Looking For Home In All The Wrong Places, How Traveling Made The World My Home
Despite the countless houses, apartments, hostels and homestays in which I have lived, I have never truly felt that I would find 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 with which my lifestyle has provided me. 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 drank 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, whales, llamas, sloths, crocodiles, elephants, giraffes, chimpanzees, rhinos and so many other 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 traveled, I have grown and discovered new things about myself. But, with those perks have also come certain setbacks.
The most prominent setback was that it took 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, with your family by your side.
That it's fridge full of familiar food, a bedroom covered with your prized possessions, a place that is a short walk from your friends that fills you with an everlasting sense of comfort and stability.
However, I’m beginning to realize that I’ve been looking for a home in all of 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 experience 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.
Home is the feeling I get when I stand at the edge of the beach and the ocean’s waves engulf me. It's when I reach the top of a mountain and am amongst the clouds and everything below seems so minuscule. It's when I swim beneath a waterfall and I can feel the energy of the water that surrounds me.
In the past, I’ve looked for my home in people — whether that means 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 don’t dare presume that I could live without them.
They provide me with support, laughs, advice, conversation and someone with whom I could share my feelings and experiences. But, the problem with finding a home in relationships is that it is not stable because it’s not in your control.
A relationship is a choice that involves two people — people who are constantly growing, changing and acting in accordance with their own personal wants and needs. Therefore, they can’t be depended upon to fill the parts of my heart that yearn for stability. Ultimately, people are external factors in an unpredictable world.
For me, home exists in 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 like it, but the feeling of pure bliss that I get when I see a place with my own eyes that I have admired for years from pictures and books, 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 with whom I can share my newfound sense of home, but for the time being, I find solace in the thought that the world is my home and it knows no boundaries.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It