The importance of being back

I don’t know if it’s because I was feeling homesick with the holidays coming or if it’s just a coincidence, but lately many people I’ve met have asked me the same question: where’s your home?

And although the answer is very simple, it got me thinking.

When I meet someone the first questions that come are : “where are you from”, “how long have you been travelling”, “where did you go” and “when are you going back home”. That last question is often asked just to make the conversation but when I answer “I’m not going back” ( I don’t say home because France is not home) it gets really interesting. I’m not going back. I’m not going back to my job, my family, my friends. I’m not going back to the country I used to live.

First of all because as I said, France is not home to me. So originally, I left home when I left (and every time I leave) Buenos Aires. But it’s more than that. Because the question kept coming back, I realized how important it is for us humans, to have a home. Not necessarily a house, but anything you can come back to when you’re away, even if it’s your country but you’ve got nowhere to live. I guess it’s why people seem confused when I answer: “I don’t have a home”

Yes, I’m actually homeless and I chose it.

As I was thinking about this, another thing came to my mind. We keep talking about “coming back”, “going back”, “back home”, “back in France”. The small word those expressions share has a major importance in our minds. Because we can get used to not having a home, but it’s different to say “I don’t have a home” and “I’m not coming back”. Suddenly we lose everything we have (or had), and we leave it all behind. Not coming back is moving forward to the unknown, it is accepting that the past is the past. Sometimes I laugh silently and I say it all in one sentence: “Oh no, I don’t have a home, I left my apartment and I’m not going back”.

As you probably guessed, the reply to that (after surprise and doubt) is: “but why?”

Instead of talking and blabbing about why I left and why I’m not going back anywhere for the next couple of years I just say: “Why not?”. There are so many answers to that question, sometimes they are personal, and sometimes a little bit less. You have your answers to that question too.

The thing is, when I am in this situation I have a strange feeling. First I politely answer all the questions but then I can’t help but think: instead of looking surprised and looking at me as if I weren’t normal or as if I was going to fail my life, why don’t YOU try to understand?

Why does it always have to be like this, and not the other way around? I don’t look astonished when you tell me that you’ve been working somewhere for five or ten years; I don’t agree with the lifestyle but it doesn’t mean that I don’t understand it. Why do I have to be the odd one?

The way I see it I work to live, I don’t live to work. I like my job but if I can choose, I’ll always choose travelling. In my vision of life, learning from others, meeting people or doing a variety of things not related to what I studied for are the most important features. I like- no- I love following my impulses and being out of my comfort zone, I like working and I like wandering around and I want to help. Help people to learn a language, help children in need, help a farmer to keep the place running.

That doesn’t mean that my parents failed when they raised me.

It means that if I am in a situation that requires me helping others or travelling or learning from something or someone, I’ll do it. It also means that because I lead the life I have, I’ve understood how important it is to me to be out of my comfort zone and keep going, keep growing, keep learning. But it’s not only about me. I’ve also understood how important it is to many people to find shelter in a home, a family or a friend. Guillaume sees that in me and I find in him a reason to keep going and pushing things forward. Being like I am does not mean being alone and not missing my family and friends; and being like he is doesn’t mean that you can’t hold your breath and take the big step…

December 31, 2012

Leave a Reply