Day 8: The Meaning of Everything

home noun \ˈhōm\

One’s place of residence; the social unit formed by a family living together; a familiar or usual setting. Also: “at home”: relaxed and comfortable; in harmony with the surroundings; on familiar ground.

I’m currently reading The Meaning of Everything, by Simon Winchester. It’s a history of the Oxford English Dictionary, the impossibly comprehensive, impossibly authoritative series of volumes – 71 years in the original making, and still being revised – that defines and shows the history for the more than half a million English words ever used.

Including one of the oldest: “Home.”

As we spend this Second Summer on the road, a primary goal is to find the locale for our Haven – our forever home, the last place we’ll ever buy and the only one we’ll never sell.

But what is home? And what does it take to define a new one?

As we drive, bike, stroll, and explore new areas, those are the questions on our minds. Could we make a home in this place? Is this the view we’ll never tire of? Is this the right year-after-year mix of air and colors and seasons? Can we afford to buy or build here, with enough remaining to not have to work again if we choose? Are the people we meet the type of live-and-let-live citizens who, even when they don’t agree with us, will grant us leave to express ourselves and our property as we see fit?

The joyful part of this quest is that we can pick anywhere we want. That’s also the challenge: we live in a very big country. (And we’re staying in the US. The expat life is not for us.)

This trip is to New England because much of our early scouting suggests that here is a proper starting combination of affordability and agreeable climate. Now we’re roaming its micro-locations, and in the process putting a few places on the short list and many places off it. 

In Vermont, for example: Montpelier, Middlebury, Vergennes – on the list. Rutland, Chelsea, Bethel, Barre – off it. 

And to be even more specific, the Rochester property in the image above is on the list. The Green Mountain views are stunning, as is the main house itself. But it’s too soon to say, of course. We’re just getting started.

And we haven’t even answered “What is home?” yet.  

We’d love to hear your suggestions for us on what “home” means or where the best place might be for use to stake our claim on one. Drop us a line in the comments below.

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