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Home is where you make it


There’s a part in the movie Joe Dirt where the old Cajun man tells Joe, “Home is where you make it.” Of course, Joe misunderstands to (dubious) comic effect, but the old guy has a point.

In the military, we say “Home is where the Air Force/Army/Navy/Marines/Coast Guard sends you.”

Right now in the middle of a move, I’m again reminded that home (for me, at least) is less about a specific place, and more about where you make yourself comfortable, hopefully surrounded by those who matter most. Currently, that’s a hotel room. In a few weeks, it’ll be a townhouse in the Boston suburbs.

I grew up as a military brat and am now an Air Force spouse. For me, getting attached to a particular house or city is pointless. Honestly, I’m not sure I could. As much of a pain as moving is, the idea of never doing it again is a bit terrifying. I’d miss the excitement of learning a new city. That exploratory phase when you see everything you can and “wear out” the area before it just becomes the place you live.

Now that we’re out of our Virginia house, I’m ready to go. I’m looking forward to the latest adventure in a part of the country I haven’t lived or spent much time in yet. And I’m looking forward to making a home out of our next house.

That’s me. How about you? Like to move? Hate to move? Have never moved?

Tell your friends!


  1. Reply

    I’m almost embarrassed to say that I spent the last 50 years in my hometown, It was okay, there was always work which is a big plus. We knew a lot of people and they knew us which can be good, and it can be bad, lol. This past year, we followed our daughter to Victoria where she’s living out her dream of going to university to become a marine biologist. I’m glad we broke the mould, made the move. It’s good to try new things once in a while. It’s easy to fall into a rut and maybe miss out on some great adventures. It’s never too late though 🙂

    • Reply

      jbiggar2013: When you have nothing pushing you to move, it’s easy to stay. Even I can succumb to inertia. 😉 Enjoy Victoria! I absolutely love it there. One of my favorite cities in the world.

  2. Reply

    It’s all about what you know, I guess. We’ve moved around a bit, but decided 9 years ago to stay put in our Chicago suburb so the kids could grow up in one place. I can appreciate your point of view, though. Best of luck 🙂

    • Reply

      Absolutely, Gwen. I can see the value in creating roots, I’m just not sure I’m built that way. Luckily, my kids are pretty resilient (a lot of that comes from how the parents approach the move too, I think) from having moved so much like I did. My 15yo took a while to get used to the idea, but now he’s excited about it. Plus, these days it’s so easy to stay in touch with friends. That helps a lot. Thanks!

  3. Reply

    It’s fascinating to read your “take” on moving often. I hope you’ll share Boston through your eyes.
    Blessings on your new adventure.

  4. Reply

    I’m not a big fan of moving but not because I don’t want to experience new places. I like to be organized and have everything in its place. Packing up everything helps me discard “stuff” that has no real purpose and gives me an opportunity to start fresh. But the endless boxes and stacks in the new house make me itch.
    We moved every one to three years until I was 13 (and my parents divorced) and I never felt settled. I never had the neighborhood niche that my husband experienced as a child. Thankfully, we’ve been able to keep our sons in the same community for their whole lives.
    They are grown now. My house is for sale. I’m ready to move to a new adventure.

    • Reply

      Sharon: I’m not a fan of the packing/unpacking part either, but I love cleaning out the junk. We’re slowly turning more minimalist and I love it. Sometimes it feels like your stuff can own you instead of the other way around.

      I’m a total organization freak too. My house doesn’t have to be spotlessly clean, but it must be neat and uncluttered or I’m stressed out. We had our current temporary lodgings (read: hotel room) all put away the first day, which required some seriously creative organizing. But at least I can breathe. 😉

      Good luck with your new adventure!

