the following is an interview with my friend julia as a part of my home project. we recorded the interview when our respective eastward and westward road trips crossed paths in truth or consequences, new mexico. yes, that is a real town.
So, who are you and where in the world are we?
My name’s Julia and we’re in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, in room #8 of the Charles Motel.
What do you think of when you think of home?
I think of the blanket I’ve had since I was a baby. Whenever I move to a new place, I bring that blanket with me.When I think of home, I think of coziness.
I think of a lot of different places. I think of where my family lives in New Hampshire, ’cause being with my mom and my nana feels like being home. And I think of my aunt and uncle’s house in Maine; I’ve spent a lot of time there. Everywhere I’ve lived feels like home, which I think comes from having parents who didn’t live together. I have separated parents, so I guess in that way I’ve sort of had to be adaptable and have home be wherever I was in that moment.
I can relate. So, you’re in the final stretch of a three week long road trip. How have you been making home while on the road?
I sort of don’t feel like I’ve been making home on the road. There were three or four nights when we stayed with friends in Tallahassee, and that felt a little homey because having a bed I can sleep in repeatedly feels like home. But I haven’t had enough groundedness and presence, because there’s so much going on. I’ve been working, and also hanging out with people, and with another person the whole time. I feel like I’m a bit less present than I would like to be right now. So maybe home also comes with having a space that’s comfortable enough and cozy enough to be able to just relax into it and be really present.
I admire how you’re able to find a sense of home wherever you go. Do you have an ultimate vision for what you want home to look like, or where you want it to be?
I like to travel and I’m excited to have a home I can always come back to. Living in the bay doesn’t feel stable in that way. It’s not really sustainable. But I am excited to have a long term home I can really make my own. Like, physically build things in a way that looks and feels really cozy. I’ve been thinking about that. Like, do I want to live on the west coast, do I want to live on the east coast? Where is home going to be ultimately? There’s a chance I’ll move back to Maine in five or ten years, because I can see the ease with which I could make home there that doesn’t quite feel possible in the bay.
Community is a big part of home for me as well. It’s not often I feel lonely, but occasionally I’ll feel pangs, and that’s the the worst feeling to me. And I don’t feel lonely much at home.
A big part of my vision for home is having comfortable space where I can welcome friends and family to stay for as long as they want. I envision having home space where every summer I can invite friends from all over to come for a long weekend and we can just stay up for 36 or 48 hours straight, and have a bonfire and make food together and hang out and sing songs — a giant slumber party, outside!
I grew up on a lake in the woods so that deeply impacts what feels like home to me. In summertime I would sleep on this big screened-in porch. The days were really long, and I was a young child, so it was still light out when I would be going to sleep. And I’d hear the loons on the lake and the pine trees and hemlock trees rustling all around me, and the water sloshing at the shore. It was the best feeling, so I think actually reproducing that is what I envision for home.
That sounds so magical!
It was so magical! It’s funny, because when I was growing up, my family was absolutely chaotic, just like a shit show, and yet I have really cozy, fond memories of home. It was a magical place to grow up.
What do you feel when you think of being at home?
The sense of familiarity and ease, and having things in order and having some control over a space to a certain degree, even if it’s just a small space. For the last month or two I lived at the Fort [collective house in Boston both Julia and Freddie lived in], I moved into the closet room, and I loved it because it felt like being in the helm of the ship. There was not a lot of space and I could put everything in just the right order. There’s this part of me that actually likes being able to carry out a vision in a way that has some order to it.
In what ways are you seeking home, and in what ways have you found home?
Everything I do is seeking in a process of seeking home. Even when I work and save money, I do it with the idea of creating home. Now, but also in the future. Because that’s the thing that I most want: to have a space to welcome family and friends and anyone who needs home space.
Community for me is a big piece of home. I like living with people. At every place I’ve lived, I’ve learned something new about creating home. Like, just seeing how different people exist in their kitchens, or in whatever spaces they’re in. I love that. I’ve learned how to cook so many different things from living with people. I’m really excited to have a home so that I can open it up to other people to come and share it with me.
I feel like home is everywhere I spend any period of time. I really do. I have not lived anywhere for more than a year at a time, in a decade. But all those different places where I’ve lived feel like home to me.