no place like home?
I’m jumping right back into blogging after being AWOL. I didn’t mean to do it and then I saw the daily prompt and I just knew I had to… It asks: If you had the opportunity to live a nomadic life, traveling from place to place, would you do it? Do you need a home base? What makes a place “home” to you?
Before I write another word, I just HAVE to include this:
I love that song, don’t you? Such a carefree summer sound! And while I think it’s charming and lovely and romantic, I don’t think that “home is wherever I’m with you”, although I can’t say if it wouldn’t be if I had a “you” to be home with. I doubt it… Different topic. Moving on.
As those of you who have stuck around here for a while may remember, I’m living in my childhood home at the moment. With my parents. I’m thirty-one. Yes, it’s very sad. It’s 100% due to financial reasons and that’s all there is to say about that part of it. The thing is, however, that while I don’t appreciate moving back in with my parents while my younger siblings are out there forging their ways in the world, I don’t appreciate being “back home” for a lot more reasons – the biggest is that I’ve never felt at home here.
Don’t get me wrong – I love our house, I love the garden, I don’t have anything against the neighbourhood and the surrounding nature is beautiful and only one street away, but I never felt like I had roots here. My family does. On the maternal side. They’ve been living, if not in this town, at least in this valley, for several generations.
Growing up here, I always wanted to be away. I had the worst case imaginable of that teenage disease called everybody’s-somewhere-having-fun-without-me-and-I’m-stuck-in-this-hole. I compensated with reading. A lot. Incessantly. Reading was my ticket out, into the world, into the lives of other people, into fantasy. And towards the end of school, all I could think of was travelling. I read travel guides, travel literature and pored over maps. Freedom! that’s what I wanted. Don’t ask me what I meant by that. I still don’t know for sure.
After more than a decade of travelling, studying, living in different towns and in different places in those towns and then travelling some more and then studying some more, I’m stranded back at my parents’ place. I have been for over a year now. I’m sort of okay with being in the house. I’m not really okay with being in town. I always feel uncomfortable meeting acquaintances in town. I feel like telling them: “I’m only here because I failed, it’s not a choice!”
Does that make me arrogant? Probably. Maybe.
So if I don’t feel like this is my home, then what is “home” to me? Maybe Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are right, because in some way it’s definitely tied up with my family. But I also have this talent, and for that I’m just eternally grateful and feel like I’m the luckiest girl imaginable, and that is that I can feel home almost anywhere. I just need a little corner where I can have a plant or two, put my favourite postcards on the wall and light a candle and where I have the freedom to come and go as I please. That’s all it needs. The other option is to be with friends or with hosts of any other kind. I never need the invitation “please, make yourself at home” – I always do, anyway. And no, that does not mean that I will put my feet on your table or start fights if you invite me over. What it means is that when I’m thirsty, I won’t wait for you to offer me something to drink – I’ll go and get myself a glass of water. And if I don’t know where the glasses are, I’ll open one kitchen cabinet after another until I find one. I make myself part of the family. And there we go again, it’s to do with family. Whether that’s blood relations or friends or people I’ve just met who are kind and hospitable – it doesn’t matter. It’s all family. It’s all home.
To answer the question, yes, I would adore a nomadic life. Although I would like to have a home base. Or four. Just places that are my own, where I can stash my books (but nothing much else, please), but that I’d be able to leave for months on end. That’s my dream, actually.
And as for my home town... After more than a year of living here as an adult, I’ve started, a while back, to be okay with it. To accept that I have roots here, even if I don’t feel them very strongly. I’ve sort of become interested in the history of the place. I still don’t like meeting acquaintances in town and being seen by them, but I don’t feel the need to rush around and tell everyone that I’m supposed to be somewhere else anymore.
Although of course I am. (No, no, mustn’t say that, mustn’t say that…)
So what do we learn from that, kids? Sometimes you have to be forced to look your past in the face before you can move on.
Or something like that.
P.S. And because I’m really consequent in my actions, I’m going down to the park now with my Mum to take part in the annual light festival, where at least half the town will be gathered to enjoy the summer evening with lots of alcohol and pretty candles. You’ll get some photos tomorrow. And if we meet any acquaintances, I’ll just have to grit my teeth and smile.