settled into unsettled.

publishing four months after writing… i promise one day i’ll get better at posting in the present moment. but airplane internet usually keeps me from sharing my airplane writing immediately. 🙂


my definition of home was pretty concrete growing up. i lived in the same house for 12 years, built by my grandpa’s hands. the big green house on old kirk road. for the majority of the time, i had the same bedroom with the one slanted wall and the weird closet door that led to a hole looking down into the utility/laundry room. i knew everyone on the block and all the places to steal a good view of the minor league baseball stadium’s friday night fireworks display. 

until about 12-years-old, i was settled. 

at which point, my parents got divorced. my childhood home became my part-time home. and i moved six times in the six years following that first move. 

six different spaces to call home. a few apartments, a townhouse, and a couple single family homes. as my mom settled into a beautiful tudor style house for several years, my dad sold our childhood home and moved to a neighboring town with his new significant other. every ounce of childhood consistency associated with a specific physical location evaporated. 

and my cycle of constant movement continued full steam ahead… 

i headed to the university of michigan and lived in a different dorm or apartment each year. four new places (in four years) to call my home away from home. 

after graduation came a new city and three new homes. i was officially an adult (or something resembling one). i planted my roots. i was in love with michigan, in love with grand rapids. finding joy in my work. joy in my hobbies. joy in my community. 

and so i left. 

because, why not?

i packed up my blue chevy cavalier and headed west to portland. four more roofs over my head in the span of two years. my work shifted, and i became fully self-employed. able to complete my work from anywhere with halfway decent internet. so settled into being unsettled that i subconsciously crafted a career that would allow me to continue my rootless journey. 

a journey that led me to my match. 

after being without an official address for a year, i met a man who seemed to be equally, if not more, transient than me. 

it was the end of his year long holiday in north america. we headed back to the middle of nowhere australia and took up a temporary residence in a house he owned. i flew back and forth from the u.s. to australia for two years. sending all my mail to my dad’s house. staying with friends and bouncing around the country with no plan of settling down in sight.

tired yet?

i was. i was almost 30 and starting to think about what it might look like if i stopped moving. what would it feel like? could we do it? would we be content?

we tried it…? in hawaii. for two years. in three different houses on oahu. and then six months on maui. and then three months on kauai. 

during all our island living, i was still regularly flying to and from portland for work. when an opportunity came up to move back to the pacific northwest and create a home on a 675 acre mountain, i thought, okay, this must be it. this must be where we are meant to plant some roots. 

we fueled our travel bug and lived in our ryan-custom-built camper van for six months and then prepared to park her and dig into our new home. our forever home?

but, even there, neighbors to rural families who had lived there for generations, we were unsettled. living out of boxes in a construction zone for a year and finally unpacking into a beautifully ryan-remodeled basement apartment just in time for the covid lockdown. 

months and months of forced stillness. we bought plants. we hung artwork. and just as the leaves began to fall in rainbows on the earth, we packed up yet again. three more months in the camper van adventuring, visiting my mom’s new home in palm springs with her significant other, and seeing the rest of the family in the chicagoland area.

and now we are back on maui. 

and now i am tired.

and now i see the pattern. the habit. the lifestyle.

if you’ve read this far, i applaud you. truly. what a wild ride…

when i opened up this blank document, i did not know what words would reveal themselves. since i’m on a flight from maui back to chicago for my sister’s 40th birthday, my brain was engulfed in the nostalgia of home and family. as i veered towards the topic of home, i did not realize the rabbit hole that was ahead of me. 

that i have been in a constant state of motion for the past 22 years.

and now i am left wondering… will we ever “settle” down?

One thought on “settled into unsettled.

  1. Well,…… for us on the outside looking in, we say, wow, I sure wish I could have lived such a interesting, fulfilling, and self satisfying lifestyle for the last 30 some years. An extra bonus for me, is I can claim, hmmm maybe 70%, of the creation of the wandering instincts and desires instilled in your personality to do such things. The peoples lives you have touched, in a great way, and all over the world, is just unfathomable. Of course, I can be the proud Papa, and continue to say, yep, thats my daughter.
    I do have some more words of wisdom for you that may put your mind at ease….. There is an event coming in your life, that will settle you down for maybe 2-4 years, however, hopefully the wanderlust that you and Ryan have been instilled with,.. will never totally leave your personality.! It is definitely a blessing not a curse.
    Please keep up your “define liminal”, we absolutely love them and YOU will love them when you get my age and can’t remember 70 some years ago.
    Thank You Thank You.!!!!!! xoxoxoxo

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