A few weeks ago, I came into contact with Emily, the young travel blogger of “Emily’s Voyage”, from the UK. She asked me for a statement on the subject of “Home Away From Home”, and I was happy to comment on it. I thought a little more on the subject.
It actually is a good question: What is home and where is home when you travel?
Noun[the] 1. the country or region where you were born and grew up or where you feel at home because you have been living there for a long time.
“after a long time in the foreign country, returning home.”
The question of one’s own home is old and indeed has many answers. Ever since the world has become smaller, cars faster and flights more affordable, more and more horizons and cultures are blending. New possibilities are opening up and within reach.
So can home only be the place where you grew up or maybe more than that?
I was born and raised in by German parents and grandparents in Germany. I don’t know any homeland other than Germany. But what is home? Many descendants of immigrants face a different challenge. Although incredibly enriching and diverse, how does one identify with the feeling of home when growing up in two different worlds?
A friend of mine with Vietnamese parents once confessed that he doesn’t feel at home anywhere. He felt he was treated by the Germans as a”foreigner” and by Vietnamese fellow countrymen as “German“. He felt trapped between these two worlds and it took him several years to find his own identity within them.
According to him, he has now found his home in England. The question of one’s own home is old and indeed has many answers.
Ever since the world has become smaller, cars faster and flights more affordable, more and more horizons and cultures are blending. New possibilities are opening up and within reach.
Can home only be the place where you grew up or maybe more than that?
Does home have a taste?
The Christmas aroma of cinnamon and orange brings wistful childhood memories to life. It invokes feelings of comfort and a sense of longing, the same feeling I have when enjoying Solyanka, (a delicious soup made of beef, sausage, paprika and cucumber). But I feel something profoundly more than just homesickness. Perhaps a longing for the better times as they are remembered?
So, is home more than a place? Is it possibly a mixture of smells, tastes and sounds that burn in our memories?
At home wherever I am
Lately I’ve noticed something about myself-regardless of where I live or visit in any city or country, I feel at home where I can lay my head on a pillow and bring my belongings. Instead of saying, “let’s go back to the hotel”, I say, “let’s go back home” or “I left it at home“ (I tend to forget things in rooms and suitcases, so it happens quite often.)
Is “home” somewhere I can place my belongings then?
My mother used to call me a gypsy
Back to the place of growing up: is home defined by the people or place? If your parents move to another place, will their new home automatically become your home? Or do you feel more at home in your old living environment?
Questions about questions…. When I return from my travels or ever a visit to my hometown, Berlin, I feel this particular vibe. It feels like I’m back in tune with myself. I understand the people, the attitude, and the unspoken rules.
Does this mean that home is the society in which you grew up?
I can say about Berlin: It can be very annoying, so I left it again and again for good reasons. This city makes me nervous and exhausted, but it also has many possibilities and inspires me. Also it has lots of history and great sights, like the abandoned spy station in Grunewald.
But isn’t that like home and family? You can’t bear them sometimes, but you keep coming back?
Local Patriot – Up and Down Like a Monkey
When I moved to another German city to attend my studies, I had an embarrassing moment in a nightclub. A song by a band from Berlin was played, and although I didn’t really like the song or the band, I felt a patriotism that I had never experienced before. I jumped up and down on the dance floor like a monkey. Well… fortunately there are no photos of it.
Where is my home now?
For me, I now know what “home” is- a place where my basic values are met and I can place my head on any kind of pillow. In the end, my home is within me. So it is always with me and I don’t have to miss it.
Home is not a place. Home is a feeling.
What is home for you?
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