Where is Home?

 One year ago, a dear friend of mine changed her life completely by leaving her home and work in Manchester and moving to a finca in the Spanish countryside, where she now lives simply, tending her land and beloved animals. I recently went to stay with her for a while and was delighted to see how happy she is with the change. She has found her home, both physically and spiritually.

But when so many people have no choice or are forced to live as refugees, we recognise that it is a privilege to be able to choose where we live, not something we should take for granted and, with this in mind, I have raised the question with some of my friends, “Where is home?” The answers vary considerably.

Some people consider home to be no more than a physical structure, a door to lock, a static and stable environment, a utility.  There are those who use the word ‘property’, which smacks of financial assets. They talk of owning their home and go to great lengths to describe its contents.

Yes, home can be all of these things, but most of my pals’ answers included an element of spiritual or emotional connotations. They described home as a place where they feel balance and a connection with the earth and the people around them.  A home in which to find acceptance and belonging inside and outside a property.  A place in which to thrive

“Home is the place that, when you have to go there, they have to take you in” (Robert Frost)

One of my friends has lived in her house for 45 years and can’t imagine ever living anywhere else. She talks about the countryside setting being very important to her and she has a great appreciation of and gratitude for the things she sees, hears, smells and feels every day.

Another friend, whose parents moved around a lot, was sent to boarding school. He found that his childhood homes, wherever they were, didn’t mean much to him and he felt disconnected from them. Consequently, when he had children of his own, he was keen to provide a stable home and the opportunity to become part of a community by raising them in one place. 

And my wise friend, Peter, reminded me that home is here and now, right where we are planted in this every moment – “to seek is not to find” (Rumi).

As for me, I love my new home in Plymouth, a city facing the sea and surrounded by countryside, where my partner and I have made new friends and found joy in the location.  I have loved previous homes just as dearly because I have always been conscious that, for me, home is not only where we hang our hat but also where we find our heart.

And if you like a good TED talk check out Pico Iyer’s  Where is home? | TED Talk