Monday, August 7, 2017

A Traveler Looks at Home

“Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
  --Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

ChelanToppPort2010 044
Lake Chelan - The Scout's hometown
These two vagabonds-soon-to-be-full-time-expats have been uncharacteristically focused on home this summer. We are packing up and preparing to say goodbye to our current home in Washington State so that we can spend more time at our home in Greece. We’ve interrupted our ‘slogging’ out of accumulations only to make a couple of quick road trips back to our hometowns on the other side of the state.

Past home, present home, future home

Our Kirkland home
The juxtaposition of all those homes – past, present and future – got me to thinking about how many times the average American moves in his/her lifetime. The answer I found was 11.4 times (as of 2015 statistics).  We seem to be way behind even if we include those fleeting years of college housing.

While searching out that information, another statistic, from a 2012 project at George Washington University, caught my attention:

“About 1.3 million American seniors now live in nursing homes.  70 percent of them rely on Medicaid to pay the bill, which means they are low-income or have otherwise spent down their assets. The average cost of a nursing home private room tops $83,000 a year.”

It put this transition of ours into perspective, reminding me that we are blessed to be young and healthy enough to grab this extraordinary opportunity to live differently for awhile in our home on the other side of the world.

“You can go other places, all right – you can live on the other side of the world,
but you can’t ever leave home."
                                                       -- Sue Monk Kidd, The Mermaid Chair

Living Differently

We’ve had interesting responses when we speak of our plan to live in Greece for a year. Some cheer us on, others say they’d seen it coming, and some are sent reeling at the news.
“But where will you live?” they ask.
“Greece” we answer.
“No, I mean where will you live here?” 
“Well, Greece for awhile . . .”  Beyond that we have no answer – we don’t know where we might end up. And that is the interesting part; we have options but no set plan, yet. (And that makes a lot of people uncomfortable.)

Washington State's Mt. Rainier towers over the Selah Valley 


It’s a tiny word with huge connotations. It was change we wanted when we moved from our home in the heartland of Washington State to the hustle and bustle of the Seattle metropolitan area. The Scout was taking a job in ‘the big city’. I was leaving a good job and would be seeking employment. We didn’t have any close friends in the area. We spent days searching for a place we’d eventually call home.

Seattle skyline from Puget Sound (tallest bldg. is Columbia Tower, Smith Tower to the right)

We settled in a suburb with a small town feel to it. Somehow 30 years have blown past during which time we’ve worked at and retired from great jobs. This has become ‘our world’. One in which we are wrapped in the friendships of dozens of people.

I remember crying at the thought of our move to the big city – even though I wanted to do it – because we were leaving ‘our world’ and all that was familiar. I could cry now at the thought of the friendships and experiences we would have missed had we not left the comfort of our previous homes.

Our road trips back to Central Washington this summer were good reminders that contrary to the old adage, you can go home again. As we’ve traveled those old familiar roads we’ve met up with friends, many who’ve know each of us long before we knew each other. Visits with them are filled with old memories and laughter. . .stories and reminiscing about good times back in ‘that world’.

The Scout at Nefarious Cellars - site of his parent's old apple orchard - Chelan, WA

'In life, a person will come and go from many homes. We may leave a house, a town, a room, but that does not mean those places leave us. Once entered, we never entirely depart the homes we make for ourselves in the world. They follow us, like shadows, until we come upon them again,
waiting for us in the mist.'
                                               – Ari Berk, Death Watch

The route to our hometowns takes us through the Kittitas Valley
It all has reminded us once again that we can have many homes in this lifetime and each will be a special chapter in our life’s story.  It really isn’t the where we are in the world, but the what we do with the experience there that matters.

“Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.”
                                             -- Cecilia Ahern, Love, Rosie

The Stone House on the Hill - our future full-time home

“Travel does not exist without home....If we never return to the place we started, we would just be wandering, lost. Home is a reflecting surface, a place to measure our growth and enrich us after being infused with the outside world.”
                                                       – Josh Gates, Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter

Summer scene in our present home: Kirkland, WA

An acquaintance asked if we were getting ‘scared’. . .at the thought of living in Greece. Since we’ve been doing it part-time for two and a half years, it isn’t like we are leaping into the unknown. I’ve chuckled over the question since it was asked and decided the answer should have been,  “No, we are scared of not going while we can.”

Summer scene in our future home: Agios Nikolaos, Greek Peloponnese
“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.”
                                                   – Basho Matsuo

That’s it from the home front – (yes, pun intended). We have some tales to tell you yet about France and Switzerland so I’ll be focused on those in the coming weeks.  Until then we thank you for your time and interest in our next adventure. We hope your travels are good ones.  We are curious, though, how many homes have you lived in and which were your favorites? Tell us your story in the comments below. . .

