One of the questions I am asked frequently when I travel is “Where do you live?” or “Where are you from?” and sometimes, “Where is home?”
While these questions seem the same – they aren’t. For someone like me who travels often for extended durations – the answers are often deeper than the questions. The nature of the question of home changes. Of course, I am from the United States – and I always will be; a born and bred southerner from Virginia. But is it home? Probably not, as my extended family lives in several different points of the globe, and without a job or a house in Virginia there is very little reason to return.
Where do I live? Not so easily either – unless you are asking directions to the apartment here in Bogota where I am staying for the next several months. But is that home? The answer is yes, and no.
I am not a native Bogotano and never will be. My trips here are always too brief stops before heading on. But at the same time, in many ways it does feel like home. Just yesterday – as I took my Sunday stroll, I ran into a friend of mine, so we walked a bit and enjoyed the sunny day. Then as I was coming back, two people asked me for directions – (which I was able to give).. Today, I am helping teach an English class and tomorrow I will be doing more research..
So in that sense, Bogota is more my home than several other places I’ve stayed. I have favorite places to lunch, to shop, to buy groceries – all of those things that come with familiarity, with belonging. I can hop on and off Transmileno like a native and navigate myself through this busy city. But in a few months – I will leave again – and don’t know when I will return.. so I guess Bogota is not home either.
Maybe home is the place a person longs to be. But even that is fraught with complexity. While I love my friends here, and always look forward to being here, for example, I am also ‘homesick’ for many of my friends back in Mexicali..
I guess in the end, home is defined as my personal comfort zone.. so where ever my laptop and I end up – for how ever long – that must be home.