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While I moved in and out of houses and apartments, from one state to another, between cities and foreign countries, My grandmother’s house remained my home base. It was not always a warm and happy place, but a fixed point on this rotating planet that I could always find.

For much of my childhood my head was flooded with too many new home addresses to memorize, so my grandmother’s address was the only one that stuck. For most of my adult life, it was the warm and sunny shelter I always had the option of escaping to.

It was the home I escaped to in my imagination, and the place where I always thought I could find comfort. The stiff-backed furniture, the plush cream carpet, the giant magnolia tree in the front yard—everything was always just as I left it. Until my most recent visit, when I returned from almost 7 months of living aboard and yearned to smell the magnolia blossoms and feel that carpet between my toes.

Instead, I found rooms torn apart, pictures flung on the floor, dark stains on the creamy carpet. The home I needed was gone. Of the things the robbers stole that day, my sense of home held the most value.

We all need a home to serve as a fixed point from which we can navigate this wickedly wild world. Home is like a northern star providing direction, and comfort, when everything else is dark. I used to believe that it was for those who knew their homes, who kept their homes with them, that it burns brightest. Perhaps, I was wrong. Perhaps the north star of home burns the brightest for those who haven’t found it yet—for those who can’t retrace steps home, but must instead, keep traveling to find it.