Many people are lucky enough to have one home, but I have many. To me, home isn’t about a house, so a physical structure isn’t what is needed. A home is a place where I am surrounded by people I can be myself with, those I care about most, those who make me happy and complete. Maybe this is why I’ve never imagined myself one day owning a house, because I don’t need to own a piece of property to feel the love that comes along with the idea behind a home. Anywhere can be home, it just depends on who you are with, and the memories you make in that place.
Back in November of 2011, I wrote a post about home for BootsnAll‘s Indie Travel Project, where I said:
My house is only my home when it’s full of the people that I love. Which means that home can be wherever I am when I’m with the people I care about the most. I like thinking of home in this way, because then I have had a home in some of the most beautiful places in the world.
With this attitude, I have had homes all over and in every country I have visited, but some stand out the more than others.
For the three weeks I spent in Southern Africa last summer my home was this tent and truck. I spent each night snuggled up in my sleeping bag in the tent, and each day I was carried throughout Africa in this overland truck. In these two places, I slept, ate, played games, listened to music, and was surrounded by a group of strangers who, within days, became my family. The memories I made through these three weeks is enough to make me consider these two places my homes.
I am lucky enough to have three homes in Ireland, making me feel pretty special. Again, they aren’t really my homes, but they each have special meanings that connect me to the country. Since most of my family still lives there, that feeling of home is a constant one.
The first two homes are located in County Kerry. The first, is the house my maternal grandmother was born in. In many ways, to me, it’s more a house than a home because we cannot live in it. However, it is full of memories that were made by my grandmother growing up, as well as by my mother and uncles when they lived there each summer. Still, it’s fun to explore inside the house and see what made it a home at the time.
The second house is much more a home. This is the house my mother’s parents eventually built for their visits each summer, realizing that it was no longer suitable to stay in the old house. While I only have a few memories here, my mother has so many. Being in the house while she tells stories about her time here always makes my connection to the house grow deeper with each visit.
This third photo is what I consider to be my true Irish home. It is the bedroom in my cousin’s house in County Longford, and it’s the place I stay each time I visit. I know it as my room and it is one of the most comfortable places in the world. I feel complete when I am there, especially with the feeling of love I get from my family and the comfort of knowing we are all together in the same place.
My last home is another connection to my heritage. This house, in Croatia, is the home that my paternal grandfather was born and raised in. When he came to America, it was passed down to other family members, but since it is still in the family, it is where we stay when we visit Croatia. Each year, someone in my family visits and each year it is renovated in some way. I haven’t been there in several years, but it is a place full of memories where I feel full of love and perfectly at home during my stay.
I can feel at home almost anywhere in the world, and that is because my focus is on home. Not the structure of a house, but the feeling of being surrounded by love. Sometimes it’s the love of family, other times friends, and even from strangers who, over time, make their way into our hearts.