Home (noun)- the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.
Where is Home?
They say “Home is where the heart is.” Growing up, the concept of home never required a second thought. I lived in the same house all of my life. It was 18 years of stability in a quaint, small town in Pennsylvania. As someone who has done her fair share of traveling since then, home has become a fickle thing. In my life so far, home has been Pennsylvania; Tampa, Florida; Florence, Italy; and Melbourne, Australia.
College & “Home”
When college came around, it all changed. I was leaving for USF, and my concept of home was about to get a whole lot blurrier. Although I spent 75% of my time at school, Pennsylvania was still a lingering presence in my life, at least at first. As time passed and my visits became more sparse, Pennsylvania still qualified as “home” but lost all of its emotional fervor. Tampa was becoming my new home, but there was a catch.
In my four years of college, I had four different apartments. “Home” became more than just my apartment that year; USF was my home. Even then, it still felt only temporary. In the back of my mind, I knew that like college, my home in Tampa was only fleeting.
Much to my surprise, I ended up in Tampa for another two years after I graduated. I moved into a new apartment with my boyfriend and yellow lab. Was Tampa now my only home? It didn’t quite feel like it. I knew my days in Tampa were still numbered. I was simply stuck in limbo waiting for my boyfriend to graduate before I was off to a new city. Tampa was just a temporary home.
A Home Abroad
While in college, I spent a summer studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Although I was a whole ocean away from both Tampa and Pennsylvania, Florence started to feel a little bit like home. When I would travel to other places on the weekend, I was always happy to be back “home” in Florence come Monday. Perhaps it was because my other homes were so far away. Maybe it was because I loved the new foreign city. Or possibly Italy felt like home because it is the land of my ancestors. Whatever the reason, Florence felt like home if only for a few weeks.
A few years later, I found home in a foreign land again. I traveled half way across the world to spend a few months in Melbourne, Australia. My living arrangement may have sucked and I may have been on my own, but the World’s Most Livable City quickly felt like home. Was it because I was so far away from any other home I had ever known? Was it the high from traveling alone for the first time? Was it the fact that I had some long-lost relatives there? I knew it was fleeting, but Melbourne was home.
So why was it that in lands so far away I was quick to feel right at home? Since first leaving for college, I have felt a bit like a wandering nomad. Ironically, my two brief journeys abroad have felt most like home since leaving my childhood house. Home has become a fluid concept that follows my wandering heart. I can’t wait to see where else I may feel at “home.”