‘Our home is the road, two backpacks and each other’

David Thom and his wife are travelling the world in search of a place to call home

David Thom: ‘The place we live must be a place we love, a place we don’t want to leave.’

David Thom: ‘The place we live must be a place we love, a place we don’t want to leave.’

 

Our home is buses, boats hotels, guest houses, farms, villages, towns and cities. Our home is the road, two backpacks and each other, and we love it. Today home is Nusa Lembongan, Indonesia. Tomorrow it’s Bali then Hong Kong and Canada, South Africa (again), Mozambique, Tanzania and then India. Our home stretches out before us, over continents, over oceans. All the while we are searching for a place to stop, a place to put down roots that will grow, a different less transient type of home than we have now, a place we have not found yet.

A year ago I could have written this article about Amsterdam, where my wife and I lived for six years. It’s where we got married, where we found “good” jobs. We tried to put down roots but they didn’t grow so well, so we left.

The place we live must be a place we love, a place we don’t want to leave. We are on a quest to find it, so right now “home” has a different meaning for us.

The uncertainty of travelling in search of a new home makes us stronger. It has to, especially when you are not typical age for backpacking (34 and 29). The homesickness for a place we have not found yet drives us on. Meeting new people and seeing new places inspires us. Experiencing new tastes makes us want a kitchen of our own in a place called home.

The people we meet are what make this travelling home so special to us. From our farm hosts in South Africa who treated us with such welcoming spirit and kindness and taught us all they know about living, to the Thai jungle where the people have a different world view, one that will change how you think, or the man we met on the street in Kuala Lumpur, when we were lost and arguing, who chatted to us, brought us for tea and Indian food, and told us that all couples fight, its healthy and means you love each other. Most importantly, he told us over and over to live life to the maximum.

Even the cats we meet temporarily adopt us, trying to get us to stay, from the small white one on our balcony in Thailand, to the old soul who curled up with us each night in South Africa, and the big fat fluffy one my wife nearly kidnapped in Penang.

Malaysia was where we met some fellow travellers, for a change the same age as us, finishing their journey, going “home” to the place they left a few years before, to start life there again. We were jealous, we want to be heading to that “home” place too, but not yet.

In a few weeks we will meet my parents, who are flying from Cork to Canada to see us. When I left Ireland in 2008 I never thought I wouldn’t be back to live there again. But the world has infected me with a need not just to explore but a need not to settle, a desire not to sit still.

I yearned for Ireland at first but not anymore, though I miss my family and always will. I smile when I think of all the places we might call home, and day dream of what it might look like. But for now, I love our travelling home, as we search for a “place to call home”.

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