What does home mean to you?

A couple days ago, I encountered a question that made me think a lot: "what does home mean to you?"

I am reaching my early thirties in a couple of years and so far I have lived in four different countries. Unfortunately, not always because I had a choice, but fortunately, I gained life experience I would never have had if I staid where I was.

The funny thing is that since I left my home country Ivory Coast, every time that I decide to go live in another country, I set a deadline. I will be there for two years, time to finish my studies. I'll go there for 4 years, time to start and build a career, or I will go there for one year so that I will have more opportunities to travel to countries I still want to visit. Since that day, I believe I am going from country to country with a goal in mind knowing that it would not be my last destination. I believe that is the case nowadays for the most of us.

But also traveling allows me to discover new cultures that sometimes match with the one I grew up with. That must be one of the reasons why I love to travel so much. There will be countries where I would not feel as a stranger because the culture is something that I already know.

Is that what home means? Be somewhere where you do not feel foreign?

However, I cannot imagine my life in these countries or even imagine today going back to live in the country where I grew up, because the civil war destroyed what I knew of home: the city where I was born, the house where I made my first steps as a kid, the schools where I studied, the people from the shops I used to go on regular basis...

This is now history, life has moved on and my definition of home has changed throughout the years. Ivory Coast came out from a 10-year long civil war and has started to get back on its feet, step by step, since the end of the war 5 years ago.

On my end, I have experienced living and traveling in different countries, learnt new languages and met with people that helped me to define the person I am today. 

For some people that I know, home would mean going back to the country, the city, the house where they grew up where their families still live and where their friends from childhood go back on holidays.

Or for others, home might mean the house that they have built or bought as the reward of their hard work and where they can imagine a future family life.

Home, per se, cannot really be defined as it mostly depends on your life experience in my opinion.

I believe that living a nomad life in the search of the perfect place to settle down is kind of like looking for an oasis in the desert, we hope that we will find it one day but it turns out to be an illusion or a dream we keep on imagining.

Can home actually be defined as a physical place? Or is it a feeling maybe, as we tend to hear often: "I feel like home". 

In my opinion, it is a feeling as a place you call home is made from the memories and experiences you have had in your life, or even the people you value(d) and share(d) your life with. Those experiences create memories  that are linked to feelings: joy, sadness, fear, anger etc... but that defines what you call home.

Maybe, home is just what you make out of all these experiences so that you can bring every bit and pieces of what you value with you to create a place of comfort, no matter where you go.

What do you think? What does home mean to you?

"Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You'll find what you need to furnish it - memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey."

Tad Williams