What is Home?

As someone who grew up in the same house, in the same town for the first 21 years of my life, home seemed really well defined. Life changes though and people spread apart. The reasons vary, careers, education, cost of living, or just dreams of living somewhere else. For myself, New England was always home…and still is. Why write this post then, if I know what home is?

Home quite literally was New Milford, CT. When I went to college, “home” was still New Milford. When I moved into my first house, it was more of a change, rather than a true resetting of what is home. Changes kept happening, but New Milford was home and I always had that feeling of, yeah it’s not perfect, but it’s got my back.

Time went on and on subsequent trips back to New Milford, it felt less and less like home, and more like being a visitor. I had experienced quite a bit in the other places I had visited and lived. Furthermore, I had met people in these other places who understood me, understood what I toiled endlessly to craft as my profession and made me feel accepted and connected. It wasn’t a fight. I readily admit that feeling of having to fight at this point comes as baggage from going through a school system that was supportive by selective teachers and persistent frustration from others. Love and pride in my childhood school system are not emotions I have.

Here I am in my late-thirties and trying to answer that question, what is home? Over the past six months I’ve had an opportunity to be forced to review what my criteria are for “home”. My mother is 3/4 of the way across the country living out her dream being in the southwest. The majority of Craig’s family is back in Connecticut. Our clients are spread along the eastern seaboard.

Leaving the East coast, it’s amazing to see just how well tech is doing West of the Mississippi. There is an entrepreneurial spirit in the West and a sense of hope and optimism, you just don’t find back East. But is that enough to set up roots with?

The culmination of my thoughts has been to define a few things for myself, that had we never had this experience out in Arizona, I don’t know if I would have been able to answer as clearly. The place I want to live must have:

  • Mountains within driving distance
  • Ocean within driving distance
  • Four seasons with snow (yes I’m one of those crazy people who loves snow)
  • An active and supportive tech community
  • Multiple forms of transportation access (Planes, Trains and Automobiles)
  • Driving or short flight distance to a large portion of family
  • Ample variety of restaurants
  • Walking / Bike Paths
  • Views that inspire us

I’ve been able to meet some of these in Arizona, but the areas where I lack are items that are true to my core. I love snow and gray days, I know for all my friends who shiver at the first days of 50ºF and dread the lack of sun, I relish in those days as they are a change, a change from the sun pounding through the windows and heating the earth.

Where does this leave us? Right now that perfect sweet spot is looking like Portland, ME with southern NH as a fallback, then Denver/Fort Collins, CO and if somehow all of that goes bust, then we’d be looking at the Pacific Northwest. Home is a place that meets my needs, inspires me, and supports me both personally and professionally. We’re looking forward to exploring the Portland area since we’ve only passed through or stayed a day in the past. Meanwhile, we’ve vacationed in Maine for the past 12 years almost every summer.

Here’s to exploring my future.