Yesterday a man stopped at our acreage for water. It was nearing 30 degrees and I saw him peddle up the driveway, bearded and dirty.
There was an initial reaction for me to wonder what he was ‘up to’ as I have been reading too many newsfeeds regarding rural crime and listening to increasing stories about home invasions in our area. We were in the middle of supper and while I was cautious about this stranger, my fiancé jumped up and went out to greet him asking him where he was headed. Before I even got up from the table, he had brought water bottles in to fill and pretty much knew this man was a harmless traveller. Feeling safe because my capable, strong guy was taking care of things, I filled a lunch bag with muffins to send him on his way and went out to the porch to greet the kindest face I have ever seen.
He was heading out to the Okanagan which is a very LONG bike ride from our front door and we talked after his departure about where he found himself in life with his life’s possessions in a pull behind on his bike. Everyone has a journey in life and how they travel along that path is an individual decision, this man was like a snail – travelling slow with his home on his back. Our home was the place he saw and felt safe to stop on this leg of his journey, a place he saw as a quick refuge from the heat and a place to refuel and carry on from.
We all have a differing rendition of home; while some of us need something large and stable, others are comfortable travelling from place to place seeking shelter when they need to rest. My daughter will be travelling next year in Europe on a student work visa and for the first time in her life she will be ‘homeless’ while she travels, seeking out universities and places to work and live.
Between hostels, home sitting and friends who have offered her shelter, she will travel from place to place as she discovers the world and herself. This will be a life altering experience for someone who has had difficulty changing vehicles and the décor in her room!
Our need for shelter is personal, could I pack my life into two bags and travel without an itinerary or destination? Would I be able to exist in a 500 square foot home that would allow me to drive across this beautiful country of Canada? What does home mean to me? I have always known home to be brick and mortar structures which hold a mortgage and many repairs and responsibilities; four walls and a roof – that is home! A dog in the yard and a car parked out in front has meant home to me; grass to cut and snow to shovel is where my safety and history has had roots. My friends travel across the country in their RV and some nights home is the side of the road and other days they are in the parking lot of Walmart, yet some nights it is by the mountains gazing up at the stars. After a few months it began to feel like home and they wonder why they ever worried about the burden of a house.
Kim Wyse is a Central Alberta freelance designer. Find her on facebook at ‘Kim Wyse Associate Royal Lepage Tamarack Trail Realty’.