What’s the definition of home?
It sounds simple doesn’t it but I’m not sure that it is. I was born in Liverpool, England, Helen was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. We both moved to Canada with our families. Helen at the young age of 4 and myself at 13. Years later we met in Saskatchewan in 1991 and since then have spent our last 23 years living our adult lives together in Calgary, Alberta. Also, we’ve spent many months in Thailand since our honeymoon in 2000. Therefore it would seem that home should probably be one of these places right?
While the places I’ve lived have had a huge impact on my life they don’t define my home. For me, it isn’t a result of being born in the UK, of spending most of my life in Canada or of dreaming of living in Thailand. I’ve spent many a day relaxing on a beach thinking about traveling and how much I enjoy it. So over the years I’ve come to realize that home isn’t defined by where my “stuff” is, or most of our friends and family are. It’s wherever my partner in crime, Helen and I are at any given time . And no, I haven’t done something bad causing me to look for brownie points (that I’m aware of…).
Does our answer change?
When I was younger I’m sure I would have given another answer. As my address changed over the years I probably would have said “Liverpool”, “Toronto”, “Regina” or “Calgary”. This was not because I felt any differently about myself or Helen. Honest! Rather I believe our upbringing causes us to think this way. We are typically raised to think materialistically and tribally. So it makes sense that most of us define home by where all our possessions are and/or where our friends and family live. The more you travel, especially to places were people don’t have much, you realize it’s not about the stuff but about the experiences and the people you have them with. You also realize that we all have a lot in common no matter where you go and that a supportive family and true friends will always be there.
Here’s a great TED talk by professional traveler and writer Pico Iyer where he gives his definition of home.