  5. Reply

    My family moved often when I was a child. Never staying anywhere for more than 3 or 4 years due to my father’s work. I was constantly giving up friends that I never saw again, being forced to uproot in the middle of school seasons, and was forced to give up things that meant much to me without notice. It was hard on me. I swore that as an adult I would find one place and stay there, to grow to learn one place until it was comfortable as an old glove. I’ve been in my current home for eleven years and my previous place was only a few blocks away and I was there for six years. I do enjoy travel and see much of the USA via my work, but having that one place as a home base has meant the world to me.

    I wish you the best of luck on your move, Gwen. Enjoy Boston. 🙂

    • Reply

      Wendy: That can be hard, especially if you move mid-school year a lot. I think I could settle eventually as long as we traveled frequently. 😉 Thanks!

  6. Reply

    Tell ya what. I’ll trade the pines of South GA for a Townhouse in a Boston suburb in a heartbeat. Sounds like opportunity to me. Gotta be a romance in the those burbs somewhere.

    Speaking of Romance, Linda Needham has some comments on Storyfix that are more than worth the read. Her practicle and strategic use of Writing Contests made me think of you. This lady not only knows how to write a book, she knows how to manage strategic issues. Why? Because she has a long term view of it all . Seventeen years before she published! That is the long look. I’m still in awe of how she figured out how to use Writing Contests.

    Let the next adventure begin!

    • Reply

      No trade, Curtis. 😉 I’m pretty excited about Boston and getting to visit more of New England and Canada, plus being closer to Europe than we’ll be once we head west. Thanks for the heads up on the Storyfix article. I’ll take a look. 🙂

  7. Reply

    The move to our home in the BlueGrass of KY was my 27th. I grew up a Marine Brat, and then as a corporate wife… I grew up feeling sorry for kids who never got the opportunity of living in new and different places. There are so many wonderful places to live, and so many wonderful people in the USA. A haunted 1600’s farmhouse in Rhode Island, a house on 6 wooded acres with plenty of panhandling deer, turkeys, and other critters in KY, and on and on.

    Frankly, although my husband swore this last move was our last, even he is kind of looking around for a new adventure.

    • Reply

      Kath: I definitely find value in living in lots of places and being exposed to different cultures and traditions. You learn the interesting differences in the regions, but also find the universal truths of being human. Even though my kids don’t like leaving their friends behind, they both tell me they’re glad they’ve gotten to move around. Good luck with your next adventure! 😉

  8. Reply

    Best wishes for wonderful times at your new location in Boston, Gwen. We had the opportunity to visit the city many years ago, and it’s a pretty neat place. All that history! I’m sure you’ll find many romantic settings to work into your next book. As always, I’ll be watching for any Scrivener words of wisdom and/or classes from you down the road. Enjoy your adventure! 🙂

    • Reply

      CortlandWriter: Thanks! I’ve visited Boston twice and it’s such a neat place. I’m looking forward to exploring it and the New England area over the next few years. 🙂

  9. Reply

    Good luck, Gwen. I have moved too many times and it is never easy. Looking forward to another class. Boston is a great city, but there’s a lot of traffic in the inner city. Great to see Fanneul Hall and everything around.

    Sandra McCart

  10. Reply

    Hi Gwen – Yep, the Air Force is a movable feast – but you gotta admit, they have great packing crew. Personally, I love to move – to me it’s a rebirth. Always an adventure and a lot of fun. What a great time you will have in Boston – don’t know where your husband is posted, but I do know that Hanscom has wonderful services and activities for dependents. Good luck with the move, and thank your husband for his service.

  11. Reply

    Kait: I’d never do a full DITY (do-it-yourself) move just to get the money. The packers/movers are worth it! Rebirth is a great way to describe a move. That’s part of what I love about it. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Hanscom. We’re excited. Thanks! 🙂

  12. Reply

    Hi Gwen,
    Wishing you the best in your new adventure!
    I was an army brat, so I know what it’s like to look forward and backward at the same time.
    Boston is a fantastic place and you will love it. Do you know about Grub Street? If you don’t, check it out at
    I’m sure they would love for you to teach a Scrivener Class.


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