As my restless twenties roll by, I find that the place I live is ever-evolving, the outward reflection of something deeply internal. I want to be still, and yet I’m compelled to move. For the past five years, I’ve traded the luxuries of home for tents and cockroaches, numb fingers and lonely nights, wildflowers and starry skies. I’ve lived out of a canoe, a rusty truck and 14 different rentals. The ones that glow brightest in my memory are snapshot images of an old schoolhouse on a Vermont mountaintop, a plywood cabin sinking into the Hawaiian jungle, an apartment reeking of seafood above a laundromat on the Alaskan coast. I have loved them all, and I have left them all, always searching for something else, the next glimmer on the horizon.
Tracing my finger on the map, shuttling my life from one temporary home to the next, I sometimes feel defined by the stuff I carry with me. In the continuous cycle of packing and unpacking, it can seem like the only constant. There are times when I can do nothing but sit in the middle of it all, suddenly exhausted, trying to construct a story from the tattered field guides and crusty socks, the half-empty beer bottle, the harmonica I can’t play. It’s a story that’s been told before, and yet the worn path I’m traveling still feels sharp underfoot, like touching the knife edge of something I can’t quite grasp. I wonder when a part of me will say, enough. You can stop now.