I made an offer on a house last week.

I’ve been in almost constant motion for a least seven years. First school, with it’s quarterly changes in housing, followed by half a year in a friend’s spare room while waiting for a tenant’s lease to run out, then back to my house in Rockland with an eye toward downsizing. Since that house sold, I’ve lived in spaces of between 150 and 900 square feet.

I’ve learned a bit about living with other people in their spaces. The idea of my own house again, after all this tumbling about, feels like an oasis in the dry sands and I wonder if it’s a mirage, this idea of a place of my own.

Still, until the buyer opens the bids and makes a decision, I enjoy the idea of a backyard where I can plant the kinds of flowering shrubs I like, spaces that are not subject to unexpected arrivals and departures of a housemate’s friends, the long-term promise of things done my way.

Pretty spoiled, aren’t I?

For most of my 68 years, I lived with other people. First with my mother and brother, then college roommates, apartment shares, cohabitation of varying kinds and short stints back at Mom’s until 1984, when I became Ms. Auciello and began to form a nuclear family.

I lived with a husband and our children for 23 years. In 2007, I moved with him and a daughter into my mother’s house and seven years later, I left for college again.

In those 38 months in and around College of the Atlantic, I moved 14 times, sharing houses and apartments, house sitting and living in dormitories, spending a month in a twin-sized berth in the crew quarters of a tall ship.

It’s been pretty unsettling. As I write this, and at least until I find out if my offer has been accepted, I enjoy imagining an end to all the displacement.

That word reminds me of the belly of the SSV Corwith Cramer, the usually gently-rocking vessel where I slept in a space named “The Cuckoo’s Nest” by a previous member of the ship’s student crew. It was snug, and the whisper of the passing seas comforted me in my seasickness and loneliness as an old woman among those other college kids.

It was July 2015 when I joined the ship in Cork, and by the time we’d crossed the Bay of Biscay and docked in Lisbon three weeks later, the air in that stone-paved city was hotter than the hinges on the hatches of my floating home.

We had another 10 days aboard ship and would end up in Cadiz, almost 200 miles further south in latitude. Plans made and tickets purchased before I left Maine had me scheduled to visit a friend in Barcelona two weeks after debarking, so I wrote to my college’s community email group, asking for suggestions of inexpensive places with cool breezes that I might visit in the interim.

The invitation I received to visit an alum and her family in the Basque province of Gipuzkoa came as a bit of a surprise. I expected a list of campgrounds or hostels; instead, Amalia offered me her own room in the small apartment she shared with her mother and younger brother.

I soon learned the family were Sahrawi refugees who came to Spain after living for decades within the unsympathetic borders of Southern Algeria. The camp where Amalia was born is one of five such places, built in the 1970s to house noncombatants fleeing from Moroccan armies, where more than 40,000 adults and their children are dependent on international nonprofits for food, drinking water, building materials and even clothing.

During my time in Tolosa and Donostia, I learned a great deal about kindness and hospitality. This stateless family, with its decades of shattered dreams, offered me food that was far beyond their own daily fare, stretching their budget to make me feel welcome.

They introduced me to relatives who, like themselves, were forced from their ancestral lands with no guarantee of a permanent home. Their lives in Spain were dependent on decisions made by those who had occupied their land more than 100 years ago, a fragile hegemony that left Amalia, her mother, and thousands of others unable to plan their lives, pursue careers, or make any of the decisions that I don’t even think about.

When I left for Barcelona, I was carrying a traditional Sahwari woman’s dress, called a Daraa, and a beaded necklace that will always remind me that kindness has no price tag and enormous value.

Since starting this column, I learned I did not get the little house in Rockland with which, for a brief 24 hours, I was falling in love. For the foreseeable future, I will continue to live in two rooms in the home of a friend. The calm and restful sensation of that day of hope must wait for another time.

For now, I recognize that, in a world where safety and predictability are really just illusions, I am as settled as I need to be.

Shlomit Auciello is a writer, photographer and human ecologist who has lived in Midcoast Maine since 1988. Letter From Away has appeared online and in print, on and off since 1992, and is published here on a bi-weekly basis.