Share on Pinterest

I spend my entire life cleaning. OK, maybe that's an overstatement. But, no, I spend my entire life cleaning. Or, at least, thinking that maybe I should clean. There's always laundry that somehow gathers in a pile next to the hamper. There's always a sink full of dishes that cascades onto the kitchen counter. There's always a trail of litter on the floor that I'll sweep up tomorrow. Maybe. There's always hair in the drain or a closet door that won't quite close or an empty can of Coke on the nightstand or a sheet corner that has come loose. There's...

I got rid of a lot of things before I left to travel. It was a nice feeling to purge everything unnecessary, everything unneeded, from my life. In the end I sold, threw out, or donated over two-thirds of my belongings. Still, I kept many things, a couple of boxes of books included. (Plus a few more boxes dedicated entirely to The Baby-Sitters Club...

  I've had this bookcase forever. OK, not forever, but probably close to ten years. It's actually just from Target. For a few years in the mid 2000s they used to hold an annual "Global Bazaar" event featuring worldly-inspired limited-edition furniture and accessories. It's a hard-wood piece and, even though one of the sidebars is loose and falls out when I stuff too many books on the shelf, is pretty solid. It's another one of those pieces I can't imagine ever not having. It's pretty, it serves a purpose, and it serves that purpose well. The bookcase fits nicely into the little...

[caption id="attachment_48882" align="aligncenter" width="2000"] A collection of owl souvenirs from around the world.[/caption]   Thai superstition says that the owl is a cursed, evil, symbol: if one lands on your roof, horrible things will happen. In most other countries, though, owl symbolism leans a little more positive. In most other countries, the owl is much brighter figure, representing intelligence, perspective, wisdom, protection, mystery, power, fortune. It seems that only in Thailand does the fowl bring misfortune. So, maybe, it's kind of ironic that my owl collection began in Thailand. I never meant to start a collection of owl souvenirs. I didn't. I simply walked into...

For the past four months I've been neither here nor there. At the end of October, after over three years of living nomadically, I "finished" my travels, flew back to Chicago on a one-way ticket, and accepted a full-time job. But, in the four months since, I haven't really been "here." Not yet. I was living in a friend's spare bedroom. I was living off of a designated shelf in the cupboard, a designated shelf in the fridge, a borrowed bed, a borrowed pillow, a borrowed towel. All of my things were still in storage at my mom's. I couldn't join a...