Home is one of the most complicated words in the English language.
Or maybe it’s just me & my complicated home situation speaking. But the fact is, almost everytime I use it, I have to explain which home I mean.
Coming home, going home, being back home… How many times have I had to stop mid-sentence to add some helpful bit of context. One of the difficulties of being an expat’ (for lack of a better word) in a country I don’t have direct ties to, I suppose.
From London to Ile de Ré, to my parents’ house in the French countryside and to places we visited that instantly made me feel at home, there are so many places I call home.
You know what they say… Home is where the heart and the memories are. And my heart & memories just seem to be spread all over the world.
My parents’ home
My parents bought the house they live in shortly before I was born.
It’s the place where I grew up. The place where I’ve woken up every Christmas morning. The place my childhood memories link back to.
It’s the place I’ve met my best friend in. The place I’ve baked endless cakes while studying for my exams. Where I fell in love with garden-to-table dining. The place that never fails to make me feel calm and at peace the second I pass through the door.
It’s in the middle of nowhere, in the tiniest of villages, and the sort of place where you need a car if you hope to be able to do anything. Post office, grocery store, the whole lot. Needless to say, it’s really rather unpractical given that I don’t own a car.
But then again, it’s the place the ones I love most live in. The place where the dogs are. The place where I come from.
It’s always been my home and even now, after having moving out almost 8 years ago, it still is.
The place I built my first home in.
It hasn’t been easy. London is a demanding city. It’s gigantic, it never stops and it can take a while to find your spot in the city’s crazy diverse environment.
And yet it was love at first sight. From the very first day, London has felt like home in ways every other place I lived in before never did.
And almost 5 years in, it looks like I’m not about to get tired of it any time soon. Especially since I’ve started cycling everywhere (more on that soon!).
Île de Ré
When I was a child, I went on holiday to Ile de Ré for a month every year.
There, I would live in my swimsuit, swimming in the sea, walking barefoot in the sand, eating ice cream by the dozen, sleeping under a tent, picking up shellfish on the rocks and salted butter by the kilo at the local market. And I would dream that one day, I would own one of the gorgeous houses overlooking the ocean.
To this day, that’s still a dream of mine, and a rather expensive one at that. But oh, how I’d love to some day live beside the seaside…
Finding new homes on the way
Whenever we travel (and even more so since the whole Brexit thing started), our #1 priority is to experience the city/country the way the locals do. Avoid the tourist crowds and try to have a peek of what living there would be like instead.
That’s how we ended up finding the best tapas spot in Barcelona, why we decided to spend a week eating croissants and wandering the streets of Paris last summer, and why we loved our trip to Dublin so much.
It’s obviously not helping in any way with my travel bucket list as I now want to re-visit my new-found homes on top of trying to discover new ones…
Where to you feel at home? Is home a specific place or city, or like me, do you confuse others with multiple homes and potential future homes? Answers on a postcard or in the comment below!