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  • Writer's pictureTannur Ali

Sweet Home Alabama

On September 02, 2017 we began the first step of another epic journey. We Found Home!

Thanks to the help of long-time supporters and new ones who attached to our story during the nearly 2 years that we lived on the road during the "Where Is Home Project", we were able to find and afford to get a mortgage on a small farm in Alabama.

Hold up. Let me slow down for a moment because I tend to write for those who follow me on Facebook and Instagram and know my story. This is a new platform, open to all, so let me give a bit of background:

"Where is Home" was a home-school project I did with my 3 children following a fire at our apartment above our newly created community center in Albany, Georgia. We turned tragedy into opportunity when I decided that this fire could actually be a blessing. Suddenly we didn't have a home- but we also didn't have rent or utilities to pay for. I decided to pack a few bags, invest my tax money into airfare and get on the road with my babies.

The crew preparing to travel while staying with my friend Capucine Peterson- who was right there for us after the fire.

I connected the "Where is Home Project" to my Spoken Word Tour that ran simultaneously in each city that we visited called "Dancing Between Realms". This double tour was designed to show my children that our art can make a way for us and that if we follow our passions and our intuition, amazing things can happen.

That journey led us on a 40,000 mile adventure across the United States visiting friends along the way. We all learned so much on the journey as we practiced allowing intuition to guide our actions, destinations and learning. Woah. That's a mouthful.

That travel was full of bumpy rides, scary moments, questions about what we were doing and why. It also led to "trail angels", connections with friends and family on levels we had never experienced and a boost of support that we didn't see coming. Suddenly people were checking in on us to find out where we were. Suddenly my family was proud of me. Suddenly... I was proud of myself.

My 2 eldest children marking the map during a break in our travels. at our friend Q. Williams' apartment.

We collected maps and trail guides from random gas stations around the country. We gathered information about where we were from google. We stayed in hostels, on floors and sofas, on homesteads and in a trailer park. We stayed at friend's homes and hotels. We made the most of traveling the country by plane, train and rides from friends. Oh, and Uber was our friend when public transit was hard to come by.

By the end of the journey, we were sure we would know exactly where we wanted to settle. I gathered the children together one day in the living room of my Sister-Friend who allowed her home to be our safe harbor when we were between traveling spots. I said 'Okay. Let's all announce at one time where we should move to... One, Two, Thr...' "California! Philadelphia! Albany! Phoenix!"

There was no agreement. No place was calling all of us when we returned to Albany for a final decision. I started looking for a place to rent in Albany, honestly feeling pretty defeated, however- it sort of made since because the arts community in Albany was in the middle of a huge surge. (More on that in a future blog). The first place I moved into when I moved to Albany in 2008 had a for rent sign in the window. I thought for sure I could move back into my all time favorite apartment- a duplex on the south side. It turned out it wasn't for rent. It was for sale. No way I could afford the measly $35k that was the asking price. Not with my credit.

Then, I was on the phone with a friend I met on my travels who didn't understand why I was about to rent a house. She said "I'll be your bank!" and she meant it. Five months later we owned a farm. Just like that.

That house fell through. The foundation was messed up and it was in the process of being sold to a developer. Then I fell in love with another house. Same price range. This time, on the east side of town. (I <3 The Hood) After finding a realtor, putting in an offer, getting an inspection and more- it was sold to someone else. I was just about ready to give up when I jumped on a phone call that led to jumping on a plane, which led to a train across France a short tour in Switzerland an appearance at the UN in Geneva and a casual mention of a family friend offering me a little patch of land in the middle of nowhere, Alabama.

Olivia, Abdallah, Jeannie & Me in Geneva

Suddenly I found myself walking on the banks of Lake Geneva with a Peruvian girl who lived and worked in Iceland, an Egyptian guy who was studying in Switzerland and an American friend working on a project in Palestine- all singing




The decision was made.

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