When Your Home Is Not A Haven

It’s not always a bad thing. Especially when it forces a reckoning.

L.L. Kirchner
10 min readAug 25, 2021


Anjuna Beach, Goa. Courtesy of the author.

Goa is overrun with heart-stoppingly odd scenery. Between cows on the beach, intricate marigold malas outside people’s homes, and the mix of Dravidian, Islamic, and Portuguese architecture (and not just one building to the next, but often in combination), you never know what to expect. Year after year I returned, desperate to be changed, and absolutely unaware how the place was shaping me.

“There’s a house you can rent. The couple who was living there is leaving,” wrote my yoga teacher, before I’d left New York. “Two of my students there plan to stay for the season, but the place is huge, and cheap as chips.”

I knew the house. Mere yards away from her shala, where I’d practiced before, I could vaguely picture it. Best of all, taking the couple’s spot meant having the entire top floor to myself, all for only $70 a month.

“Welcome to Hercules Manor,” Nicola, my new roommate, said when at last we met at the house in Goa.

“Hercules?” I asked, wondering if this was yet another British thing because both of them were from the U.K. “Because it’s big?”

“No, silly!” Emma, my other new roommate, said. “Because there’s only one bathroom. You’ve got to have real strength to live here.”

“I’m so glad you came forward,” Nicola said. “That nose-picking Megan was our other option.”

In hindsight, I should’ve seen the cliquish remark as a warning. Instead, having just been through a brutal divorce, I let it feel good to be part of the girl gang.

And this was why I kept returning to India. People everywhere spoke of finding bliss through meditation/yoga/vegetarianism. I was sure that if I kept looking, especially in India with its many teachers and ancient wisdom, that I’d find this “inner buddha” everyone kept talking about. I would’ve been thrilled with “not miserable,” but the only thing my constant digging turned up was my inner bitch. And she was pissed.

I actively sought opinions on my lingering sorrow, never staying too long in a single place. Not surprisingly, loads of people had ideas. Another benefit to renting the top floor of a house was…



L.L. Kirchner

Award-winning screenwriter & best-selling author | GenXer | Open-minded skeptic committed to empowering humans through stories | LLKirchner.com