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Where is Home? (A Philosophical Approach)

By Sara | May 5, 2016

One of the many reasons that traveling the world is amazing is that we get to meet people from all walks of life. Every interaction is unique, but in each conversation we are eventually asked “where is home?” We can usually dodge the question by saying “United States” or “California,” but answering any more specifically is a challenge.

Right now we are in London, a week ago we were in Paris, everything we own is in a storage unit in California, and our mailing address is in Wisconsin. As you can probably imagine, home is difficult to define right now.

After sitting at our AirBnB dining room table debating where our home was, we threw the question out to our friends and family on Facebook and got some great responses.

Both of my apartments in WI and MN that I lived in for a year I never called home. I always called them “the apartment.” I think it was because I knew they were temporary. Now in CO we own a condo and I will call it home because it is more permanent, even though we may move back to AZ someday where we grew up, and now that I am married I live with my husband instead of alone or with roommates. However, I still also call my childhood home in AZ “home.” So what I get out of this is that there needs to be some sort of permanency, living with or close to family/friends, and a place where precious memories have been made and will continue to be made. Even if all of my family moved away from AZ, I think I would always call it home. Just things to think about…
-Facebook Follower

Home is a feeling at this age. It may be where you’ve moves all your things or where you pay to live, but home is somewhere, hopefully with others, where you feel accepted and most comfortable. It’s somewhere you take refuge.

-Facebook Follower

Home is where my wife stores her Ikea purchases

-Facebook Follower

Home is a fluid concept. It is where happy memories are made, and that change as life changes. Home is about gathering places of loved ones. It’s all about the company you keep, and where people you love gather.

-Facebook Follower

The real “home” is the place where you feel good. The tricky part is that it isn’t always a physical place… It can be every steps of your trip across the world 🙂

-Facebook Follower

c.s. Lewis said we were made for another world. home is not getting attached to temporary places. But finding a eternal place to dwell. <3

-Facebook Follower

A place with memory and a place you have spent a lot of time. I spent a lot of time in Texas growing up. And sure I “lived” in Wisconsin but Texas always felt like home. I felt relaxed and at ease. Felt like that’s where o was suppose to be

-Facebook Follower

Home is where you feel safest, where you feel at ease and with people you love 🙂 hope you guys are well!

-Facebook Follower

My home is earth.

-Facebook Follower

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The overwhelming consensus was that the definition of home has three main components: belonging, longevity, and safety.


Belonging:

The first thing required to feel at home is having a sense of belonging. This can include feeling comfortable enough to be your true self, wear what you’d like, come and go as you please, and feel accepted by those around you.

Safety:

The next requirement of a home is having a sense of safety. Living in an environment of both physical and emotional safety is crucial to calling a place home. A house doesn’t make a home all by itself, but having a sense of safety helps begin to transform that.

Longevity:

The last requirement of home is a sense of longevity, or the feeling of home being continuous and always ‘there’. It is important to note that this is relative per person. For instance, while traveling the world Greg often refers to the AirBnB’s or hostels we stay in as home while Sara does not. The sense of longevity varies person to person, and plays a big factor in determining where home is.


Through many discussions and inputs, we’ve come to the conclusion that home isn’t just where your family is, but it’s also a base, a safe house, a network of people, and a place you can always return to. When any of those things are no longer present or become difficult to define, the “where is home” debate opens.

In the last 5 months we’ve been to 8 countries and 30 different cities, and while we’re having the time of our lives there are moments where we miss our California home. We miss things like walking into an apartment furnished with our own things, cooking meals with actual ingredients from our neighborhood grocery store and hosting monthly wine and cheese parties. We miss having girls nights to watch the new season of the Bachelor while the guys play the latest zombie game. The reality is, when you leave everything behind to travel, home changes.

Extended travel is one of the hardest journeys we’ve embarked on, but the reward is so worth it. Travel will change you, it will make you sick, it will push you into situations that are foreign and unique, and you’ll probably emerge a different person than who you started as.

But travel will also help you grow, help you learn, increase your compassion, and teach you so much about the world that just can’t be understood through news or textbooks. We miss having a constant home, and we know that we’ll make another one someday. When we do, it will be the most cherished and valuable thing in our lives. But for now, the road still calls stronger than having the feeling of home, so we’ll travel on.