That’s a thought that runs through my head but makes no logical sense. No, we’re going about as far from home as we could get without arriving in Antarctica. But no one can tell a person what home feels like to them. No amount of history or past experiences can define what the heart yearns for, can tell it what to call home. Home is not defined by where we grow up, or where our friends and family currently reside. Home is a mystery that lies within us that is difficult to unravel.
Home is the place I’ve been searching for my entire life.
I believe we can make just about any place we can carry our body home so long as we can meet our basic needs there. For me, many places feel like home. I have a home here in Western North Carolina, as well as along its Outer Banks. I have a home on the fringe of the land and sea in Southwest Florida where I found my partner for life and a sense of peace within me that I theretofore never knew existed. There is a part of me that calls that meandering line of people traveling across Northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago home.
But something about New Zealand feels different than these other homes. I think I knew it in 2012 upon first visiting there. The simplicity. The vastness. The endless sea and sky. It feels like the last place on Earth, and in terms of humankind’s inhabitance of it, it almost is.
There is no explaining why Aotearoa (the Maori name for New Zealand) feels like home. It is foreign to my upbringing and my eyes in innumerable ways. And yet when we drove away from Auckland after arriving there two years ago, I felt like I was home.
So I pack away the things that will make the long journey. I dream. Soon the day will come when a plane will carry me far across the sea and deposit me back in a place called home.