“So where are you heading on your next travels?” someone at work recently asked me.
“Home,” I said.
“And where is exactly is your home?” they replied
“Good question!” I answered.
It’s a funny old thing that notion of home isn’t it.
Something my forthcoming trip back to the UK has really got me thinking about.
After all, when I’m in Australia, the idea that I’m going home means I’m going back to the UK.
To the place where my family live, where I grew up, where my school and university friends are.
Yet when I’m in the UK, I also use the phrase “I’m going home” to talk about my return to Australia.
The place where I’ve lived for the last 4 years, where my job is, my partner is and my stuff is!
So, which one is really my home?
Well, I guess they both are.
Yes both Australia and the UK are my home in different ways.
If we’re talking about home in terms of what our passports say and where our family come from, then my home is the UK.
But if we’re talking about home in terms of where we live and work and have the majority of our possessions, then my home is Australia.
After all, who said we’re only allowed to call one place home?
Yes I’m wondering just who made up the rule that home can only mean one place and place only?
And, more to the point, who said we have to follow this rule?!
If you’re ever travelled, lived away from home, worked away or been an expat, then likely you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Exactly that sense of feeling connected to more than one place, of having more than one home.
And so why shouldn’t be able to have more than home, more than one country or location we feel rooted to or where we want to return to?
If home is where the heart is then why limit our hearts to just one destination?
If you ask me we should be able to have as many homes as we like, just as we can have as many friends or as many dreams as we care to.
I see no need to cut ourselves away from certain places, to rob them of the “home” label if we don’t want to.
When I was living in Central America for example, I remember feeling like I had 3 homes in fact – the tiny island off the coast of Nicaragua where I’d been living for a year, my room in London where I still had stuff stored and planned, at some point, to return to and the Channel Island of Jersey where I’d grown up and lived for the first 18 years of my life.
Yes, I felt like I could call 3 places home at that time in my life.
And I felt very lucky for it too.
In saying that, there’s no point in denying that having multiple homes can have its downsides too?
In particular, the sense of confusion it can create and the questions it can raise about “Where do I really belong?” are common.
Sometimes, instead of belonging in multiple places, multiple homes, it may feel like we actually don’t belong anywhere.
Ironically, having lots of choices over where to call home, can leave us with the feeling we don’t have one at all.
And just like someone lost at sea, this can be a surprisingly lonely place to find ourselves.
In these instances, it’s important to root down as much you can where you are, and to try and build bridges between those different worlds, those different homes, so that they don’t feel so separate anymore.
Yet for all it’s possible downfalls, having multiple places to call home, does come with a wealth of positives too.
Firstly it can give us flexibility in our lives, in our work and in our direction.
It can also give us the opportunity and the incredible ability to interact with a huge number of people and places that might be very different to where we’ve come from.
In turn, this can help us grow in all sorts of ways, not least in our appreciation of where it is that we have come from.
After all, I don’t think I’ve ever realised quite how great the UK is until I lived in Australia and I expect I’ll never quite realise how great Australia is until my visit back to the UK!
So here’s to having 2 homes and belonging in both!
I certainly wouldn’t have it any other way!
Do let me know if you’ve got multiple home syndrome too and how it makes you feel? Lucky or confused? I’d love to hear more …
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