The Path Of Ambience

“Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.” ~ John Howard Payne

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There’s nothing like boxing up your worldly goods and transporting them from one place to another to instill a longing for the familiar… a longing that can only be appeased once the final article is unpacked and in it’s place.


I checked the padlock on the storage building and turned towards the truck.  Then it occured to me.  We’re homeless.  Well, “semi” homeless.

Other than a P.O. box number and a 10 x 20 storage cubicle stacked with the tangible evidence of our lives, we had no physical address, nowhere to call “home,” no place to live languorously, or love and laugh… no home.

Changing locations was an extension of our nomadic lifestyle — we’d done it three times in four years — but this time it was different.

“Moving” implies a definite destination and all we had was an idea.  After enduring almost half a century of Minnesota winters, Oklahoma sounded pretty good.  We just didn’t know where, or when.

With all of the accoutrements of home — from dinner plates to dressers, trinkets to treasures — locked behind a single-stall door and fading fast in the semi’s side mirror, my world suddenly became unfamiliar.  Or maybe a little too familiar.

Two human beings jutted together in a confined space for an undetermined amount of time can lead to some interesting dynamics. (!)

For now, our living quarters consisted of the inside of a 2005 Kenworth — less space than we’d assigned to the the inanimate objects we’d tucked away in silent repose.  Except for trucking runs dispatching us from Point A to Point B, we literally had no place to go.

It’s said that “Home is where the heart is.”

In our case, we were “home” 24/7, but it didn’t feel like it.  Even with the cute throw pillows I’d plumped over the paisley comforter on the sleeper bed, the truth was: we were wanderers.

As I glanced back one last time, I uttered a prayer and said, “Hasta la vista.”

It took leaving every thing behind to discover the things that meant the most to me.

It took leaving “home” to come home. ~

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Ambience  is defined as “a surrounding or pervading atmosphere.”  Walk into a restaurant without it and I guarantee you won’t be a repeat customer, unless the food is exceptional.

The same is true of where we live.  More than just a place to reside or an accumulation of things, “home” encompasses a mood.

While I don’t recommend packing up your belongings and heading for the open road (unless you really want to be a truck driver), sometimes stepping away from “things” and taking stock of them is a good way to define yourself.  For me, it took a total disconnect from “impersonal things” to define ambience to me, personally.

We sailed the concrete sea for three months.

Living elbow to elbow, wrestling for mental space, loving and forgiving one another, living life-close-up forges the kind of atmosphere found in a warm home… or a blast furnace.

During that time I came to come to grips with everything I knew or felt about things… about home.  Was it really all about that cute little ‘display’ in the corner nook, or the latest color scheme perking up incidental places, or an afghan tossed ‘invitingly’ over the corner of the couch?  Did I really ‘need’ the next trend-setting things?

The longer I was away from them, the more shallow they felt.  The more shallow I felt.  I’d placed so much emphasis on making an attractive living space, I neglected to notice that I was merely looking at it, not living in it.

Pride goeth before the fall.

With nothing more than the clothes on my back, a favorite bedspread, and another human being to share the ride, I came to realize that the most important thing in my “world” was the human being.  It elevated my level of ambience to downright hospitable.

And I haven’t looked back since.

The next time you’re expecting company and you’re tempted to go “all out,” ask yourself why.  If you love doing it, great.  If you don’t, re-evaluate.  It’s all a matter of perspective.

So is it possible to create a warm, comfortable, human-being-affirming atmosphere in the cab of a semi (for three months?!) with more emphasis on people and less emphasis on things?

You betchur boots it is.

But don’t take my word for it.  Try it in your own home.

Enjoying all “things” in perspective,

~ Kim