By definition, home is somewhere that an individual lives on a permanent basis. As a concept however, I think there is so much more to a home than this; I’m not sure home can be dictated purely by location and permanency- so many other factors impact on what makes a home and I think you can feel at home in more than just one place and in fact, have multiple homes.
England, and particularly Surrey for me, conjures the sense of home. It’s where I grew up and where my family are and so will always hold a special place in my heart. So many life changing decisions and momentous events happened there that it’s always somewhere I’ll enjoy returning to and reminiscing over. Learning to read, to ride my bike, going through schooling, finding out my likes and dislikes all happened from a tiny little village in Surrey that has shaped such a major part of me and who I am today. Spending my childhood and early adulthood there obviously makes it home to me, but there are other places since then that have felt like home in one way or another.
Leaving my first real home for university and moving to Bristol for 3 years was such an enormous life decision for me. I changed so much in my time there- growing in confidence, finding my feet and discovering who I was. Pulling into Bristol Temple Meads station feels like returning home, even though I and very few friends still live there now. The familiarity of the streets where I studied, the edgy coffee shops where I discovered my love for lattes and leafy green parks where I fell head over heels with a medic with the biggest, kindest heart, all make this place home to me.
Working in Maine, America during my university summers (see The American Series: Camp Life) also became a home to me. The familiarity of the camp I worked in- the people, the sunsets and entire setting felt homely and comforting even though it was so far removed from life in Surrey/Bristol. I made life long friendships there- choosing to work abroad was something completely out of my comfort zone that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do- but doing it proved to myself that really I could do anything that I set my mind to, something that’s stayed with me into my early career.
Finally, Scotland is slowly but surely becoming another home to me. I’m finding more and more out about myself and falling in love with both Scotland’s gorgeous cities and beautiful landscapes. The streets are becoming familiar and comforting to me and I’m once again finding my feet in a world that’s quite removed from Surrey and my life there.
There are other places that have a special meaning for me, including Northumberland and London and I’m sure there will be many more places in my lifetime that will feel like home. So for me, a home is a place that feels comforting, safe, familiar and a place that you love and to a degree, feel loved in. It’s the people and memories that really make a place a home and not something that can be dictated necessarily by permanency.