Someone I met on a recent adventure told me that we have two desires: home and adventure.
When I first heard this, I thought it was a great insight and immediately interpreted the two as being contradictory: adventure is having no ties and travelling the world alone while home is settling down, buying a house, and starting a family. This puts me far down the end of the adventure spectrum at the moment, while some of my friends are at the other end, focusing on the home side of things.
But I don’t think they’re contradictory at all.
Home, now that I think about it, is about creating a family with people you love, having somewhere you belong and feel safe, experiencing an element of stability and balance. Adventure, on the other hand, is about taking risks, challenging yourself, being free to explore the world. And I think you can have the two together.
Home is where the heart is, bla bla bla – but it’s true, isn’t it? You can feel lonely and unhappy in a big house full of stuff just as you can feel at home living out of a suitcase. A family can be a partner and five children or a partner and a dog; it can be your dad and your brother or a group of your best friends. In the same way, you can have an adventure by grabbing a backpack and heading out into the world by yourself or you can have it with a group of strangers on a hilltop an hour from London; you can have it with your partner and you can have it with your children.
We have a tendency to see things in black and white: having a steady income in a full-time job or being poor as an entrepreneur, feeling tied down or remaining independent, creating a home or having an adventure. This kind of thinking makes every decision seem incredibly important as you decide where to live, how to work, who to spend your time with. Seeing different shades of grey (no not 50 thank you – well, that’s an adventure too I suppose), or a happy mishmash of different things, makes it all more relaxed, more of an experiment as you step by step create the balance you want in your life. It’s an individual choice, as ever, and only you can decide how much of each ingredient you want in your particular mixture.
So, yes, at the moment I’m having a whole lot of “adventure” and, yes, I feel like I want a bit more “home” going forward – but it’s not yet clear what shape that home will take, or what adventures I’ll continue to have while I’m creating this home. And I’m not going to get it right tomorrow: I’ll try a little more of this, a little less of that, and I’ll probably keep trying as long as I live. There are those who’ll give up their home to become professional adventurers, and others who’ll focus all their attention on building a home for their loved ones; but as far as I’m concerned, I’m completely confident that I can have the two together.