The Compass Blog

Reflections on Home and Community – August 27, 2017

Kathi Noaker

I’ve been thinking about the concept of home a lot lately.

Our first home where we grew up was not one of our own choosing. But when we hit that watershed year of 18, it’s all up to us.

My childhood home was in one house in central PA. And as a teenager, when all my peers were talking about their college plans, I was talking and dreaming about moving to Utah and becoming a ski bum. (A phrase that sadly seems to have fallen out of fashion.)

So the “home” I’d had from zero – 18, I left in my rearview mirror as I drove west with a plan to be a Rocky Mountain Girl. And for the next twenty years, I did just that, working seasonally from the Wasatch to the Absaroka mountains. Thinking back on those years and considering this concept of home, it’s clear to me that there were times when I felt at home and times when I felt like I didn’t have a home.

Toward the end of that chapter, I was ready for a change, so I ended the seasonal lifestyle, settled into life in Bozeman, MT, got that college degree, found a very nice fella, we bought a house, and I started working for my friend Bill, CoolWorks founder. And we lived and loved and played and skied in Bozeman for the next 15 or so years. But even though we had, in theory, settled down, I was beset by underlying inquietudes.

Well eventually my restlessness, along with the interminable Montana winters, started wearing us both thin. When it’s time to go; it’s time to go. Our journey brought us to the little town of Patagonia, Arizona, 18 miles from the border of Sonora, Mexico, where we’ve lived for the past nine years. And for the first time in a very long time, I feel like I’m at home.

Patagonia is magical. Not everyone who comes here, feels that, but if you do feel it, you know it in your bones. And then you stay. And so all of us who have landed here over the years, we’re in the same collective. We all feel that magic.

So I think for me, feeling at home is finally that combination of being in a place where I feel the magic with other people that feel it too. And they may be friends, acquaintances, or I may not even know them, but we all feel that magic of being in this place at this particular point in time. However fleeting it may be.

We are all travelers on this journey of life. May we feel the blessings of tribal magic, and may our home fires burn bright.

Late summer is upon us, and ski resorts are in full hiring mode for their upcoming winter seasons. New opportunities are being posted daily! Browse through our ski resort listings, and see if your winter home is calling.