“Home” and belonging
Where is home?
I’m getting to a point where I don’t know the answer to this question anymore. I was born in Denmark, moved to Sweden when I was 19 (and lived there on-and-off for 10 years), worked in Norway, studied a semester in Australia, traveled for a long period in South-East Asia, East Africa, and Europe, and the last couple of years I have spent in Spain.
I’ve got a Danish passport and both my parents were born and raised in Denmark, so technically I’m Danish. But I left the country 14 years ago and within a few years I’ll have lived longer outside the country than in it. Home is not always where you were born.
I love to travel and it has made me the person I am today. I have met the most wonderful “strangers” who have turned into my dearest friends, and we have shared many memorable and life-changing moments. People who I’m forever thankful to and who will always have a special place in my heart.
I’m among one of the lucky people in today’s world who have had the possibility to travel and choose home. It was difficult for my parents, coming from the lowest level in society, and even more complicated for my grandparents, to travel the way I’ve had the privilege to. Maybe the possibility was there but it was a choice made by few, so the questions: “Where are you from?” or “Where is your home?” were a lot easier to answer.
Nowadays, more than 220 million people live in a country different from the one they were born in; and I’m one of them. I will probably never return “home” to Denmark. I still have some family there so I go visiting the country every year, and when traveling, living abroad and experiencing cultural differences I sometimes feel so very “Scandinavian” (whatever that means..I’ll save that for another post) in my mentality, but Denmark is not where I have my everyday life (Spain), where my love comes from (England), where the majority of my best friends live (Sweden/Spain), where I work (online/Spain) and so on.
I think I’ll keep answering the question “Where is home?” the way I do now, i.e. “I’m more than anything European but I belong to the world”. Because I have lived in different places and I could just as well move to Argentina, South Africa, England, Costa Rica, Australia, you name it, next time. I belong to the locality and social relations I’ve been in in the past, that I’m in right now and the one’s I’ll get involved with in the future.
To end this post, I want to share these two great, inspirational TED-Talks with you. Enjoy!