Leaving home can be the most exciting thing you do, or the most painful. Often it’s both at once! The thing I always forget about leaving home—or being forced to move—is that other homes exist. In fact, there are literally homes all over the world.
Some homes are currently occupied, but have room for another heartbeat or two. Some homes may not exist yet, or are undergoing as many changes as you are. Some homes are sitting empty, waiting for the right soul.
Other homes aren’t “sticks ’n bricks.” That’s a phrase I learned when I bought my camper van and met “van lifers.” Ruby is my mobile home; a physical dwelling is a sticks ’n bricks home.
When I arrived in Fredericton last week, I hoped to find a winter dwelling. I wasn’t looking for a home, but I found it. It may be temporary (actually, it’s definitely temporary because what on earth is forever? If you can embrace that truth, you increase your joy and peace by 100,000,000,000%).
“Welcome home,” he said
Last week in How to Do Hard Things I said I’m uprooting my life. What I didn’t say—because I didn’t know—was what I’m doing next. I certainly didn’t think I’d fall in love with a mansion that’s been home to dozens of people since the late 1800’s!
This winter I’ll be hibernating in a two-bedroom apartment in a huge, impeccably maintained late 1800’s house in historic Fredericton. It’s within walking distance to my favorite things: the downtown library, new art gallery, heritage buildings, river/bridges, several huge stone churches, an early 1800’s cemetery that takes up a whole city block, grocery stores (modern, thankfully) and a fitness center.
I’d initially rejected the apartment—without even seeing it—because of the size and price. Then I visited a few other apartments. The rent was half as much, the locations weren’t great, and the rooms had no heart or soul. They weren’t homes. They were sticks ’n bricks.
So I decided to at least drive by the house. I parked, went for a short walk, and decided to at least return the homeowner’s call. He’d actually contacted me first. The apartment wasn’t advertised; the owner was given my name by a friend of a friend of a friend.
The owner, an old gent called Roland, keeps his home (mansion) in tip-top condition. He lives in the third floor apartment, and has lived in every suite. He showed me my apartment, the pristine cellar (where the washer and dryer lives), and Ruby’s parking spot.
When I said I’d take it, Roland gave me a big, warm, grandfatherly hug! We went upstairs to his suite and I met Boney. Boney and I went for a neighborhood tour—he’s a sassy little Bichon Frise who has no on-leash manners and is the boss of Roland.
When Roland walked me out to Ruby, he hugged me again. He said, “Welcome home.”
When getting home is painful
Finding your way home isn’t easy, is it? Even if you’ve had the same family home for decades, it’s not the home it was when you were little.
Getting home can be emotionally impossible. It can also be physically challenging!
In Arthritis, Bursitis and Back Pain Relief Tips for Road Trips I share how I coped with physical pain while driving here, to my new home in the Maritimes.
I had to be creative, open and willing to try different things—which is a great tip for finding a new place to rest your heart and soul for a season.