Another summer day, has come and gone away in Paris and Rome, (well actually Monaco) but I wanna go home. Ah that magical word which can have so many different meanings. Being away from family and friends for so long and the personal changes I have gone through since traveling have made me realize that I no longer know where “home” is.
Of course you have heard the old cliché that “home is where the heart is” (or in my case, where my suitcase is), but that’s all that it is, a dirty tattered suitcase, containing some souvenirs and some rather rugged looking clothes. For the moment, my journal seems like the closest friend I have here, (which does contain much of my heart at the moment, so does that mean my home is here?)
In a deeper search for the meaning, (and a more human connection) I went to my “Facebook friends.” A good friend of mine I met living in Florida (also a fellow nomad, or“turtle” as she has called herself,) and my eighty-one year old grandmother were both online and we began a small discussion. Soly has traveled the world extensively and just like me is trying to find her “roots.” My grandma has had her roots planted deeply in the same “home” for many years, and is now caring for my grandpa who is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. (You can visit her blog here.) She has often been asked (as he seldom knows where he is) if she would please take him home. Although she is fully aware that they are already there, she sometimes wants the same thing. But how can she miss “home” when she is already there?
So what and where is home? Is it safety and familiarity that we seek? Maybe a bit of normalcy? Although that is probably what my grandmother would like, to have the man she has loved for more than 60 years back to “normal,” for the moment it doesn’t really apply for me. One of the things I LOVE about traveling is the unfamiliar (and sometimes rather precarious situations you run into.) Maybe I’m an adrenaline or adventure junky, but there’s nothing more exciting than landing in a brand new place, fumbling my way around for a bit, and then eventually feeling like I’ve conquered it (which is usually about the time that I’m ready to move to a new country.) Granted there are those moments of frustration and tears when I wish mom was there, waiting to “kiss it and make it better,” but I’ve managed to find a lot of perfectly good strangers who are also willing to render care in times of distress. From a cab driver escorting me around Israel for 2 days and then refusing to take payment for it, to strangers dropping what they were doing to walk a poor lost girl to her destination, there seems to be amazing people sprinkled all over this planet willing to help.
Maybe the idea of home is being with those you love (when they remember who you are of course.) I do miss my family (which for many is yet another definition) although I don’t feel that going back to be near them would feel like my home anymore. And in the sense of “romantic love,” while I’ve met many wonderful people and have had a few romantic encounters throughout my travels, maybe I am as one of them put it,“a butterfly,” a magnificent creature that flies from flower to flower, but is only there long enough for you to appreciate its beauty and then it’s gone. But maybe the butterfly just realizes how incredibly short its life is (they only have an average lifespan of two weeks) so she is just trying to make the most of it. When it comes to wings and roots, I think I ended up as Soly puts it “with an extra set of wings, but no roots.”
Could it be that “home” is a right of passage, and as you grow and develop who you are, you create a new idea of home for yourself? A fellow blogger posted on a similar subject that “home is the place in life when the things we once clutched tightly no longer receive our embrace. The place when simplicity and the need for less and less consumes. The place where we learn to stand alone. It’s the place we must eventually reach in order to begin anew. To find our home within ourselves.” For now, that sounds the most like me. And maybe, as my very wise grandmother puts it, one day these wings will tire, and then maybe I’ll find my roots (unless of course, they happen to find me.)
So what’s your view on “home?” Have you ever felt homesick but with no “home” to go back to? Feel free to comment below.