Where Is “Home” After Leaving Home?

by | Feb 11, 2022 | Global | 1 comment

I arrived back “home” yesterday and this summer I was reflecting much on this idea of home. By now, I’ve lived in many places and some of them will always feel like home, whereas others never really felt like it at all.

After some long moments of reflection and the last 18 months that it had been since I visited my hometown, San Diego, I ultimately arrived at a few different conclusions. Surely, it carries a different meaning for each of us, since we all have a unique life experience, yet, here’s what I discovered about my own.

Home Is With the People You Love

"In 'n Out Burger Delight with Mom" by Marjorie Jean Vera
“In ‘n Out Burger Delight with Mom” by Marjorie Jean Vera

I had been yearning to return to San Diego as soon as the European borders reopened, longing to see my mother and stepfather, my sister and nephew, and all of my best friends and their growing families.

I missed their hugs, their laughter, and simply being in their presence and ached for the scent of the Pacific, the taste of In-N-Out burger, and Mexican food made by my grandmother.

I had plans to begin my trip to W. Palm and was eager to see my father after his COVID recovery. The last time I had seen him, he was frail and beaten by this horrible virus. I couldn’t wait to see him stronger and walking on his own again.

When I finally reconnected with my loved ones after being physically separated for so long, it didn’t matter where we were or what we did, because simply being with them felt like coming home.

Home Is Not Only in One Place

"Peruvian Food with Dad in W. Palm" by Marjorie Jean Vera
“Peruvian Food with Dad in W. Palm” by Marjorie Jean Vera

Though I haven’t lived in New York since 2015, arriving again in that remarkable city, all the lessons I learned, and the life I lived, felt like yesterday. I am still deeply connected and keep in touch with many of my loved ones, many who have drifted along to other places, yet it feels as much as home to me as San Diego, Barcelona, or Tarragona.

I haven’t lived in San Diego for a long time — I left in October 2006. But when I drive around SoCal, it feels so familiar and like one of the many places where I have discovered different aspects of myself, and ultimately led me to discover what I am capable of.

And it’s the same feeling I had when arriving back in Tarragona yesterday. I couldn’t wait to be in my own space, to see the Mediterranean on my walk home, to smell the air, and to embrace the people I love. This truly is home right now, and it’s where I feel like I belong right now, which leads to the next reflection.

Home Is Where You Feel You Can Be Yourself

Though I have never lived in Lisboa, I have this inexplicable connection with the city, its people, and the places I’ve seen and experienced. I made my first trip in 2013 and I still see myself living there in the future.

I fell in love with Lisboa for various reasons a long time ago, and that feeling has never subsided. In fact, it only grows stronger.

One of the most impactful reasons I love it is because I have always felt like I could be myself there. I could enjoy the things I love, such as art, music, dance, beautiful views, exquisite food, the coast, and connect with open-minded people, fellow citizens of the world.

"For the Love of Lisboa" by Marjorie Jean Vera
“For the Love of Lisboa” by Marjorie Jean Vera
This is a stark contrast from when I lived in Andorra, where I had a flat of my own, worked, and stayed for 3.5 years. Yet, it never felt like home – it was always the place where I worked, and then I ran off to Spain every weekend to live fulfilled and be where I felt I truly belonged.

Andorra lacked art, dance, culture, and it was a dull place for me that didn’t have the vibrancy I love about places like Lisboa where I could always fully express who I am. Despite the years I spent living there on paper with work visas and job contracts, it was never my true home.

So there you have it… my definition of “home.” I suppose it is “where the heart is,” as the old cliche goes, since I have definitely left my heart in Lisboa.

What’s your definition of “home” and where do you imagine yourself landing in the future? I’d love to hear about your experiences, so please comment below!

by: Marjorie Vera