I think a part of my heart will always reside in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
When I meditate on it, home feels like the breeze from a nearby lake rustling bright green leaves that sway overhead as I lay in a hammock drinking craft beer. It feels like the chill of winter during the first true snow of the season when big flakes fall from the night sky like shooting stars and everyone forgets about being an adult for a few precious hours while building men and angels from the powder.

Its the familiar sound of a friends laugh in a cozy home, affection from pets, good conversations about everything and nothing. It’s D&D on Thursday nights when the roll of a dice can make or break your outlandish ideas on how to deal with dragons. It’s the feel of an xbox controller in my hand as I LAN with friends.

Minnesota Lakes

This is the beauty of home… (taken at the Murphy Hanrehan Park)

It’s easy to forget that I’ve only been traveling with my RY tramily for a few months now, and that everyone is still getting to know everyone else. After a conversation about a topic that I’ve since forgotten, a new friend said very candidly. “Wow. Melissa. I’m beginning to realize you are a GIANT nerd.”

I laugh, smile, and shrug. “Sounds about right.”




There is another side of my heart, however, that has heard the call of the wild. I feel a little like Legolas now, whose warning from Galadriel hits closer to home than I ever imagined. (Remember that part about me being a giant nerd?)

Legolas Greenleaf long under tree
In joy thou hast lived. Beware of the Sea!
If thou hearest the cry of the gull on the shore,
Thy heart shall then rest in the forest no more.

After spending my entire life in a land-locked state, Remote Year is the first time I’ve ever lived near an ocean or sea. And in two months time, I have heard the siren’s call, and I am utterly enthralled.

In Croatia, my apartment was close enough to the edge of the Adriatic that I could go down to the hard rock beaches in the morning, take a nap in the sun, cool off in the surf, and head to work thoroughly encouraged by all vitamin D laced sunshine. Lisbon’s beaches are a little harder to get to, but I still find myself drawn to them whenever I can find them. While I am still quite pale, I’m about 6 shades more tan than when I started on this trip. I generally like it, though the tan lines are unforgiving.


The tramily that surfs together…


This morning before work, I started the day with my least favorite activity, waking up early. I’ve been spoiled by the timezone switch in Europe, allowing me to have the luxury of unhurried mornings. Waking up slowly, taking my time, eating lunch. This month I’ve been sacrificing my glorious mornings once a week for the last 3 weeks to attend surfing lessons, because it seemed exactly like the thing I should be doing in a place like Portugal.

Let me tell you that it might look effortless when you watch surfing movies or the pros on a beach, but I can officially attest to its difficulty. This morning I managed to surpass my previous record of twice to stand up on a surfboard 6 whole times in one lesson. And I’m beginning to see why people are so into it. It’s kind’ve expensive, but I’m going to try and make it to one more session before I leave.



I am a heart divided. Half of my heart is the deep forest with its twisting roots that are wrapped solidly around the home I have known for 27 years and the life that I have built there. The other half is the embodiment of a summer breeze, where anywhere feels like home when I can walk from my apartment to the grocery store or the working space without needing Google maps. It’s the pin dropped on the map, the little blue dot, wherever I happen to be in the world whenever I happen to be there. Perhaps one of the things I am destined to learn on this trip is how to balance between the two.