I spent much of my 20s asking myself that question.
I’ve lived in a lot of places over the years (I’ve moved a total of 23 times, four of which were to foreign countries) and I used to agonize over the fact that I had nowhere I felt I really, truly belonged. And when I say “I agonized”, I”m not kidding. I was super, DUPER angsty about it! If I was smart, I’d probably delete all the posts I wrote back in those dark days of 2009, but I sort of like looking back at old lost Reannon. She reminds me of how much I’ve changed since then…and she was pretty entertaining, too.
Anyway, I watched a TED Talk today by travel writer Pico Iyer, and something he said really struck a cord with me. He described how many global nomads take “pieces of many different places” and put them together to form a sense of home that is a “stained glass whole”. He then went on to explain:
“For more and more of us, home has really less to do with a piece of soil than, you could say, with a piece of soul.”
It was eerie hearing this because I’ve been thinking the same thing lately. I think the pressure we Gen Y-ers place on ourselves to find this one place to settle down in life limits things. Because home doesn’t have to be any one place if you don’t want it to be. Home can be a patchwork quilt of several different places.
“Home” to me, for example, is the beach in front of my childhood home in Hawaii, the eucalyptus forest behind my parents’ house in Northern California and the ramen shop near my old apartment in Tokyo. Home is the damp earth smell of the hiking trail that overlooks the cemetery in Sleepy Hollow and the whoosh of warm air right before the subway appears out of the darkened tunnel in Brooklyn. Home is my best friend’s laughter and cuddles with my dog and mother-daughter road trips in my mom’s cream-colored convertible. Home is being myself.
Home is the whole world.
What about you? Where (what, who) do you call home?
You can watch Pico Iyer’s TED talk in its entirety below.
Read more I wrote on the subject of home:
- How Do You Define ‘Home’ When You Live Out of a Suitcase?
- The ‘Cafe Apartment’ in Koenji is not Worth Writing Home About
- Last Train Home
- Home Again
- TED Talk about the Power of Introverts