Is home a place where you can leave your belonging’s, is it the kind of people that are around you or is it instead something inside of you? What is home for you, when you are travelling for a long period of time and the people you relate to are spread all over the world?
With these questions in my head, I organised last weeks’ second city campfire meeting. A regular meeting in Amsterdam, where travellers and adventurers come together to keep our travel spirit alive and discuss about different travel topics. (For upcoming events check the Meetup & Facebook page!)
We discussed about the different interpretations of the word and meaning of home. I drew up some conclusions.
1) A place
When home is a place; it is somewhere you can be yourself. Where you feel comfortable and have good memories. Your parent’s house can be your home, because it’s where your family is. A certain place (like ‘’Sundsvall’’ or ‘’That farm in Turkey’’) can be a home too, because of the memories you have from that place and the good times you spend there.
Your own apartment, room, etc. can also be your home, because it is where all your stuff is and that is what makes it ‘yours’. There is a difference between having a ‘house’ or a ‘place’ and having a home. As we are all travellers many places we have lived or stayed in were temporary from the beginning. They felt like temporary homes.
2) Being around people that share your values
When the people around you and the community you stay in are your home, it is about a connection with people that share the same values. It is about being accepted by the people around you. A community or a group of people that create a sense of belonging. It is about the social circles we move in and finding people, that we create and grow connections with. When you found ‘your tribe’, that’s where you feel at home.
We should, however, be careful with only hanging around ‘our tribe’ and the people we feel comfortable with. It creates a ‘filter bubble’, which means you will only be exposed to the things you like and are interested in. You don’t realise this parallel world going on around you where people are living next to you with completely different values, interests and ways of living. Google and Facebook are helping with this by showing search results and suggested pages based on your previous online behaviour. When emerging completely into a certain social circle, we tend to forget about people who are not in there. I really like the sentence I read in a Dutch online newspaper about the bucket-bike green smoothie drinking groenlinkser (voter for the green party) who does know the local refugees, but none of the people voting for the extreme right party.
Its one of the reasons I like hitchhiking, because it brings you in contact with different layers of society. You are forcing yourself to be placed out of your comfort zone and it provides the opportunity of talking to people from other social circles.
3) A feeling within me
When you are backpacking and constantly changing place, there is no place or community to be called home. People often ask ‘where are you from’, assuming that is where your home is. A place you have, where your stuff is and where your family and friends are. For travellers, this place can be everywhere. Friends made on the road are scattered all around the world. Even though traveling teaches us how to connect with people we meet more easily, it is not always easy finding people that share your worldview.
It depends a lot on which state of mind you are in. Feeling somewhere ‘at home’ is about being able to be yourself and feel confident everywhere you go. Home is therefore an ever-extending concept, depending on how you yourself are evolving and growing.
When home is a feeling inside yourself, it is the couchsurfers’ couch you are staying at for the night. It is this cosy café around the corner of your next hitchhiking destination. The piece of grass you are pitching your tent on. A conversation with someone you just met. It is wherever you just placed down your backpack. But most of all, it is wherever you are.
Where is home for you?
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