Grounded Traveler

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The sign by the tip jar in one of my favorite cafés reads: "Fear change? Leave it here." And for years I gladly emptied my pockets. Yoga teaches us about impermanence, but no matter how many hours I logged in class, change and I remained uneasy companions. I often joked to friends that I needed to be fired, dumped, or evicted before I could let something go—especially when there wasn't something else waiting in the wings. And then it happened. I lost a lucrative writing contract, my boyfriend broke up with me, and my landlords threatened me with eviction—all in a single season.

As I walked through each room of my apartment taking stock of all that I owned, I was struck by how "nice" everything looked. But it had never felt like home. In fact, that perfectly nice place had made me perfectly miserable, and had for years. I had created a space to house the relationship that I longed for, but it never materialized.

For the next six months I flitted between New York, San Francisco, and L.A. I lived out of my suitcase and got accustomed to arriving in a city without knowing where I would stay. I learned to live with less and ask for more help. My yoga mat became my safe haven in countless living rooms. And the ground didn't cave in—not even when I learned my ex was expecting his first child with his new girlfriend, or when my new sweetheart told me he didn't think I was the one.

Change had changed me. For the first time, I realized that real estate wasn't the answer. Without a physical place or the stuff to fill it, each day I returned to me. I was the constant. I was the comfort. I was home.

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