"Home is where the heart is."
When we meet someone for the first time, one of the first questions we ask is where they live. It is a simple question that could be answered by naming our city or the street address. However, this response will not be enough to clarify where your home is or what you consider as home. The answers to those questions are more complicated. This article will review what home is and why we need to find a place we could call our home.
What is home?
In the stone age, the home was a cave with a fire in the middle and food around it. In the modern world, due to the considerable migration rate concept of the home, it got more complicated. For the sake of a better future and opportunities, or safety and security, people often migrate to more developed countries. In 2020 Nearly 8.3% of EU inhabitants were born outside of European Union. Furthermore, all around the world, there are 26.4 million refugees and 48.0 million internally displaced persons. (Statistics on Migration to Europe, 2020). Apart from this mixed marriages and, therefore children with more than one nationality are becoming more and more common.
As a result, most of these people are confused about where they belong. Their minds and bodies are not in the same place. They might have a building to live in, a job to provide for their own families, and maybe even a satisfying social life, but for some of them, the place they live in is a house, or a shelter, not a home. Their homes are back in the country where they were born and raised. Their roots are still in the soil of their motherlands. Conversely, some people live in a place where they were born and raised but feel alienated from everything around them. The reason for this is lost emotional connection or not fitting into society. They start searching for new land, a new roof that will make them feel at home. While some people eventually find a home, others are destined to search for it all their life. This suggests that one might have a house and still be homeless, and the opposite.
“Our homes do not have to offer us permanent occupancy or store our clothes to merit the name. Home can be an airport or a library, a garden or a motorway diner.” (Horx-Strathern, 2017)
Based on this, defining home as a place where one lives can be wrong. The definition by Pico Lyer suggests that “home is not just a place where you sleep, but where you stand” (Pico Lyer, 2013). A home is a place where one feels safe and calm. One that inspires and encourages the inhabitants to be the best version of themselves. One can unveil true self and find peace of mind there. Based on this, we can assume that home is a more emotional concept than the physical one.
"Home is less of soil and more of soul." (Pico Lyer, 2013)
Why do we need a home?
Romanian philosopher Mircea Eliade says, “home is much more than shelter; home is our center of gravity.” The world can be inexplicable and enigmatic. After a long day, one behooves tranquility to relax and enjoy life. Finding a home, from a philosophical perspective, is getting to know oneself and becoming self-aware. It involves a quest to determine where one belongs in this life and what his role is. It follows that searching for a home is similar to searching for the soul. It is a physical and emotional shelter crucial for well-being and personal development. It provides a sense of security and fullness. Without those essential feelings listed above, one can be vulnerable, which will leave its marks on emotional and mental state.
On the contrary, some humans consider themselves travelers, nomads. Those individuals are persuading the idea of home, but uninterrupted learning only comes within traveling and new experiences. They do not feel like part of any place, but at the same time, they belong everywhere they go.
To summarise, in the modern world, a lot of people feel alienated from their living surroundings for physical or physiological reasons. Due to the high migration rate and cross-cultural marriages, people feel lost as they are far from their roots. On the other hand, some people feel alienated from their homes, as the place where they live is just a house they no longer have any emotional connection with. This problem affects the self-awareness of the individuals experiencing homelessness, as they can not/do not know where they belong and lack the security and comfort essential for well-being and personal development. However, some people are travelers. They do not belong anywhere, but at the same time, they feel like part of the whole world. In short, the search for a home is a search for the soul. It is part of human nature and a path all of us have to walk on.
And do you know where is your home?
Beck, J. (2011, December 29). The Psychology of Home: Why Where You Live Means So Much. The Atlantic. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/12/the-psychology-of-home-why-where-you-live-means-so-much/249800/
Horx-Strathern, O. (2017, October 20). Is our definition of HOME evolving? – Oona Horx-Strathern: International Speaker, Author & Trend Expert. Strathern.Eu. Retrieved November 3, 2021, from https://www.strathern.eu/is-our-definition-of-home-evolving/
Magazine, S. (2012, May 1). The Definition of Home. Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved November 4, 2021, from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-definition-of-home-60692392/
Statistics on migration to Europe. (2020, February 7). European Commission - European Commission. Retrieved November 4, 2021, from https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/promoting-our-european-way-life/statistics-migration-europe_en#developmentsin20192018
TED [Pico Lyer]. (2013, July 17). Pico Iyer: Where is home? [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3m6dV7Xo3Vc
Figure 1: Beata Bieniak. (2015, February 12). Home [Surreal Digital Art]. https://fineartamerica.com/featured/home-beata-bieniak.html
Figure 2: Kestutis Kasparavicius. (2012, July 12). Escaped Houses [Painting]. https://fineartamerica.com/featured/escaped-houses-kestutis-kasparavicius.html