I love traveling. I love books about traveling, but beyond that I love thoughtful books about more than just the traveling. Tsh Oxenreider’s latest book “At Home in the World” is a unique memoir detailing that time they took a year off to get a global education by actually going. Vagabonding with kids is not for the faint of heart, but it is also not impossibly difficult. I have previously shared some of my traveling with babies (baby at the time) insights here, but I have yet to traipse internationally for long periods of time with the progeny. I am an expat living in the Dutch Caribbean, but living internationally is different than moving around internationally, although there are some similarities, like food, coffee, compact-ability, and access to playgrounds.
I appreciate the way Tsh framed her travels through the lens of discovering what it means to be “home” and what makes a place “home.” I identified strongly with her shifting preferences to put down roots AND go wherever the wind blows you. I currently have few belongings and a large part of me wants to keep it that way, so we can just pick up and move somewhere we have always wanted to explore. But, another part of me stirs with longing when another friend, buys another perfectly quaint little home, to build their little family and collect the family heirlooms and grow a garden, and be somewhere long term. I grow weary of the constant starting all over, of finding our tribe and making ends meet. But I also LOVE starting all over and discovering new people and ways of living and interesting entrepreneurs and local experiences and products. It keeps my perspective flexible and fresh.
I wrote about what an indefinitely nomadic existence feels like in homeless at heart, and much of it still holds true now. I know better how to make a home amongst someone else’s furniture, wherever I am, knowing that someday I might be part of a local community for longer than nine months. My time of staying put will come in due season.
Until then, I read about other people finding home abroad and locally.
I would give this book 4/5 stars. I love Tsh’s heart, but I don’t love her writing style. Our natural rhythms are quite different, which is good, but I don’t resonate with her writing as readily as I would Madeline L’Engle or Sarah Bessey. Personal Preference, nothing more. Portions of the memoir were too meticulous for my tastes, painstaking details better left in a personal journal, in my opinion, but overall I thought her balance of travel diary and spiritual reflections was spot on. Personal highlights were her section on Italy, because I spent part of my childhood there and her stories brought back so many fond memories, her section on New Zealand/Australia because I have no context for what life is like there (apart from MaryKate and Ashley’s 2000 blockbuster hit “Our Lips are Sealed”) and her expedition through Australia’s Daintree Forest, one of the oldest forests in the world, was absolutely tantalizing. I also enjoyed her section on Morocco as I recently discovered ancestral roots from this region, and I desperately want to visit (also one of my favorite books and TV series is set there, El Tiempo Entre Costuras). I highly recommend pouring a cup of coffee (or tea) and picking up a copy here.
If you have read this book, what were your thoughts/favorite parts?