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Scenes of home

A lot of people think it is peculiar that we don't appear to have a "home". Of course, the Airstream is home, and we have always had a "home base" of sorts in Vermont (where family members live), but it is hard for non-RV'ers to get their heads around the concept of a wheeled object being home.

For us, the Airstream became home pretty quickly. It was easy to adapt to the idea that this was where we lived, simply by the act of living. The harder part has been reconciling ownership of property that we would return to from time to time. Having more than one home is harder for me to accept than having just one that happens to be mobile.

Now, with a house waiting in the desert, we have a future home. Sitting in Vermont -- our former home -- I find the sensation a bit confusing. Where is home? The state we are in, the trailer I'm in, or the city we are moving to in a few months?

This confusion shows up on my computer. I have a pair of (Mac) Dashboard Widgets that instantly show me the weather for where I am, including forecasts, radar, and current weather patterns. But I find I am often interested in the weather "back home", which can be one of the places I'm currently not, so I'll reset them frequently to different areas of the country. "Home" can be be where I am, and where I'm not simultaneously. It's fun to look at Vermont in January and chortle over the bitter cold from a safe distance, and likewise it's fascinating to look at Arizona in July and marvel at the flash floods.

Tucson view 2007-08-15
Santa Catalina Mountains from Univ of Arizona, Aug 15 2007

For a more granular look at "home base", I can check the view anytime from the University of Arizona's webcam. The sky and Santa Catalina mountains are so beautiful and ever-changing that I never get tired of seeing them. The view is updated every minute.

The changing view is a surprise to people who think the desert looks the same all the time. Check out this album of photos from the U of A webcam. That mountain view is very similar to the one we have from our house, so I like to see the diversity of it. It reminds me of ... "home" ... well, one of them.

Checking the local news once in a while can be interesting, although it always seems a million miles away when we are on the road. I check Arizona's news when we're in Vermont, and Vermont's when we're in Arizona. Mostly I'm interested in evolutionary changes to the landscape, environment, and culture, not so much the day-to-day politics and weather, so it's fine to just check in once in a while. Local newspapers and TV stations are all online these days, so I keep my favorites from each state bookmarked & handy.

I'm also interested in learning more about our upcoming home base in Tucson, so I have quick links to things that teach me about the area and keep me updated on what's going on. For example, there's a Yahoo! Group called "Vanishing Tucson" that I joined just to learn about the past few decades of the town and how it is changing. From that list, I've gotten tips on great books to read about Tucson and the southwest, which fascinate me.

Oddly enough, I found a copy of Arizona Highways in the doctor's waiting room yesterday. (I dropped off a copy of Airstream Life so they'd have something new in there.) It turned out to be a pretty decent magazine so I may subscribe once we get settled in the area.

This morning Eleanor and I both woke up thinking about our Arizona house. I had a dream in which we got back and found the new slate floor had been removed and replaced with patterned ceramic tile. She was thinking about furniture choices. It's coming to the top of our minds because we are nearly done with our tasks here. Soon we'll be completely moved out of Vermont (well, at least the physical stuff, but not the personal connections) and eventually we'll have to get back to Arizona and start the task of making it into home.

But for the interim few months, I think the Airstream will remain our home and the other places will be just favorite stops. I'll keep peeking in on them from time to time, but try to go no further. No need to get involved in local politics or fret about road construction or flooding. We've only got a little time left to enjoy full-timing, and I want to do it without undue worry about the future home base, so that we can enjoy the moments that are left.



Arizona Highways is one fantastic magazine. In addition, the Arizona PBS TV stations have a lot of local programming, at least in Phoenix.


Check thrift stores out here, some have old issues which will give you some history.
Byrd Baylor, great southwest author for kids and their adults. She lives near Arivaca.
My favorite So Arizona book, A Beautiful, Cruel Country by Eva Wilbur-Cruce

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