One of the eternal questions that traveler must oftenly answer is “When will you go back home?”. What little is known about pathologic travelers apparently is that most of them don’t really have a home. Not in the way people are referring to as “Home”. Travelers have a “base of operations” meaning an area they particularly like or enjoy, where they feel safe and where they can recharge for more traveling. A place to get back from aimlessly wandering the world. It is not a country, it is not a house or an apartment. It is a bubble where their hearts are.
This abstract view of “Home” it is, I think, something very hard for many people to understand. Damn, it is really hard for me to explain it without a strong personal counterexample. And I am thinking about my father, who gave up everything, including his life, for a piece of land he didn’t even own entirely. For him Home was the land and the house of his parents. Nothing worth more for him in his entire life. People like my father crave to return back to the country where have been born because they want that familiarity created by child memories and they feel comfortable with the way people are thinking, either good, either bad. Integration in a different society with different norms and requirements it is just too much to worth the effort. “The land is calling you back!”. And there it is where my father rests now… under 4 cubic meters of his precious soil.
Now that I think more about it, I am the one who cannot understand entirely the concept of Home. There is no other logical explanation. Why so many people want to go back to a place which is obviously bad for them, just because something in their education and social norms tells them that it is supposed to be “Home”. And they are ready to die for it… For something purely material, for a bit of concrete and a couple bricks on top of piece of dirt… Why?!
…the place where I grew up brings me very few good memories. It does awake a lot of melancholy but the type that hurts in a deep “unconscious” way. This is not because it was a bad place to live. That Home was a bad place FOR ME to be, for all 33 years of my life that I had to live there. It was always just a “place” and rarely a “feeling”. I never had a connection with that land, for some reason even if I the roots of family go back in the same area for almost 500 years… I never craved to go back “home” on my family land, in my country or in my other adopted countries. I just wanted to be there where everything I love resides.
Anyway, I will probably never return back to my “home” country. There is nothing there to make me happy. But, I cannot forget and I do not want to forget. I am right now what that “Home” made me. Thus, I can still bring some sort of… homage to the place where I was born and raised. Because, for sure, “I lived there once…” (the photos come from an old film camera and an old digital camera)