Anywhere I roam
Where I lay my head is home
...And the earth becomes my throne
I adapt to the unknown
Under wandering stars I've grown
By myself but not alone
I ask no one
...And my ties are severed clean
The less I have, the more I gain
Off the beaten path I reign
Call me what you will
~ Metallica - "Wherever I May Roam"
A couple of years ago I started having deep, contemplative thoughts about picture frames. Yeah, I know - weird.
My life over the past few years has been fairly abnormal as standard society might see things. I moved to Kansas City in the fall of 1999 and rented my first apartment by myself. It was pretty awesome - my own address, my own space, my own TV, my own couch. Pretty cool stuff.
This lasted for about two years, at which point I rented a house downtown with a couple of friends. After about a year of "Plaza Living", I ended up moving in with a good friend who had a spare bedroom in his house. He already had a roommate, so it was like a little family. In exchange for a hell of a lot less monthly rent than I was paying downtown, I got to live in a very nice house in the suburbs, and hang out with my friends every day. A wonderful arrangement.
I ended up continuing this trend for the next three years, and I loved it. I got to save some money while at the same time helping them out with their mortgage and got to enjoy the benefits of living in a nice house without actually owning anything... Perfect.
Sidenote: (Brian and Clint - thanks again. You guys are the best).
This nomadic lifestyle does have some interesting side effects. I'm at the age where everyone seems to be getting married, buying houses, having kids.... Lots of grown-up stuff. One day I came home from work to an empty house and sat down on the couch. I looked around at all the pictures on the walls - pictures of New York or The Golden Gate Bridge. I started thinking about how these picture frames represent a moment in time - a memory captured and preserved for future admiration and reflection.
I then realized I really don't have any frames of my own. No pictures of anything, on any walls, anywhere. I've never had any walls of my own to hang anything on. I'm sure my hosts would have allowed me to hang some stuff up, but it's not quite the same. Besides, I've never had the need to acquire them, much less fill them with anything.
The more I thought about it, the more I began to realize that I do indeed want that at some point - I want my own walls, my own frames, and my own memories to go in them. I want to look around my house and be reminded of a life lived. Of friends made and kept. Of adventures taken, and in some cases, survived.
Rather than think about it and become depressed, I figured I might just start the process in the reverse order that most might. I figured the easiest part of the equation is acquiring walls. It's not overly hard to obtain a mortgage. I know several people who would be more than happy get me into my first home. The more difficult task is to fill those walls with something meaningful. If I'm going to have frames on my walls, they might as well be filled with images of my friends and I at a sushi party in London, or me riding a camel in Egypt - not some generic print of an Andy Warhol painting.
So, nomad, vagabond, call me what you will. If nothing else comes from this trip, I should have a few memories to put on my walls... If I ever decide to grow up some day and buy a house...
Main Entry: no•mad
Etymology: Latin nomad-, nomas member of a wandering pastoral people, from Greek, from nemein
1 : a member of a people who have no fixed residence but move from place to place usually seasonally and within a well-defined territory
2 : an individual who roams about
Main Entry: vag•abond
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French vacabund, from Late Latin vagabundus, from Latin vagari to wander
1 : moving from place to place without a fixed home : WANDERING
2 a : of, relating to, or characteristic of a wanderer b : leading an unsettled, irresponsible, or disreputable life