Ep. 69: At Home in Orllan

Continuing our five-part series on The Simple Show to celebrate At Home in the World, I want to tell you about a place you’d never know was there if you didn’t know to look for it.

Tucked into tree-thick hills near the Serbian border lies a tiny Albanian village hugging a lake, so small it barely makes it on local maps. But it’s an important place to me. And there’s a gazebo out on that lake I want to talk about.


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Reader & Listener’s Stories

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Of all the places I like to explore when I travel internationally, the local grocery store might be my favorite. Travel weary and jet lagged as I often am upon arriving at a new destination, the sight of grocery store brings a grin to my face. From Istanbul to Buenos Aires, there’s something familiar about the colorful rows of fruit and vegetables, the faint fishy scent near the meat counter, and the inviting baskets of fresh bread.  I know I can find diapers, easy breakfast options, a bottle of water, and supplies for a hearty picnic in just about any grocery store in the world.  Bonus points if I can buy wine with a twist-off cap. When I’m shopping for food in another country, I appreciate how the simple act of choosing bread, fruit, and milk alongside the locals makes me feel connected to this mass of unfamiliar faces.  Their expressions of weariness after a long day, excitement about a sample of cheese, and contemplation about which cereal to choose are so similar to my own.  When I see other children begging for cheap junk or candy near the checkout, I smile at the other parents and think, “we’re all in this together.” And then there’s all those products that I generally can’t find at home: fresh clotted cream in the UK, octopus tentacles in ready-to-eat tins in Japan, piles of cured ham in Spain.  At Christmas-time in London, I was surprised to find huge displays of canned duck fat alongside stacks of mincemeat pies.  As it turns out, Brits cook their Christmas potatoes in the duck fat and offer the tiny pies as snacks at every pageant, holiday party, and carol service.  These different products always give me a peephole into the priorities, the tastes, and the traditions of the local culture around me in a way that I would never learn at a restaurant or tourist attraction. I feel #athomeintheworld surrounded by boxes of pasta, cartons of orange juice, stacks of toothpaste, and a bunch of people just like me who are grabbing a few things that will hopefully translate into a meal their kids will eat without complaining. @tshoxenreider

A post shared by Jessica (@jessica.witte.brown) on

I love to travel, and there are places that matter to me all over the world. I love working in the dark, loud lobby of the Ace Hotel in NYC. I love being with the blur of people in the crowded, yet orderly ways of the London tube. I love the adventure and sacredness of Half Moon Island in Antartica where the large chinstrap penguin colony greets you. I love the blooming and manicured gardens of La Foce, a villa tucked in the hills of Tuscany. I love the faces and songs that come from the school room of girls down the long dirt road in Moshi, Tanzania. I love the hospitality of the Indonesian people on her beaches that make you feel loved like family. I guess there’s many places I feel right at home in the world, and my friend @tshoxenreider has written a book sharing so many of her stories as her family of five traveled for nine months across the globe. You will LOVE this book. Order or pick up a copy today! #athomeintheworld #ilovethisplace #LoveMeSomeTsh A post shared by S A R A H H A R M E Y E R (@sarah_harmeyer) on

Lucca is one of my favorite places in the world. It is a beautiful walled city in Tuscany that contains no significant art or religious works. It’s a city with caring people and great food and so much to absorb. One of my favorite memories of Lucca is of watching my son play soccer with kids from all over the world in the piazzas. We made friends from Budapest, Italy and Germany in one afternoon. If I could live anywhere, I would choose Lucca. They have great schools, culture, amazing food and kind people. Lucca also has all go Tuscany surrounding it, you can be in most anywhere in Tuscany in about 3 hours. However, I’m not sure why you’d ever leave Lucca. #centered_mama #athomeintheworld #enjoylifenow #italiakids #momsofinstagram #italiakidsonline #italy #grateful #travelwithkids #love

A post shared by Amisha Klawonn ?✈️?❤️ (@centered_mama) on

I remember sitting in the international terminal of JFK, waiting at my gate, wondering what on *earth* I was about to do. I’d found a good ticket price online for a flight to London, and in 45 minutes, was about to pack myself into an air-compressed metal tube which would propel me across the Atlantic Ocean to another *country* where I knew exactly one person. To this day, I’m convinced that the spirits of my grandmothers had something to do with it- my maternal grandmother having traveled abroad extensively before meeting my grandfather and settling down, and my paternal grandmother took to the world to find herself, especially after the loss of my grandfather. As my only remaining grandparent, her passing was one of my biggest anxieties when I left home and moved to New York. I could imagine that phone call before it happened- but that call never came. I knew about her decline with enough notice to book a flight and be there, but man, how I had dreaded those days. Five months later, on the break between my old job and a new one, I boarded that plane, excited and absolutely terrified. It’s the nitty gritty details of travel that I love- seeing the Eiffel Tower was incredible, but taking the Paris metro to get there, or wandering through the setting of one of my favorite movies, Nutella Crepe in hand came pretty close. I remember the streets and the gelato, I remember tea in London and riding the escalators in Harrods. Travel is a wonderful tool, and it connects us to each other. Today, a book was released that I really truly love- called At Home in the World by @tshoxenreider. The book follows Tsh and her family around the world during their YEAR of travel, where the look for their next adventure, and was to find home in any location. It’s wonderful to travel on paper, and I had the joy of reading #AtHomeintheWorld early- and recommend that you pick up a copy too! ? A post shared by Molly E. Brewer (@mollyebrewer) on

This is one of the special places I feel at home in the world ?. I first met 4717 Willowbend in 2007. At 26 years old, I moved in with those lovely ladies you see in the middle. We laughed, cried, argued, and endured the season of singleness. We fought dog fleas, dishes, and hosted innumerable bible studies, and one ragin’ 80’s party. And in July of 2009, we said goodbye to this lovely house, and see you soon to one another. I moved to Egypt and began a new adventure. We all got married. And in April of 2014, heavily pregnant with twins, I found myself once again looking at 4717 Willowbend. My husband and I moved in just 6 weeks before our little people arrived. My old bedroom became the nursery. The kitchen where I learned to cook became the place where my babies ate their first solid foods. A place I walked through so often became the place where my babies took their first steps. The yard where I used to lay out to get tan became the location for our monthly photo shoots, documenting the first year of growth. Truly, this is a place that is HOME in a world of uncertainty and change. Where do you feel at home in the world? @tshoxenreider’s book, At Home in the World releases today, and it’s so much fun to share this lovely book and where I feel at home in the world with all of you! Link in profile if you need it! http://amzn.to/2pywAuZ A post shared by Jen & Em (@thehappyhealthyfamily) on

Join in!

Tell me about a place in the world you love! Head here for details*, and I’ll share them all this week in celebration of the book’s release into the world.

This weekend, I’ll share a final compilation.

*Please note: A few of you have shared lovely pieces, but you haven’t mentioned in your piece that it’s in celebration of the release of At Home in the World and linked to either the book or the original blog post. I’d love to share your words, so simply add that important bit, then resubmit! Thanks for understanding.

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