Home is where, when you cross its threshold, you finally feel at peace.
– Dennis Lehane
One of the hardest questions for me to answer is “Where are you from?” Or maybe the variation of this: “Where’s home for you?”
The longest consecutive time I have spent in any one house was in a small rented cottage in England. I spent my first years of marriage there and my first child was born while we lived there. But it wouldn’t be the first place that comes to mind when I think of home.
I was born in Saskatchewan, Canada. I spent my first and last years of school as well as University there. Saskatchewan kind of feels like home, but not fully. And if someone met me and heard me speak they would not likely guess I was from there.
I spent many of my formative growing up years in Afghanistan. I have many fond memories of time in this country. Every time I return I feel a joy and sense of familiarity. Yet I am not an Afghan and it is not my country.
When I picture “home” in my mind’s eye I see a series of snapshots, moments from my childhood and beyond. A family meal. Playing with siblings. Reading together around a wood stove. Being tucked in to a warm bed. But these moments took place in different locations that could hardly be further apart.
I suppose this is the curse of the traveller. Or the blessing depending on how you look at it. Home is simultaneously a place that is familiar and a place that is always somewhere else. It is something that I have experienced in many parts of the world, and perhaps because of this is more deeply associated with family than location.
Home is a scattered trail of breadcrumbs, each one a familiar memory, yet leading to a place I have yet to experience.