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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Holkenbrink-Monk

Home is the Next Adventure

I wrote this in 2019 after a trip from Los Angeles to San Diego. I strumbled across it and felt it was fitting with the major changes in my life as of 2024.

I was driving back to San Diego from Los Angeles. It was pouring rain, we were in one of the only cars on the road, the kids were asleep. I had my radio playing and music elicited strong emotions in me.

I started listening to lyric after lyric, embraced by melodies and beats that encouraged intense reflection and, let's be real, overthinking.

I remember being in high school and talking to my high school band teacher about how much I wanted out of San Diego. This was in 2006 - 13 years ago. I wanted away, something different, so, you know, I elected to go to Los Angeles for college. Brilliant. (That's sarcasm if you couldn't tell.)

Los Angeles was miserable. I lived there for 5 years and felt my soul suffocating. The hours in my car, the hours overworking to get by, and sometimes the only solace was the time I spent in my car, driving in, through, out, and back to the City of Angels. I met amazing people who I could never imagine my life without. But, LA wasn't it. It still feels like a partial home, a place of comfort, but still, restlessness.

Los Angeles never felt like "true" home though. Clearly, San Diego never felt like home either. But of course, I moved back to San Diego. Because, well, as we know, I have a track record of brilliant decisions (again, sarcasm.)

We pulled into our parking spot shortly after my thoughts. I carried my youngest kiddo in and guided my oldest one to bed. After settling in, I put the TV on and lay down, still reflecting. Sure, I'm at my place of residence now, listening to my children breathe, watching their innocent faces react to their REM cycles, and hoping that I'll feel like me.


Most of us have a home in some way. But what a frustrating way to live. I know that I drive from the same location to another location every other day. On the other days, I do the same, just with different points. I go into autopilot, joking with others living this existence who also talk about their autopilot, moving from one spot to another. And simply because, at the end of the day, I sleep in the same bed night after night, it's assumed that's my home.


But, the thing is, I've never felt like I've had a home. Despite struggling in many, many ways, I was privileged enough to grow up in a house. A house that I lived in for 14 years of my 19 years of life when my dad moved in 2007. He lives in a house that we have owned since then - my grandfather left it to me - and sure, I have a house I could always live in and call home. But I feel that's all it would be - a label without a feeling. However, these days, it is the closest I can describe to my home.

Home. A feeling.

I've never felt like I've had a home, at least a home city. San Diego certainly isn't it, though I've lived here for 26 years of my 31 years of life.

Los Angeles definitely isn't it, and that was evident after tonight, the feeling of restlessness leaving that city.


Home isn't a place for me. I really never wanted to be situated in a single place. In fact, 9 years ago (coincidentally on my son's birthday, but a year before he was born,) I posted on Facebook about how I never wanted to settle down in one spot, and that feeling seems to creep back up. Then there are subsequent posts throughout the years.

Home should be a place of comfort, of peace, a spot where you feel loved and safe, where you can be you.

Perhaps for me, home then is the feeling I get when I see my kids run and smile at me when they haven't seen me all day (or for a few days if I'm at a conference.)

Or maybe home is when I take spontaneous road trips, whether it's 30 minutes or 5 days.

Home might be traveling, on land or by air.

Home could be having my stuff in a suitcase, my computer next to me, and staying in a hotel.

Home is absolutely my next adventure.

And home is absolutely when my daughter caresses my face or when my son randomly yells, "Mom!" and says, "I love you."

Sure, "home is where the heart is" or whatever cliche statement you want to insert. I get it.

But, I've never had a physical home where I have these feelings. Sometimes this is hard to navigate as I want to be able to feel comfortable in my home. I don't know if having a home will ever feel like my home.

Perhaps this is all part of my perpetual existential crisis. Maybe not. I do know that so long as I am stagnant, so long as I am here, I don't think I can feel like this is home, and it's going to be hard to figure out in what ways I can feel home and in turn, at peace, safe, and myself.

I know that I need to change something. Make a move. Shift something in my routine because I feel way too settled at the moment. I just don't know what the next move is.

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