On Finding a Place to Call Home
Despite the countless houses, apartments, hostels and homestays I have lived in, I have never truly felt that I would be finding a place to call home. Ever since I can remember my life has consisted of moving, starting over, adapting to new environments, and making new friends.
Don’t get me wrong. I am grateful for the opportunities my lifestyle has provided me with.
I have had the rare pleasure of meeting people from all walks of life and I have learned something new from each one. I have tried bizarre foods like cuyi (guinea pig), kangaroo, snake and alpaca, and I have drunk too many bowls of Kava in a village in Fiji.
I have attempted to learn many different languages, and integrate into the cultures of each place I have lived. I have encountered koalas, kangaroos, wombats, sharks, stingray, dolphins, whales, llamas, sloths, crocodiles, elephants, giraffes, monkeys, chimpanzees, gazelles, rhinos, and so many more exotic animals along the way.
I have gazed at star constellations in both hemispheres and I have witnessed some of the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets from snow-covered mountains in Peru to the barren outback of Australia. Most importantly though, with every mile I have traveled, I have grown and discovered new things about myself. But with those perks have also come certain drawbacks.
Home is not a house that is contained by walls and doors with locks, nor is it a mailing address.
The most prominent one being that it has taken me my entire life to conclude a misguided quest to find a home. I was always under the impression that a home was a cozy house with a fireplace where you can curl up with a good book, your family by your side, a fridge full of familiar food you are welcome to, a bedroom covered with your prized possessions and memorabilia of your past, a place that is a short walk from your friends and makes you feel an everlasting sense of comfort and stability.
However, I’m beginning to realize that I’ve been looking for a home in all the wrong places. Home is not a house that is contained by walls and doors with locks, nor is it a mailing address. Home is the feeling I get when I am at the airport with everything I need in my backpack, clutching my passport, and armed with my camera. It is the feeling I get when I look out the window of a plane, train, bus, taxi, or my car as the world speeds by me.
On Finding a Place to Call Home.
Home is the feeling I get when I stand at the edge of the beach and the ocean’s waves engulf me, when I reach the top of a mountain and I am amongst the clouds and everything below seems so minuscule, or when I swim beneath a waterfall and I can feel the energy of the water surround me.
In the past I’ve looked for home in people, whether it be family, friends, or boyfriends. But this has always led me to a false sense of security. I certainly love the people in my life, and I do not dare presume that I could live without them. They provide me with support, laughs, advice, conversation, and someone to share my feelings and experiences with. The problem with finding a home in a relationship though, is that it is not stable.
A relationship is a choice that involves two people, people who are constantly growing, changing, and acting on their own personal wants and needs. Therefore, it can’t be depended upon to fill the part of my heart that yearns for stability. At the end of the day, people are external factors in an unpredictable world.
Traveling may not seem consistent, but the feeling of pure bliss I get when I see a place with my own eyes that I have admired for years from pictures and books, or when I stumble upon a new place I have never heard of, is the most consistent feeling I have ever known.
For me, home exists within the intangible freedom of not having a house with my name on the deed, and consequently the liberation that comes with knowing I can go anywhere and do anything, whenever I choose.
Traveling may not seem consistent, but the feeling of pure bliss I get when I see a place with my own eyes that I have admired for years from pictures and books, or when I stumble upon a new place I have never heard of, is the most consistent feeling I have ever known. The world in its entirety, unlike any one person or place, can offer me unequivocal opportunities and adventure, it can show me beauty, humor, logic, patience, truth, hope and love, yet asks for nothing in return.
Maybe one day I will find someone to share my newfound sense of home with, but for the time being I find solace in the thought that the world is my home and it knows no boundaries.
Photos by Anna French.