Where’s Home?

When you think of home, what do you think about?

Is it a town? A city? A building?

Is it being in the same place with your significant other?

Or is it a state of mind?

The melting ice of Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories.

Do you have to leave it in order to recognise it? To know that it’s home and it’s where you belong?

I left “home” many years ago. So many places have now been “home” that I don’t really think of it any more as a place.

You can’t go home again. That is the title of a novel by Thomas Wolfe. In it, the idea of home is explored, but there are no definitive answers.

Once you leave home, does home become a construct? Is it an illusion? A sentiment? If what you experienced as home still exists, is it the same? Or was it ever what you thought it was?

I think of home as a place in my head. I don’t always recognise it, but I know it when I feel it. The land where I now spend my working life is a type of home, but I also know that it isn’t home.

Some people can’t wait to get back home. They will only leave it temporarily, if they do at all.

I couldn’t wait to leave home. I wanted nothing to do with it and got as far away from it as I could, both physically and emotionally. I had to find my own concept of home, and did so by exploring the homes of many others. I travelled a lot, both throughout Canada and the world.

And what I found was that the idea of home held a great number of commonalities across ethnicities, countries, religions and regions. It was often about a familiar group of people doing familiar things in an environment that, for the most part, held few surprises, even if there was a war going on. In fact, the notion of emphasising their familiarities was even more pronounced if there WAS a war going on.

So, maybe home is about expectations. We expect certain people to be doing certain things in certain ways in a certain environment. When all about us moves and changes, this idea of home provides a great deal of – well – certainty.

I once took a course that taught that expectations are inherently disappointing. That if you expect something, and then don’t get it as so often happens, you are causing a lot of trouble for yourself.

Maybe that’s why you can’t go home again. Expectations are never what they are in your head.

Now it’s your turn. What are your thoughts about home?


30 thoughts on “Where’s Home?”

  1. I find a home in my own heart on those day I open up to embrace the way I feel. But I can also find a home with others when we connect. There is also a home you feel in nature as well as the one at home for me when its eary evening and Im in my element wriiting and cooking dinner. ❀

    1. Yes – I think there are many homes and it depends (for me, anyway) on the feelings that come up – home has to feel right, otherwise it’s just a building for eating, sleeping and showering.

      Thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts. πŸ™‚

  2. That was really beautiful. The part about war and the end about expectations, really interesting. My first ever post was titled ‘Home’, touching on what home means, I wrote ‘Not always a roof. Always a feeling.’ I’m very much in the camp of ‘Home is where the heart is’. And as you say, often that can mean a person rather than a location.

    1. Thank you. πŸ™‚

      I agree completely and love how you put that – “not always a roof. Always a feeling.” My M and I feel that way – that wherever we are together, we’re home. πŸ™‚

  3. I think home is a state of being….where you feel comfortable coming back to…I work away from my home country…but it’s funny because when I go on leave and travel back home I get apprehensive yet the same happens on my return back to work….I do settle back eventually. I miss those who are dear to me and especially connected to but am in a way disconnected because things and life change with distance….not sure I’m making sense here….

    1. I think I get what you mean. Where I work is 2000 km away from where my “home” is, and I can feel apprehensive going to and coming back from. It’s that reintegration bit. I felt like that when I was in the military and again when I lived in Europe. The connected/disconnected – sort there but not. Everyone goes on with their lives and you haven’t been a part of it but these are the people you’re closest to. It’s a sort of odd not-place to be.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. πŸ™‚

  4. When I first arrived on a kibbutz, we had very basic huts with a filthy mattress. I looked at it in horror. Then I saw the hut nrxt door. It hsd been made to seem cosy and inviting. This had taught me, you can make just about anywhere feel like home. However I am very homesick at the moment for my country of origin. I feel especially homesick when something bad happens in the UK. I wanted to be with my fellow countrymen and women when Manchester and London were attacked. I don’t know what I thought I could do.

    1. Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚ Very good point. We can make home be whatever or wherever we want it to be. Going to other countries really helps us to learn that.

