I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of home, and I guess that I had a kind of epiphany.
Let’s set the scene, shall we? It’s about half past 6 in the evening and I’m on a bus on the way back from Prague to Dresden. I’m returning from a wonderful couple of days with friends old and new, and I’m surrounded on this bus by people of all ages and types, knowing nothing about any of them apart from the fact that they too are travelling. Also, the sun is setting quite spectacularly and if that’s not the backdrop for a grand revelation, then I don’t know what it is.
For me, my home had always been home until I moved to university and suddenly I found myself with two homes; one with the family I had been given, and one with the family I had chosen. That had always felt a little strange for me. Good, but strange. So imagine my disconcertion when I found quite suddenly that the random city I had chosen to go to in Germany, with the random family that I had found on the internet, suddenly and utterly became home too. And then that in each city and place I was travelling to, I started to picture myself living there, envisioning myself at home. The things that I could never have even imagined all at once started becoming normal, and feeling at home was making me feel lost.
I guess that I became then a little disillusioned with the whole concept of this word home, struggling to understand, after all of this, exactly where I should be (and who and what, but we’ll save those particular existential crises for another time). I’m 22 years old and I understand that this feeling is entirely normal. I mean, I’m stuck somewhere between childhood and adulthood, education and the real world, the people and places who mean the most to me. That’s bound to cause some confusion, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
So back to the bus and back to the epiphany. As I sat there, mulling over my past few days, weeks, years – my entire life for heaven’s sake – I realised. Home is not a place, nor a person. It’s not a thing or a something I can exactly locate or pinpoint; it’s a feeling, and it’s one I’ve felt all over the world. And then something really obvious, but important, struck me. And that was that the one thing in common with all of this was me. I was the one feeling this, and I was the one allowing myself to feel it.
I’ve had this locket for years, refusing pretty much to take it off since my grandmother gave it to me. But it’s always been empty and I’ve always vaguely wondered what I could fill it with. And so, like that, I knew what I wanted to put in it. Upon arrival back to my the UK, I did just that.
I like that it reminds me of what I’ve discovered and I like that it inspires me to travel some more, to find home in other new places.
Most importantly, I like that I finally realised that I’m carrying home with me wherever I go.