defining "home"

When people ask where I'm from, I typically have some fun with that answer because I don't consider myself to be "from" any one place. Technically, I'm "from" Virginia, since that's where I was born. However, I could also say I'm from California, North Carolina or Kentucky, because those places fit my definition of home. For me, home is that place where you feel comfortable...that place your whole self looks forward to being, if only for a few days...that place you know your way around...that place where your loved ones are. In my travels, though, I've found that a lot of the people I meet assume that I consider wherever I'm living at the time to be my be that place that I'm "from". And in the past four years, I've really struggled with those assumptions...most intensely in recent months.

You see, the choice to live in Texas wasn't entirely mine...nor was the decision to move to Pennsylvania. So if I don't consider the place I'm living to be my home...if it's not a place that I necessarily look forward to being in or a place I can't wait to get back to while I'm traveling, how can it be home? And yes, if you read this regularly, you know that, when I'm not traveling, I list my location as "home" in my "where" footnote. But really? Every time I've written that in the past few months, I pause because it doesn't feel true. I'm usually pretty tempted to list "Pennsylvania" instead. Because, in my dictionary, Pennsylvania doesn't meet my criteria for home right now.

Then I read this yesterday:

"Home, I've decided, is where you leave and come back to."
(Elizabeth McCracken)

And that clicked. It's a broader definition of "home" than I'm used to, and it doesn't change my current feelings about Pennsylvania. But it does make it a little easier to think of this as where I'm from, even if only temporarily.

Where I am: Home


jhansen said…
Great post! I just found your blog about a week or so ago and am enjoying reading it!

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