“Home – The place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household. ” A simple definition of the word ‘Home’ stated by the Oxford Dictionaries. Used by many to describe where they were born and raised, where they are living, what is the number of the street they live on. Then it can expand to wider topics such as motherland, language used, social and political norms, traditions, alongside cherished memories of one’s childhood.
To an extent, our home shapes us as people when it comes to habits, what we have learned from our parents, and the environment we were placed in as children, or even born into.
People in Motion
On the other hand, there is the matter of migration. People are constantly moving out and in from less developed countries into countries with a better social state – in such a case there is an option of where and what one’s home can be. Is it going to be their place of birth? The country of their education? Somewhere one will work or raise a family of their own? Will that be the place to call home? Or is it going to be a bit confusing when one tries to answer the question: ‘And where is home for you?’
There is a vast number of people moving in and out of changing locations, houses, schools, friends, languages and even themselves in order to fit in. The more adaptive and flexible one becomes, the less of a trouble it is to yet again switch places, move to another place in an unknown environment. However, does that mean that such people don’t have a home? If someone was to change their living space every 5 years, which of those will it be? Which of these will bear the title ‘Home’? People who often find themselves in these types of situations are called Third Culture Kids – described by a sociologist Ted Ward in 1984 as ‘The prototype citizens of the future‘.
Pico Iyer – a global author who writes travel chronicles, is one of those so called Third Culture Kids. He is someone who has been raised outside his parents’ culture and has adopted many others during his life-long journey around the world. He discovers the world as if it was his living room – a four-wall space in which many people spend almost their entire lives feeling secure. The world is their home. Pico Iyer decided to constantly look at the world from this new found perspective: to truly take on the notion of the term Global Citizen – which we can see from his travel stories.
Is it after all a place or a state?
Another thing Iyer stresses in his chronicles, as well as his talks, is the idea of Home as a state, rather than a place one abides in. He talks about that well known feeling of being somewhere you thought you belonged, but somehow still feeling detached from the place around you – as well as people. He poses a question of: ‘Does it really matter where we are externally or is the notion of home within ourselves?’ Sometimes the ones who are wandering on an unknown path are the ones who can find their way easier than the ones who always stay in one place.
In his talk, he gives out examples which substantiate his claims and questions. And the best part is: all around there are examples like these – even in you.
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