What a home means to a long term traveler

Rolf has teamed up with Matt Gross, Frugal Traveler for The New York Times, for a audio slideshow about homes — and what it means to a long term traveler to purchase one. Head on over to World Hum and have a listen.

Both authors recently purchased homes, something that, as travelers, many of us have a kind of allergy to — the idea of permanence can be threatening when you’re trying to embrace perpetual motion.

Indeed it can sometimes feel like long term travelers sneer a bit when they learn you own a house. As if owning a home makes you somehow less free or less likely to travel. It’s true that owning a home makes it a bit more difficult to just pick up and leave, but it certainly isn’t a barrier to travel (it can even be a source of income if you can rent it for more than your mortgage payment).

But, having lived without a home at all for several years, traveling Europe and Asia, and also having recently purchased a house, I can say that what most, uh, hit home for me in the slideshow is Rolf’s comment, “I find, now that I have a home, I really enjoy going back to it, I miss it.”

For me it isn’t necessarily the home, but very specifically the one luxury I allowed myself in my new home — a really nice bed. My initial logic was, hey, if I’m traveling around sleeping in grungy hostels around the world I should at least have a nice bed to return to right? Somehow ever since I bought the nice bed grungy hostels have seemed even grungier and beds, well, not really beds at all.

So yes, purchasing a home may not have changed my travel habits much, but I will admit the nice bed has made me a touch softer, a bit more willing to spend the extra 20 rupees on the slightly nicer room.

Do you own a home? Has it changed the way you travel? Let us know about your experiences in the comments.

Posted by | Comments (6)  | November 30, 2010
Category: Vagabonding Life

6 Responses to “What a home means to a long term traveler”

  1. Ayun Says:

    I’ve been renting the top floor of a brownstone for 11 years, as of new year’s eve.

    four people (started w/ 3)
    one cat (and the ghost of another)
    one closet
    bathroom right next to the table where we have our dinner parties.

    the horror.

    but after all this time, it’s well below the going price for this hood.

    floors squeak like hell.

  2. Deonne Kahler Says:

    Tim L. – Exactly. It’s like, once you’re out of the game (owning a home), you’re out of it for good. I know that’s not technically true, but the fear remains. (When I bought my first house in Oakland I was panicked at what I was spending on such a tiny place, but my realtor said, You have to jump in some time. Trust me. And she was right.)

  3. Adriano Says:

    Although I’m not a vagabonder, I stroll around Europe for about 3-4 months a year – and I do own a house. I feel, though, that this doesn’t change my way of travelling.
    My journeys are primarily job-based. Nevertheless, unlike other people who do my same profession (fairs and exhibitions) I often stop for a few more days before or after an assignment, or I travel straight from one to the following.
    I believe it is more a mindset than the actual owning of a home which makes a difference. Rolf’s comment could be caused by he missing his friends – or he is just growing older, and he feels to “settle down” (remember Cat Stevens?) 😉
    Besides, I have seen that the same thing happens after 7-10 years among my colleagues. Even travelling at your company’s expenses can be tiresome…