A Place That Feels Like Home

Written by Brianna Madia


Basecamp. The term itself implies that while there are adventures to be had, one always needs a place to return to. A place that feels like home.

For my husband Keith, myself, and our two dogs, Bucket and Dagwood, “home” is a moving target.


Over the course of the last few years, the four of us have drifted about from living on a 33-foot sailboat in a small harbor in Long Island Sound, to cramming what few belongings we had into a 400 square-foot studio apartment 3,000 miles away, and then finally moving into a giant, orange, Ford E350 van so that we technically never had to go home again.


It’s a funny concept to explain in a world full of mortgage rates and picket fences and manicured lawns and addresses on mailboxes. For most, home has four walls, not four wheels. It is a firm place in which you hang your hat and plant your feet. So how does one possibly describe that for us, home is nowhere and everywhere all at once?


I suppose we could start by explaining that there was a certain way that old sailboat swayed with the shifting tide. A distinct call of a morning gull floating on thick, salted summer air. That old faithful sound of Bucket’s paws clack-clack-clacking on the water-warped wood of the dock and the frenzied flutter of a goose’s wings. There was a wave from a passing sailor and the long, low horn of a tugboat and the soft, steady clanking of halyards against the mast. And that was home.


And then there was a certain way the setting sun came through the big bay window of our tiny little studio apartment. The wild, joyous greeting of two dogs who’d have you believe you’d been gone for three years instead of three hours. Boy, was that ever home. There was the prolonged embrace of a loved one…you know, the kind after a long day where you linger in the doorway and bury your face into the familiar smell of the people you love. Yea, that was home.


And now, there’s the humming of those big 35-inch tires as they grip the hot pavement of a sun-bleached desert highway. Certain roads in the San Rafael Swell that I could drive with my eyes closed because my soul reads the rocks and ruts like Braille. The way the light hits the sandstone in Moab that I’d know anywhere. There’s a scent of sagebrush and juniper carried across warm red sand that I can feel penetrate my skin. And that’s home.


Wherever the dirt road curves, wherever the sun dips low, wherever there’s sand beneath bare feet or smooth river rocks beneath dog’s paws, or the long, hallowed call of wind against canyon walls, or the plucking of Keith’s guitar strings, or the soft rise and fall of a dog’s sleeping chest. That’s home.


And so you see, we are home. We’ve always been home.


Learn more about these adventurous Ruffwear Ambassadors and follow all of Brianna, Keith, Dagwood and Bucket’s adventures on Instagram: @briannamadia.

7 thoughts

  1. Gained a new follower here.

    You and your husband are living my dream. I love the van as well! I can imagine it can get a little cramped with 2 adults and 2 larger dogs.


  2. I think it’s great you guys live outside the “norm” and make your own adventures. Who wants to be stuck in a cubicle when you can travel and live with your two awesome dogs?!

  3. Peaceful and grateful lives. I’ve always wondered how do people do this financially. I will downsize when I retire in a few years, sell most of material belongings that I don’t need and stay in the West so that everyday I can spend it in nature with my rescues. Best!

  4. i love this couple! I live in silicon valley and feel surrounded by a lot of wealth. These two remind me to stay grounded and remember that happiness isn’t bought.

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