Where is home?
Some will declare ‘home is where the heart is’, and this is a hard statement to disagree with, for many , I suspect it is a given. Allow me to proffer ‘home is where you can be yourself’ as I’ve had difficulties reconciling the first statement to my own life.
I often envy people who claim proudly ‘I’ve lived in this village all my life, my parents did too and my grandparents before them..’. Their words echo a personal sense of belonging and hint at an inherent belief that where they are now is where they are meant to be.
You may be one of these people. For you, perhaps there is no point in venturing abroad, away from the sights and sounds of your hometown. Your daily surroundings are familiar and it would be far too risky and cause endless stress and worry to uproot and move away.
The way of life, the local traditions, your friends and family and maybe even the trees, the gardens, the views, the climate and the cuisine have bound you forever. As every year passes, the probability of leaving it all behind must surely diminish.
For me, this is a way of live which I don’t know. I’m not certain I had any control over it in any case. I’ve known for many years what it’s like to be a stranger, a foreigner, one who looks and acts a little differently. But I’ve grown into this rôle, I’ve learnt to go with the flow, to sip the various teas and lick the ice-cream flavours on offer in each town.
After a while, I’ve found I no longer miss the place where I came from. There is no more the pang of homesickness nor the lure of the fish and chips. Is this the inevitable loss of roots, the severing of ties and realisation that I’ll forever be a wanderer?
Oh we try to put down new markers, but we’re doomed to fail. This is the destiny of the hardcore adventurer. You see, it all begins quite innocently, the understanding being that one will roam and seek out fun, sun and a few snapshots for the album to show to children in years from then. But the lifestyle clotted like dried blood on the fabric of the naive debutant traveller. And now, he just can’t wash out the stains.
So now I just don’t know where I belong. I’m here and I’m now and that’s all, even if I’m ‘over the hill’ in terms of relative youth. I’m not even sure if it all really matters in the grand scheme of things. This is the life I’ve chosen. Yes, I can attest that is what happens – you actually get what you want in some weird way. If you recall your inner wishes and desires from years passed and be honest with yourself, you would know what to expect.
In the end, it’s not where I am but who I am which really counts. However to become who I am right now required me to pass through other places. But the me which dwelled in those locations wasn’t the same me as is here tapping at this keyboard.