You’ll never feel homesick if you carry your house everywhere you go.
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THE STEAMY LOUISIANA AIR felt thick enough to drink. I sat inside my Mountain Hardwear Light Wedge 2 wearing only my sports bra and shorts, watching sweat and dust make dark little runs down to my belly, evidence that I hadn’t showered in more than a week. My face ached with sunburn, my legs hurt, and I hadn’t worn anything clean for more than a month.
Even in this sorry state of swelter in Kisatchie National Forest, I was pretty certain I was having the time of my life.
I hadn’t always been so comfortable with the uncomfortable. After graduating college, I was aimless. I’d earned a journalism degree but wasn’t prepared for the uphill battle of a writing career. I decided the best way to find direction was to get lost for a while. I sold everything, bought a bike, and moved into my Light Wedge. I wasn’t a cyclist, but that didn’t matter. I sought something new. I pointed my tires east from Denver, figuring I would stop when I ran out of road at the Atlantic.
My tent and I were inseparable for the next six months. We weathered Hurricane Rita in Mississippi, spent an evening camped behind an Alabama Walmart when I was too broke to pay for a motel, and saw the sun rise atop Virginia’s Peters Mountain.
I was wandering, maybe even drifting, but as long as I had my tent, I had a home. It didn’t matter if I was sweaty and exhausted and sleeping on the ground. Thanks to the Light Wedge, I realized I only needed some nylon walls and a bit of mesh, preferably with a great view, to feel rooted and at peace. It made me feel confident in facing an uncertain future.
In the decade since I rolled to a stop in Miami, I’ve made a habit of sleeping in tents around the world. I haven’t always known where my next home will be—a mountain pass, a bog, or a roadside shoulder—but wherever I climb inside, I know it doesn’t matter.