I’ve written before about this tension I always feel as a TCK between trying to be content where I am, and at the same time missing the place or the culture that I am without.
I read books about the spiritual discipline of rootedness, of staying in one place and getting connected even though it isn’t perfect (heck, I’ve even written about that!) … but it’s still always a struggle. I live in rented apartments and I get itchy and long to paint the wall, to pick out my own dishes, and not just use ones from Goodwill (because why invest?) I get tired of feeling like there’s no place that’s really mine. I want to build a nest. I want to borrow sugar from my neighbor.
But the other part of me wants to travel the world and live out of a backpack, and never settle anywhere. The thought of getting a mortgage makes me feel like I’m signing a death notice (even though I know you can always sell a house). As I accumulate stuff I am mentally thinking, “Will this fit in a suitcase?”
So I loved getting to read Tsh’s new book At Home in the World, where she wrestles with some of these same ideas. Tsh’s book is all about their family adventure of traveling around the world in a year. They go to China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Morocco, France, Italy, Croatia, Kosovo, Turkey, Germany and England…. all with three kids, all with one backpack each.
Part of the joy of this book is just learning about new cultures and foods, and the quirky, funny adventures they had. Tsh is a beautiful writer, and her descriptions of the scenery, the food, and the people throw you into the different places immediately. There’s also just enough “travel detail” that the curious reader (like me) who’s just thinking, “How, logistically speaking, did they manage this?!” can get an idea, without being bogged down.
I loved her description of Victoria Falls (it reminded me of our trip there), and I also loved hearing about New Zealand’s scenery, the food in Turkey, and their little home-away-from-home in the South of France.
Throughout all the travel anecdotes, Tsh is exploring the question—what makes home? Is it just being together with our family, or is there more? Does place play a role? Is it familiarity? How can we satisfy the “travel –itch” part of ourselves while also honoring our “home-body” side? Can we still go adventuring even though we have kids now?
The timing of this book couldn’t have been better for me, because as David and I get ready to have a little addition to our family in May, as well as get ready to move across the other side of the world… these are all things we’re thinking about, too! As a reader of Tsh’s blog, I jumped at the chance to read a pre-release copy of the book in exchange for sharing about it with my blog readers if I enjoyed it. Um. Yes. I enjoyed it!