Having returned from my adventures in the Far East, I am reflecting upon my travels...now less-far East, in my “home for now”: Helmand Province.
It’s funny how this can feel like home after being in “foreign” territory.
Wouldn’t you think Afghanistan is as foreign as it could get for an American? At what point did I embrace this as my home?
When I returned here, I knew where everything was located. Knew where to find the latrines and showers. They’re still all outdoors, by the way. I was hoping they’d found their way into the work buildings and living quarters while I was away.
The chow hall still has the same, smiling international staff. They recognize me, and I them.
The radio station is still small and humble and lets me go on-air to promote upcoming special events whenever I want. The British DJs and I have a hearty, on-air guffaw at our linguistic differences.
The smell of my clothes at the end of a long, dusty day was still the same. I don’t like it, but it’s familiar. It’s nothing out of the ordinary or different from the day-to-day I left behind when I embarked on my travels. That matters.
I think familiarity, above all else, is the key to feeling at home.
Even in relationships, a person can feel at home with another person because of a certain level of comfort and familiarity. That’s a whole other topic for another post though.
There are many studies available on temporariness, and mobility, and transient, military lifestyles. It has dawned on me that many of these studies very much apply to me. In fact, I could be a poster child for them. I have moved every 3 years, at least, for the past decade. My parents did not choose this for me. They let me grow up in the same home until I graduated and moved out. I chose this life, and I like it.
Within the settled period between each of my moves, I take vacations. It’s always exciting to be away, experiencing exotic locales and tasting new flavors…meeting new people and seeing new things.
Yet, there is still something to be said for coming home.
What I am now trying to determine is, at what point after I move somewhere new do I finally decide: I’m at home. I'm going to start tracking that. Do I simply have to go somewhere different and unfamiliar, allowing me to go back to the place I know...the place where my belongings reside...the place where my pillow smells like me?
I would love to hear your views of what home means. What makes you feel at home?
Have you moved a lot? Did you move as a child? Have you lived in the same place your whole life?
Thanks for your feedback.
Long day at work. I'm tired. I'm going home.