Anyone that knows me on more than on a casual basis knows that I’m a wanderer. No, I’m not a nomad (simply because I love having a home base and daily routine), but I do like to go on journeys, travel the backroads, and “walkabout” often. Sometimes my trips are short, and sometimes they’re long.

In the last 20 years, I’ve been to five countries and traveled from big, bright cities like London to small, unknown towns like Baker City, Oregon. I’ve driven over 100,000 miles and flow at least half that in air travel. After two decades of seeing places (in different states of being – the person I was at the time I saw them), it has lead to one question, “How do you find Home?”

What Mainstream Media Tells Us Home Is

Today I see “home” being defined by what companies tell people it should be, and that’s not right, simply because we’re pushing extremes. On the one hand, we have the small movement:

  • Join the tiny house movement;
  • Live small (under 400 sq. feet) in a big city;
  • Embrace the road, travel/live-in your RV, Van, Trailer!

On the other, we have the “Go Elsewhere and Settle” movement (something I define as city dwellers moving out of big cities and buying homes in small metropolitan areas):

  • Move to hipster city X;
  • Buy a fixer-upper house;
  • Live well, have it all!

I bring these two examples up because they’re what I see as “most pushed” on the internet and on TV. They far from represent how to “find Home” and define what that means to you. If you fall into one of these two areas, there’s nothing wrong with that. Hopefully, you did your due diligence about the pros and cons of each of these lifestyles before you made the leap?

How Do You Find Home?

The two examples above far from representing how to “find home” and define what that means to you. Trying to answer this question isn’t going to be simple because “home” and the idea of “home” is highly subjective and extremely personal. Maybe home for you is:

  • Renting a higher priced apartment in a major city because you thrive on it;
  • Renting a modest apartment in a small town that allows you to have a base and travel when and where you want;
  • Living in a trailer on a horse harm so you can ride, ride, ride;
  • Owning hundreds of acres and farming it yourself and not going very far.

Our home, the physical place we live (both housing structure and city) should be defined by our personal needs, wants and desires, not what others tell us. Only you can know what is right for you.

You Find Home By Defining It By Your Needs

So finding and defining “Home” is based on your individual situation. You need to factor in the financial considerations (debt/cost of living), the lifestyle choices you’ve made, your other commitments (like family, kids, pets) and economic opportunities (work).

HGTV trends, Zillow quality of life apps, Rocket Mortgage housing calculators, Sperling’s cost of living comparisons, and Go RVing campaigns should not sell you on how and where to live. You have to sell you on where to live and how you want to live when you find that place. You can use the tools available to you, read about places and then go visit them.

Finding & Settling In Your Hometown

If you’re like me, you’ll find your “Home” after a bit of wandering and exploration. You may live small, you may travel full-time for a while, but if you read those that have done it before you, they always re-establish a home base because constant mobility wears them out. Usually, the place you keep coming back to and can’t get out of your head is where you should be. Now, if the economic factors and opportunities don’t align to living there now, create a plan to start working towards it.

Today, I see too many people fighting the lives that they want to live and should be living because of their own fear. Why live in a place you don’t like, there’s no reason you have to. I also see people living in ways that tax them financially and emotionally. There’s no need to do that. A little restraint, a little waiting and some good planning can get you out of the situations that you find yourself entangled with when it comes to “home”.

Home is often where your heart is, and that changes as you do. So by following your heart, you’re bound to always find home. So go find it, use the resources available, but you make the final decisions.