monica byrne

The meaning of breakfast.

I was visiting my Dad the other day, and we started talking about travel. He said that, when he first visited Ireland—the ancestral home he expected to fall in love with—he actually felt homesick for Annville. For him, home turned out to be a set of loving and familiar relationships. But he always marveled that there are people who live in the places he visits—who were born there, grow up there, have entire lives there. It’s the most obvious thing, but I’m tortured by those questions when I travel, too: “Who lives in that house? Why? Why nowhere else? What do they do all day? What are their lives like?”

Of course, if you were passing through tiny Annville, Pennsylvania, United States, and happened to see an old red brick Victorian house, you might wonder, “Who on earth lives THERE?”

The answer: We did!

But we moved out in 2006. Mom had died, Dad had retired, and all five of us children had settled elsewhere. I don’t think of home as a place anymore; I don’t want to attach that deeply again. Nor do I think of home as a set of loving relationships; the course of my life has taught me to keep people in my heart, to carry them with me always, and for that to be enough.

Instead, I think of home as a ritual. Specifically: breakfast and morning pages. No matter where I go in the world, if I have my coffee, my notebook, and a good pen, then I am home. And I only realized this when I said it aloud to Dad while we were talking.

So I was inspired to go through my travel archives. Here are a few pictures of my homes from all over the world 🙂

~

Patreon | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | The Girl in the Road