Tag Archives: home

Home Is: A Reprise

Depending on how you look at it, I am a person with many homes or with no home. Perhaps I am a person looking for a home, or perhaps I call “home” what is more accurately “place”. Is home where you are or is home how you feel?


Home is clearly more than house, but there are times when home is indeed also house. And there are times when home has no house. Home can be forest, mountain, water, and here, home is a feeling. Can the feeling also be a place? Can a place be a home?

If I have many homes, it is because home is people, not places. But not every place with people is a home, nor do all homes rely on people. Does bringing people to a place make it a home? Perhaps not, but the community that comes from the people can be a home.

If I have many homes, it is because home is a feeling, not a location. I can feel at home in different literal places when my heart can settle in a figurative place. To say that I feel at home with you means you and not where you happen to be. So I can feel at home with you within, despite, or regardless of the place.

Or do I have no home? I can be homeless without being houseless, a person who has a physical place but no sense of warmth, of love, of affection and affinity. If I have lost my connection to home, that means I have lost connection. And what does that mean for who I am? If connection comes from relating with others and the world around us, does losing home mean losing identity? And without identity, who am I?


Depending on how you look at it, I am a person with many homes or with no home. I am deeply rooted to something I cannot articulate but am never without, a sense of belonging to the trees and sky, mountains and ocean. I do not need to be out in the world to understand that, but I need to be out in the world to feel grounded in my own body. And at the same time, I seek to lose the body to become part of the world.

In this sense, I am at home in the world.

But to be home in the world does not mean being alone in it.

So home is people, not places. I do not need to know a place to feel belonging, but to know people. By this I mean the know that is tied up in care, the know that means I will share my delights and sorrows with you because, if I feel at home with you, I believe you want to know.

But home can also be found in places themselves, because to find a home is to connect with a soul. The soul of a place is a feeling and we feel places. This is how we choose where to wander and where to settle, where to explore and where to retreat. If we are able to see the soul of a place, perhaps we understand it in a way that allows us to call it a home.

In this sense, home merely is. Home exists. Home is there. Sometimes we are there, too, and sometimes home is waiting to be found.


It has been a long time since I’ve been home, and in the interim I’ve occupied many homes. Literal homes, figurative homes, shared homes, solitary homes.

Perhaps my preoccupation with home comes from a constant search for one, or perhaps from always knowing there is inherently more than one. Perhaps it’s less a preoccupation and more a vested interest, one that comes from life circumstances I never could have imagined but that, at the same time, were always lying dormant and waiting. Or maybe it’s a simple awareness of language. I cannot wait to go home, said when I am clearly at home. Welcome home, said when I coming from home.

It took years, I remember her saying, before I stopped referring to this city as home. And then I realized that my life was somewhere else and that that was my home.

This is undoubtedly logical. But if this is the case, how can I say I’m going home? And how can I then be welcomed home to multiple places?

And so I search further. I search from the security of a place that I call home, a place made up of people who hold, care, and love, and who know that it is not the search that is important, but the discoveries that are part of searching.

And I search because I like to ask questions and I like to find answers. I am curious when I am safe, and I am safe when I am home.

Schalkau, Germany – September 2021

Homesick

is not a word that I use. It is not a word that I like because it connotes being taken over by something – this is, after all, what happens when we are sick. It is one thing to miss my family, which is the case every single day, but this is an emotion like love. It’s beautiful to notice because it means they matter to me. Missing my family is a deep sensation, one that I feel through my whole body, but one that comes in waves.

However, it seems that to be homesick is beyond what I feel. It is what I am, and it is consuming.

I settled on this word because I could not otherwise describe how I felt after a perfectly normal, pleasantly busy day over the weekend. Out of nowhere came the sense that a physical space was suddenly empty, as though it had been full of energy mere minutes before and something was now gone. In that empty space came the feeling that anything I tried to do, and I tried a number of things, had a missing piece that had not previously been missing.

Writing these words brings to mind when I was a child and I used to have a hard time during our one-night sleepover at camp. By the second or third year, we figured out that as long as I “didn’t plan to stay” and my dad had to bring my bag or pillow, I would be alright. I just needed a hug. When I was little, my dad could put my whole world back together when it seemed to fall apart.

Both age and life experience assure me that my world has not fallen apart. Quite the contrary, in fact. Rather, it seems like the larger world has moved on while my world is floating aimlessly, looking for somewhere to land. There is a fist over my heart and it is keeping me awake at night, which makes it difficult to focus during the day. I am exhausted when I get home and time ticks by more slowly than usual. Homesick. What else might I call it?

And just like being physically ill, this will pass. It will settle. Have some tea, take some time, and life in general will move on. Homesickness will quiet into its usual state, that of missing, and the world will fit itself back together.

Until then, let this be a visceral, bodily reminder that the people in my world are what make it go round.

Punakaiki, South Island, New Zealand – December 2018

Home Is

Home is people, not places. Home is joy and laughter and learning and love. In our homes we hold and care for one another, explore the world hand in hand, lift each other up. We can cry together because it means we can grow. We want to understand those around us and we work together to do whatever it is, whatever it takes.

When we’ve made a home, things matter. We, the human beings, matter. You, me, them, all of us, a family.

Home is an idea more than a physical environment. Home is together in security and in friendship. Friends are not born, they are made, and in homes we make choices. We can walk side by side, we can chase one another with glee. We can play. Look at the sunset, look at the trees. Feel the sand, the grass. What a world we can choose to build. What homes we can make.

Homes with an s.

And so they are, by necessity, but also because we dare. Because our hearts and minds grow larger as we live, and our connections to people near and far grow with time. When we are willing to live, to love, to be with others, we find homes. And in living, loving, being we share. We share hopes, dreams, anger, despair. For we are, all of us, mere travellers on this earth.

The idea of home is intrinsically tied with nature. Throughout history, we have navigated by stars, moss on trees, rock formations, sunlight, shadows, wind. Across time and space, people gather around the hearth. We find warmth and conversation around the fire, connection with others, connection with food. Where there is water, there are animals. With animals come people. People plant crops. Shelters are built. More people come. We create communities and in those communities, we make homes.

When all else fails us, the world itself is left.

Yet sometimes, we grow weary. We lose our way. We forget the signs or we search and search and can’t find them. And so we wander, wander in ceaseless patterns that we only recognize once we lie down to rest our minds. We stretch out our hands, pleading, but there’s no one around who sees us.

Yes, sometimes we work and work and are lost. I am searching but I can’t find you. Listening but I can’t hear you.

Breathe. And then.

In the morning, the fog clears. The mist lifts from the endless road, the path, the journey, the adventure. And isn’t it just?

There are mountains in the distance. They sing.

Welcome home.

Doi Inthanon National Park – Chiang Mai, Thailand – January 2018