Linking this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration


  1. I love this post! I love all the quotes you interspersed throughout and all you said rings true! I am going to have to count up my homes... There have been many over the course of my lifetime, but several were in the place I lived the longest (Evansville, IN). In the past 11 years, there have been only two homes - Denton, TX, and for the past six years, Muncie, IN. A year in Greece sounds great to me! Enjoy every minute!

    1. Thanks Debbra, glad you enjoyed this one! It is interesting to think of all the many places that we've called home and how much each has contributed to this blessed life we are living.

  2. Really enjoyed this post, Jackie, re: the philosophy of 'home', accented by all the 'spot on' quotes with which you chose to illustrate it.

    I can't agree with you more, on every point, maybe because I have decided to live my own life in two countries, difficult as that may be at times, especially when it comes to not being present for important family occasions, birthdays, weddings, hard times, etc.

    We had moved 11 times (!) before I graduated university and took the trip to Greece, a graduation gift from my father, to spend time with my Greek aunts, uncles and cousins, not knowing that I would meet my future husband, in the process.

    Home to me is not necessary a place where one resides, but one that lives always in one's heart, no matter how far away one travels from it, which makes it a constant companion on the journeys that lead to new ones.

    Have a wonderful week,

    1. I so agree Poppy. . .I've missed those special occasions on both sides of the pond as well but think what I've gained in this 'split personality' I seem to have has contributed far more to my life than it has detracted from it. While we'll spend more time (YAY!!) in Greece it certainly doesn't prevent me from 'coming home' to my various homes in Washington. Hugs to you my friend (and hopefully we will meet now that I am going to have more time there).

  3. I'm excited for you and enjoyed your description of home. Your picture of Rainier is actually Adams. Reesa

  4. Love this post, Jackie. I so agree with your take on 'home.' To me, the home is where the heart is, and it doesn't matter where it is, who owns it, or how elaborate or basic it is. it is how it makes us 'feel' that is most important.

    1. That is the key for me Doreen. Hopefully it will hold true in the next chapter as well.

  5. Oh, yes...glad you are able to do this..

    1. We are in the do it while we can mode, so no more putting off until tomorrow. . .

  6. Beautiful images and accompanying sentiments.
    Thanks for sharing at

  7. Wow! I really liked this. Looking forward to more.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it; there will likely be many more chapters in this journey through life.

  8. I've really enjoyed all the reflecting you've been doing while prepping for your overseas move. That quote from Ari Berk really appeals to me (although, I'm not sure if I'd ever be drawn to a book called Death Watch.) Do you still have your timeshares and will be spending part of your USA time there? I was very nervous about moving to Malaysia because I knew nothing about the country. You are fortunate to have had 2.5 years of trial runs before deciding it's the right move (pun intended).

    1. So funny that you picked up on the name of the book that Ari wrote, I almost didn't put that on the quote as it seemed to detract from it and it was such a good quote. Yes, we do have our timeshares and are already looking forward to Hawaii in January -- I've even packed the suitcase for it and will put it in the storage unit and pick it up as we come through here en route to there.

  9. Nice reflections on what home means. I think travel and moving to other places changes our perceptions of home. I particularly liked the Ari Berk quote.

    1. Thanks Donna, I do think the moving around and timeshare stays have lessened the impact of selling this house as I feel as if I already have many other homes even if this one isn't a part of the mix any longer.

  10. I so admire the move you are making (maybe a little expat envy going on here!). I've always been sad when I've moved out of a home, but my excitement for where I was moving to far exceeded the sadness.

    1. Well right now we are up to our ears in packing and moving and I just want this phase to be done! It will be and I am certain I'll look back and find a few laughs in the whole experience~

  11. I really love these words of yours: "we can have many homes in this lifetime and each will be a special chapter in our life’s story." So beautiful and good. xo

    1. Thanks much - I do believe in writing chapters and I am trying to make each one more interesting than the last. Hugs to you my far-away friend!

  12. I am enjoying reading about your journey to a new life! Packing up and moving to Greece -- what an amazing adventure!

    1. It really is an adventure - right now an overwhelming task - but one day I hope to refer to it as an adventure and not the summer from hell as I am currently calling it.

  13. I think Jackie, that us vagabonds are a different breed! Before we even started traveling full time, we counted up 15 moves since we met, including buying and selling 9 homes. I've always loved the adventure of new cities and as opportunities came up with my husband's work, I'd be right there saying, "Let's go!" Fortunately, my career as a pharmacist was in demand, too so I was able to find full and part time work easily. Homes and stuff are easy to acquire. Good friends you carry in your heart and make the time to see them a priority wherever you are. And what fun to make new friends who share your passion for Greece and travel! Past...present...and future - I have a feeling you've been walking on all those roads this summer! 🙂


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