I spent the last two months in Medicine Hat, Canada and will be spend the next year in Beijing, China.
In both places I’m surrounded by familiar faces and have a place to call my own. My personal objects are around me and I feel comfortable in my environment; so which place do I call home?
Like identity, a home place is intangible and liable to change. It’s not a permanent structure that you can touch and feel though it is very much an emotion, a sense of belonging. Often a house is said to be a home because of the domestic and leisure pursuits that are performed within its four walls. If that house was to burn down, would home suddenly stop existing? We use words like “temporary shelter” or “halfway house” to describe the act of moving our home away from a prior situation, as if it can be boxed up and packed with all our other belongings.
This concept of home is important I feel, especially for a traveler whether it be a choice or imposed circumstances. Another question to ask is if it needs to be verified by outsiders to be considered a true fact. Like most things when we look for others approval the answer is shaky. If what we do benefits them they often love to call us their own but if we are strange, or a bit unkempt, suddenly affection is changed to disdain. In some places it takes a few months to a year to be considered an insider, and in others places you never will be. In fact it can be compared to an indifferent parent, who as hard as you try will never show their approval.
That’s why I think it’s best to focus on what you can control. To create a place of belonging requires you to be involved. A staged room might look beautiful but it has no soul. To add character to a place demands effort but also gives out a higher reward. Belongings are just material, but when it’s been carried around for ages, or hung around the neck, it seems to take on a different meaning. Small articles can be comforting and reminders of the past. Journals as well are good to keep, and can be the best historic records to have on hand. Other than the fact that they’re useful for autobiographies, which are a must these days, it’s a way to fuse the present with the past and future.
Lastly, home is where the heart is and your thoughts as well. A place of rest and rejuvenation regardless of space, it’s an area where you can be at peace and unafraid to explore. Within mansions or cottages it’s a creation that meets our most important need, those with it are extremely fortunate, and those without have the building blocks to envision it into being.