      There’s something comforting about one’s country of origin that many people just can’t replace, it seems. It’s like it’s hardwired into our brains from birth. For all the wandering I’ve done, coming back to Canada provides a sort of sense of well-being – I can rely on knowing “how things work.” πŸ™‚

  5. Wow, I’ve always wondered about the true nature of β€˜home’. This post raises questions we’ve pondered upon at some point in our lives. For me, home has always been a place where I can live and work freely, surrounded by a couple of warm and understanding friends/collegues. After a prolonged stay at a certain country, I’ve found it rather difficult to go back to my old ways and lifestyle. If I’ve loved staying at a place, it becomes a part of me- hard to brush it off by a mere change of landscape.

    1. I think it might be related to brain plasticity. Some people can’t leave home for very long and are quite unhappy if they do. Others can take on new environments quite readily. It usually hasn’t taken me long to get the hang of a place and like you, I start become a part of it, in a way. I don’t have much of an issue going somewhere else, though.

  6. home i where you hang your hat.Having said that,there are some homes more welcoming than others! Nature is where we all came from,so it is a common home to all of us even if many do not embrace it.

    1. So many people have lost touch with nature and really are quite scared of it or even terrified. It IS our first home, our original home. If more people were familiar with it, it might not be in so much danger from us.

  7. HI, Lynette – Thank you for this thought-provoking post. As a Canadian who lived in Beijing, China for fourteen years, I often (simultaneously) referred to my house in Beijing as home, and my parent’s house as home. I believe that we can have more than one home β€” even at the same time!

    1. Thank you! πŸ™‚

      I think so too! My “house” is in the Okanagan Valley, but it’s also a home. I feel like home there. I also feel like home with a couple of dear friends of mine who live in Alberta. For me, home really is a feeling, although that feeling can coincide with a place. πŸ™‚

      1. Hi, Lynette – This corner of the blogosphere always reminds me of what a small world it really is. My husband grew up in the Okanagan (Kelowna) and my parents, and his siblings, still live there — so we visit often!

        1. Yes – I saw in your post that you are planning to come to the Okanagan. It is a small world in so many ways – and the Okanagan is a wonderful chunk of it. Enjoy your next visit (hopefully no fires). πŸ™‚

  8. Well, this is a deep one and right up my alley. Forgive me if this gets long. I have two points to make. 1) About expectations, after going to support groups and therapy to help me navigate two dysfunctional families, I learned that expectations of people will definitely let one down. However, expectations for ourselves to reach goals are good, even if we don’t reach them, because failure is a teacher to try something different. That said, I no longer have high expectations of other people. I do expect them to show up when I’ve set a date with someone, but that’s about as high as my expectations go, because we all know, they can even let us down to make a scheduled appointment.

    2) For me, home is where I feel like my piece of the puzzle finishes off the picture. I explained in a blog post once that when I lived in Florida, I felt like a door ajar. The door could close but it couldn’t seal. Since I moved back to where I grew up, I feel completely comfortable, at home in this puzzle picture. Have things changed after 27 years away? Absolutely. There were things I found that disappointed me, but it didn’t shake that feeling of fitting. I fit here, and I’m so happy to be back. I hope to write and publish a novel about a coming home story in the future.

    I’m not one for travel, but I enjoy living through others. I’d love to read some of your adventures in travel.

    1. I am finally getting to your comment; I’ve been tired lately (very busy at work) and looking forward to a holiday in about three weeks, so I have some brain fatigue going on.
      1) Right? I agree about having expectations for yourself. If you don’t, everything is just a dream and nothing is ever attempted, let alone achieved. I expect people to show up as well, but sometimes that doesn’t happen either.
      2) Yes, you have often commented or written about returning home. I think that for me, the whole notion of “home” was really affected by my narcissistic parent. I just wanted to get away, and the notion of “home” was something I had to learn. As a young adult, I didn’t really get why people were so attached. I’ve come to understand better the feelings you express in your “My Puzzle Piece” post and even have experienced some of that myself. πŸ™‚
      I have thought about doing some posts on my travels. I haven’t quite figured out how to do that – what to write about, what order, etc – yet. πŸ™‚

  9. Isn’t all this interesting? My alternative friend once told me people tend to head towards their place of birth eventually. I also discovered some weird stuff through family history. For example an Australian cousin of my ex wound up living for year in the very place in the UK that was where his ancestors were from. He had also inadvertantly met and married a Polish girl, also close to where another set of his ancestors were from. He had known nothing of the family history at the time. I sometimes wonder if we are a bit like salmon, we eventually head back to our place of origin, even if it takes us several generations.

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