October 16, 2011, Washington, DC: This globe belonged to my grandparents. I remember gathering around it with my siblings and cousins one Christmas Eve in St. Charles, Illinois, each of us lightly placing a finger on one spot, then spinning it to see where we’d land. The globe and I were the same height back then. The globe now graces my apartment, where it’s about as tall as my thigh.
Yet the concept of spinning that globe is just as compelling now as it was back then. Nearly thirty years later, I’m sitting ten feet from it, planning my next trips, plotting the ways back to my former hometowns. Through this project, I’ve committed to returning to the many neighborhoods in which I’ve lived to assess their livability and to see if they feel like home. Plane tickets and dates on the calendar are piling up.
In her essay, “Home Is Where Your Dogs Are,” my favorite author Pam Houston writes:
“Home was a place we rented, a place to sleep, and if it was clean enough, to cook dinner every now and then. Largely it was place we could spread the maps out and plan the next trip.”
Home is more than that to me now. We cook frequently, even if we do still rent. But it still remains the perfect place to plan our next trips, to spin that globe and imagine where else we might land.