Where is home to you?
Last night I was at a networking party and a stranger who I had just met leaned in and asked me, “Where is home?
I answered, “Good question.”
When I decided to live in London for my first TV show “Help Me Rhonda’, I packed all of my belongings (with a ton of help) into a storage unit in Los Angeles. I took six boxes with me to London (yes, they were rather large) and for four months living with only those things.
When I moved back to the states, I decided to move everything I owned to Colorado. I rented a barn (yes, a barn) and unloaded my three crates into it’s no air conditioning, a steam heated interior that sat inside a forest of trees in a town six blocks long and two blocks wide. I was in heaven. Such a change from the big city of Los Angeles and London. It felt cozy and safe and restful. I so needed to rest.
When I got the call to be the Life Coach on Starting Over just a few months later, I packed up some things and moved to Chicago. Twelve boxes total were shipped filled with clothes, jewelry, shoes and stuff I needed to make my 21st floor. one bedroom apartment, off of Lake Michigan, feel like home.
When I ended my stint on Starting Over, (I had only spent a few months a year in my barn heaven), I packed all of my stuff once again into a storage unit and took only what I could carry in my Prius.
I had no idea I would be a gypsy for the next five years. Yep. For five years, I would visit my storage unit in the hills of Colorado two to three times a year to trade out clothes and grab a jacket or two and then I would drive off with only what I could fit inside my hatchback.
During those five years, I lived in DC with a friend, stayed in Boulder in another friends basement, hung out in Virginia in my sisters guest room and schlepped to more cities than I can remember behind the wheel of my Prius. I made regular stops in Chicago, San Diego, Boise, Detroit, Minneapolis, Hancock, Westport, New York, Boston and so on….Plus during those five years, Andy Paige and I hit the road and visited 50 cities on the first-ever Fearless America Tour. (Thank God I had a Prius!)
It was an adventure of a lifetime.
After five years of vagabonding, I realized something: I don’t miss my stuff.
But I did miss my friends, the corner coffee shop and my favorite passion fruit ice tea.
So where is home? Is it where my friends are? My sisters? My parent’s burial sites? Is it the place I grew up? Or the city where I found myself? Could it be the place I am going?
We’ve all heard the cliché “Home is where the heart is” well, then, my home is in at least five states.
Most people move for two reasons: Work or Family. For work, I just move to a place for a few months at a time when I am shooting a television series: London, Chicago, Los Angeles, so far. For family visits, it’s called a vacation.
So for me, work and family have never been reasons to move. Yet, after five years living like a gypsy, I felt compelled to move back to Los Angeles after leaving it in 2001.
For the first few months, I lived in a rental home with that same stuff crammed in my Prius. But as the months went by, I had an urge, a need…something yearning to nest again, to create a home.
So I rented a house. Flew to Colorado. Rented a U-Haul truck. Asked a friend to help. And emptied out my two large storage units and drove three states over to sunny California.
Moving is a huge risk and it can bring up more, rather than less, questions.
Where do I belong?
What am I searching for?
Am I moving to run away from or towards something?
What’s calling me to move?
Who am I moving for?
If I could live anywhere, would I move here?
Moving to LA again has given me an opportunity to shake up the image I have of who I am, what I want and what I think I need.
I went to Los Angeles when I was 24 years old, depressed and looking for a way out of my pain. I thought if I ran away to the glamour capital I could reinvent myself leaving the worthless Rhonda behind. But as we all know, we can’t run away from ourselves.
Los Angeles may not have made me forget who I am but it did make me become who I am today. I emotionally grew into an adult here.
When people ask me where I am from, here’s my answer:
I was born in Minnesota, grew up in Michigan and become fearless in California.
Do I like stuff? Yep. I do. But never at the expense of my soul.
It’s Los Angeles today but that doesn’t mean I will be here a year from now. Who knows. Who cares. I shall follow where I am lead because my home is truly inside me. (And if you are wondering, I will be taking my favorite heels, my pink lipstick and my sun dresses wherever I go. I just gotta have some of my stuff.)