Many Americans have the experience of just living in one region of this great country. Others grow up in one area, and later in life, discover another area through going to college, or through a move for their career. Some lucky people find a place that speaks to their soul.
Julia Cameron, the well-known author of The Artist’s Way books lived in two areas of this country. She had her New York City apartment and her second home for a long time was an adobe house in Taos, New Mexico. She spoke of her home in the Southwest as her heart home – the place that really spoke to her soul. Her New York life was the hub of her work especially where she connected with other creative artists on her musicals, but her home in the Southwest resonated with her spirit.
Once you do move away from the place of your birth, then you do have the opportunity to discover that place that speaks to your soul. For some, it will always be their hometown where they grew up. Having grown up on Cape Cod, I still have a special fondness for the beaches, and the small villages of my childhood. But I have also lived in amazing places in California in the city, and in the country.
Coming from New England, I know many people who haven’t lived further than a couple of hours away from their birth places. They grew up in states where they ended up going to college, finding jobs, and eventually settling down to raise their own families all in the same hometown, or within a few hours of their birth place. Most of my family has followed that path, and it has worked well for them. They have built a strong community of support for themselves including their work, hobbies, churches, and social networks.
At times, I have envied them, having moved away in my 30’s with my husband to live in California. I had to build new networks of friends and colleagues wherever I lived. In my seven years in the San Francisco Bay area, I found that community in my workplace at East West Bookshop, and then again at John F. Kennedy University, the graduate school where I received my counseling degree. When I moved further north to the Gold country of California, I created that community again with my counseling work, and the classes and groups that I participated in over the ten years that I lived there.
Now, I am creating another community, but it seems to be a whole different ballgame this time. For the past 16 months, I have been traveling around the country while living in my Bighorn RV, my version of a tiny home. I have spent a few days to a couple of weeks in all kinds of places around the country with the most time on Cape Cod. But now, I am starting to spend longer periods of time in different parts of the country.
This winter/early spring, I am living in Southern Florida for five months which is the longest time that I have spent in one place in my tiny home. It’s a different experience to have more time to explore an area, and to also set down some roots, however temporary they may be. It also dawned on me that this is the first time that I have lived in this region of the country.
For 30 something years, I lived in the Northeast; and for almost 17 years, I lived in Northern California which some maps consider as part of the Northwest (not something that many residents of Oregon and Washington might agree with.) And now, I am getting to have the opportunity to live in the Southeast.
For five months, I am able to immerse myself in the southern culture which I know is very different from where I grew up, and certainly quite a change from California. If I can remain open-minded, it’s the perfect opportunity to observe the southern lifestyle. Being a writer, it also gives me the chance to really get a feel for the area – the sights and sounds, the scents and tastes, and all the sensations of a new place. As I prepare to write a book about my traveling lifestyle, I am noticing even more of these southern experiences especially since I am only here until mid-April.
The exciting news is that in May, I will be experiencing another stretch of time in another region of this great country – the Southwest. In the middle of spring, Jim and I are going to take our caravan on a trip which now includes my car as well into the Southwest. We’re going to drive straight through the heart of this country, and arrive at our destination for the summer – Utah. Jim has taken on yet another role as a Camp Host for a campground near Park City, Utah. For the summer months, he’ll be greeting campers, and taking care of maintenance for the park while we live there for free. We’ll have the chance to go on some amazing hikes in the mountains around there, and visit some of our friends that live out west.
By the end of this year, I will have lived in the four corners of this country, from Northeast to Northwest, and now, Southeast to Southwest. And who knows what next winter will bring? For now, I am making the most of my time in Southern Florida: enjoying the beaches that stretch on for miles, the palm trees waving in the breeze, and the occasional alligator who shows up in my back yard. It’s all part of the Southeast experience. And so the journey of the tiny home continues.
By Donna Fisher-Jackson, M.A. © 2016
Donna Fisher-Jackson, M.A., CHT is a Certified Hypnotherapist, Western Astrologer and Author who counsels clients through her business of Iris Holistic Counseling Services on the road at http://www.DonnaFisherJackson.com. She has published the self-help book, The Healing Path of the Romantic: Type Four of the Enneagram Personality Type System and a novel, Clara & Irving: A Love Story of Past Lives, based on the true story of a Romantic. Both books are available in a print and Kindle edition on Amazon.com. Donna is currently working on a new book – a travel memoir of her life on the road. ♥