Home is resilience. If it rains, I have boots. If my allergies flare, I have meds. If I spill coffee on my jeans, I have a clean pair.
Home is familiar strangers. The light-skinned man with Tourette’s calling out, “Street Sense, dollah donation” in front of the Ace Hardware on P St. My fellow travelers in the early morning ashtanga class. The Ethiopian women at Whole Foods, the one at the coffee bar and the one who checks out my groceries.
Home is noticing small changes. A leafy city, no longer awash in bud green; the steel chairs that have been replaced with vermillion ones; the return of humidity.
Home is a place where things bend toward me. Linens the way I like them, tight and crisp. Products to keep my unruly hair in as much order as it will take. All of my books, arrayed and waiting. A fridge full of my staples—corn tortillas, tofu, arugula, cheese, yogurt, sriracha.
Home is independence. My city, my schedule, my bikeshare, my yoga studio.
Home is love. My sister picking me up from the airport. A too late Thursday night at Thai Crossing for a friend’s birthday. My old team over to share champagne and macaroons, the spoils of time away.
Riding camels into the Sahara.
French Open game faces.
Away is adventure. Camel-riding in the Sahara, bicycling all over Paris, peering down at the Atlantic from cliffs 2,000 feet above.
Away is serendipity. Two of your favorite people, also in London at the same time. Being in the right places at the right times to see the French Open and the Matisse paper cutouts exhibition. Chancing upon a skating competition at the Eiffel Tower.
Away is taking in big things, firsts and superlatives. New landscapes, cracked and rising in unexpected ways. The quiet of Westminster Abby when everyone else is gone. A first hammam visited, first vino verde drunk, first conch and barnacle eaten. The best macaroons, baguette, and croissants.
Away is tiresome. Rental car lines, flight cancellations, wrong trains. Unspoken languages, unfavorable exchange rates, unfamiliar beds and baths.
Away is dependence. Relying on fellow travelers to help with directions and shopkeepers to meet you halfway to understand what you are trying to say.
Away is love. Friends who speak languages you don’t, share their cities, and make their homes your home.