Dallas has been my home for fourteen years.
For the first 22 years of my life, I lived in West Virginia. After college, I moved to Louisiana where I eventually met my then boyfriend, now husband. When I decided to move to Texas, he wanted to come along. Two apartments, a wedding, one house, two kids and multiple jobs later, it appears we’ve put down roots in Texas.
On holidays, we go back to Louisiana or West Virginia to visit family. Last week, as I was folding my clothes to pack for Easter weekend, I noticed something interesting. Every t-shirt I picked up to put in my suitcase represented Texas in some way. One had the outline of the state of Texas on it, one said “Heck Y’all! It’s TX” and another had the red Pegasus that flies over the Dallas skyline printed across the chest. Three out of four t-shirts that I packed had a Texas theme.
I’m pretty sure I’m proud to call Dallas, TX home.
As much as I love Dallas, several times a year I crave packing a suitcase and boarding a plane to a new destination. With my job in engineering, I have the opportunity to travel to Europe several times a year. My passport is filled with stamps from Lisbon, London, Paris, Milan, Vienna, Frankfurt and Bucharest.
My husband has traveled overseas with me a few times, but we’ve never taken the kids. Well, not yet. Both kids have expressed interest, Tallen wants to see Italy while Sophia is begging to visit Paris. My husband and I have seriously considered packing up our lives and spending a few weeks/months/an entire summer traveling in Europe, exploring the world together. Exposing our kids to new food, sights, cultures in other countries. It would take a lot of planning, financial resources and patience to pull it off… but it is only a few months.
We can survive traveling across Europe for a few months, right?
If traveling with your family for months sounds daunting, let me tell you where I got my inspiration. Several weeks ago, I went for a run in the park near my office and listened to the podcast, The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey as she interviewed Tsh Oxenreider about her (just released) book, At Home in the World.
At Home in the World
Tsh is a fellow Texan who has a blog called The Art of Simple and a podcast called The Simple Show. A couple of years ago, she packed up her family and they spent 9 months (an entire school year) traveling across the country. Her travel memoir from that trip, At Home in the World, releases this week and I can’t wait to read it. In fact, as I was typing this post, I got a notification that Amazon delivered my copy of the book to my house.
This is the story of how a family spent an ordinary nine months in an extraordinary way: circumnavigating the earth to see, firsthand, the places they’ve always wanted to explore. Through paper lanterns in Thailand, three-foot-wide Venetian passageways, the community of strangers in Zimbabwe, and beyond, Tsh Oxenreider unearths the dance between wanderlust and rootedness; how to be both lost and at home in the world. “Sacred ordinariness,” she writes, “can be found anywhere on the globe.” – At Home in the World
The reason I want to travel with my kids is simple. Traveling, whether it was across the US or across the country, changed me and how I view the world. While hiking in Colorado and Utah, I found breathtaking beauty and peace at the top of the mountains. Overseas, I discovered a stark comparison between the fast-paced, “American” way of life and the slower, more relaxed pace in Paris and Milan. Sitting in an outdoor café in Vienna, I learned how to dine alone without hiding behind the safety of my smart phone.
While I know it is not necessary for my family to travel to other countries, I want them to experience and appreciate other cultures. Taking them on trips at an early age means they have more time to learn how to be at home in the world.Could you feel at home anywhere on the globe? @tsh and @Stephanie_Suire share stories of home Click To Tweet
I was 16 years old the first time I boarded an airplane for a week-long trip to NYC. My kids had flown dozens of times by the time they were 6. I didn’t need a passport until I started working at my current job, about ten years ago. My kids are getting their passports this month, since we are taking a family cruise in July.
Two opposing things can be equally true. Counting the days till Christmas doesn’t mean we hate Halloween. I go to church on Sundays, and still hold the same faith at the pub on Saturday night. I shamelessly play a steady stream of eighties pop music and likewise have an undying devotion to Chopin. And perhaps most significantly: I love to travel and I love my home. – At Home in the World
I Love my Home
As much as I love to travel, when I return from a trip I am reminded of how much I love my home. Not just the comfort of sleeping in my own bed, cooking in my kitchen or playing with the dogs, but just being able to say “I am home.” Like Tsh, I love to travel and I love my home.
However how can my children understand this unless they experience it first hand? Am I wrong to want to sprinkle them with wanderlust? I’ll let you know if our dreams of extended travel become reality, but in the meantime I’ll live vicariously by reading At Home in the World.