Most of you know that I’ve moved quite a few times in my life—three different countries, one summer in a fourth country, and two different states in the U.S. (not to mention countless apartments and homes within each locale). I don’t love moving, not at all, but I do have a knack of how to do it, and I know what to expect upon settling in a new place.
There’s a predictable rhythm for me that goes something like this: initial excitement at the new location, a few months of finding my routine, followed by a low valley of the blues for a few months, wondering why on earth we made this huge mistake. (This often happens in winter for me.)
I’ll then eventually unearth from the ashes, usually after finding my bearings (no longer needing the GPS for basic household errands), and I’ll start finding small ways to make the place feel a little bit like home. After about two years, this new locale starts feeling a wee bit like it could, maybe, sorta be home.
And for me, I know the one ingredient essential to making a new dot on the map actually feel like home, where I’m not just visiting, living out of my suitcase and waiting for the next big thing…
Once I start making friends—actual friends, people I feel like I could call for a coffee date or happy hour and it not be weird—then I start liking a place. Until then? You could have all the primo restaurants and stellar weather or gorgeous scenery, but if I don’t feel like I have friends, have community, then for me, it’s just a nice place to visit.
So Kyle and I were discussing the age-old question we often revisit, and I thought it’d be fun to ask you guys today. I’d love to discuss this in the comments with you:
We often make the statement that we wish we could pick up our community of friends and family in Austin, and have them magically transplanted to our small town of Bend, Oregon. Or sometimes we wish we could dig up the entire city of Austin, and have it relocated a few degrees north (we usually say this from about May to October—not during the winter, naturally).
What we’re getting at is that we often enjoy the place where we live, but we wish we could share it with the people we love. Or, that we wish we could enjoy a particular place without any of its negative qualities.
So I thought I’d ask you this: What defines home for you? Is it the people that live around you? Or is it the actual place? Could you live anywhere on earth, so long as you had the people you love by your side, or do you need a specific sort of geography for a place to feel like home?
There’s no right or wrong answer, of course, but I’d love to hear your take on this. When it comes to home, does it matter more that it’s the right sort of place, or that you’re near the right sort of people?