Where is "Home"?

It never fails. After the countless summer days under the scorching sun and the endless nights out with good company, my mind and body suddenly crash. 

 

Just like that. 

 

Almost as if it were an indication that the vicarious extravagance and spontaneity associated with summer loving and beach bumming have finally commenced and it’s time to move onwards and embrace a new autumn. 

 

It’s during this transitional season where my mind and my body are completely taxed that my soul speaks the loudest

 

The mind and body groan and complain they’re exhausted and tired, but the soul who endured these summer shenanigans like the designated driver during every outing, finally impatiently takes initiative:

 

“Party’s over guys, it’s time to go home.” 

 

Home. 

 

But what exactly is home

 

And where for that matter? 

 

With every passing year and new environment I find myself in, these questions about home become more and more complicated to address.

 

When I was a child, like many concepts in life, home was simple and straightforward. A place where I ate and slept with a couch I always returned to after school or wherever else for that matter. 

 

But then my friend invites me to his home and I expect his home to be identical to my home, but in his home, you don’t take off your shoes, you can play with toys in the living room, and everything kind of smells like cigarettes and something strange I can’t identity. 

 

So homes are different depending on the people that live within the homes. 

 

And then I start to understand that place called “Grandma and Grandpa’s” with the grandiose bonsai garden where the beagle jumps on me isn’t just a visiting place; it’s their home. And it used to be my Dad’s home before he lived in the home I call home. 

 

So at some point in our lives, we leave our homes and create new homes. 

 

And then one day when my parents take me to San Francisco and I see a man sleeping on the floor, my Mom tells me to stop staring at the homeless man. 

 

So it’s even possible for us to not have homes period. 

 

And then I grow older and begin developing my own set of interests, likes and dislikes, opinions and experiences and I long for a place away from my parent’s home where I make my own rules and live without being pestered. 

 

So home isn’t limited to just a physical roof, it’s a place associated with individual comfort and freedom. 

 

And then I grow up, get out and see the world, and live on the other side of the country for quite sometime, but then I return to the couch in my parent’s home where my dog nestles up against me and my cat purrs at my feet and Mom and Dad are up watching Good Morning America and I hangout with old friends and catch up and remember who I was before acclimating to the hustle and bustle of New York City and suddenly my mind, body, and soul are at peace.

 

So home is about a place of familiarity, good company, and unconditional love

 

But finally, after wearing out the welcome mat, I get too comfortable and long to get back to the double life of the struggling vagabond in the Big Apple because the silence of the suburbs at night is foreign now compared to the honking horns and sirens my soul pokes at me again telling me, “Hey, it’s time to go home.”

 

But I thought I was home.

 

Fast forward to present day. 

 

September 2015. 

 

Fall season. 

 

My mind and body are assed out as my soul carries them annoyed and anxious.

 

It never fails.

 

The soul taps impatiently: 

 

“What did I tell you? It’s time to go home.” 

 

So…what is home? 

 

Where is home? 

 

“Home is where my best outfit can be boxers…only boxers” 

- Danville, California

 

 

“Home used to be Moscow a long time ago way before you were kid…probably before your father was even kid. I hated Moscow because people were so…what’s the English word…selfish…? I don’t know if that’s right. They just always thought they were best. Like you have nice camera I see. They would say ‘my camera is better’ just to say to make themselves feel good. I move to USA to make better living for son and daughter away from Moscow-living and son and daughter have kids in USA now and their kids are American and I try telling daughter to put a stronger hand on her son and she says ‘Nana, this isn’t Moscow’. I laugh because even when I did not like Moscow, I am stuck with Moscow mind forever.” 

- Moscow, Russia

 

 

“Home is a place where…well you see, I move around quite a lot so I guess it’s not necessarily about company or people, it’s more about a place where there’s food in the fridge…and a bed…and stability. Familiarity. Safety. The world is such a huge place with so many different threats and calamities; it’s a place I can hide securely to myself. I prefer home to be only me living there because people aren’t trust-worthy, not even parents.”

- Hyrule Temple

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“If I was home, I wouldn’t be getting bothered by strangers like you.”

- Somewhere in Midtown

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“Home is where I can rest my worries on a pillow.” 

- Palawan, Philippines

 

“Home is where I’m with people I love. It doesn't matter where I am so long as I know there’s someone I love that I can go to whether it’s family or friends. That’s home to me. My definition of home is defined by good company because I’ve been away from my hometown recently when I was in Austria and Austria became a new home away from home for me because of the friends I made. I just moved to New York City and I hope this place will become home soon enough too.” 

- Under a Tree

 

“Home is a comfort zone where you could be yourself, be free, and like no definition of normality even exists at home. Outside, there’s certain things you can’t do because it’s considered taboo. Home is my empire where I can partake in my taboo freely. I put salt around my house to protect myself from bad vibes and bad spirits but if I do that outside, people would question that or look at me funny. Another thing I think of is food. Soups, rice, stews, anything from Mom’s kitchen.” 

- Venice Beach, California

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“Home is where I can naturally fit-in. It’s a place where I can develop and make the most out of myself because I’m comfortable being myself. I’ve been to many places but I’ve never left my home.”

- New York City

 

“There are many types of places one can call ‘home’, but the most important and sacred is the home within your heart, the spiritual heart. Just like you take care of your outer home, you must take care of your inner home. At the end of the day, all homes lie within the heart because the heart is the core of life.” 

- At the Fate of my Inner Pilot

 

 

“Home is when my three sons come home for the holidays. They’re all doing great things, one’s in the armed forces, another's studying to become a doctor at UT, and the youngest is a little social activist at UC Berkeley on the other end of the country. As a mother, I’m so proud of everything they’ve accomplished and how they’ve grown to be such fine men and contributors to society, but once again, as a mother, I can’t help but worry about them nonstop when they’re not in my nest! When they come home for the holidays, the house is filled with laughter and smiles but when they leave, it’s quiet and empty. My sons give life to my home because they are my life’s greatest treasures. Without them, I feel emptiness.” 

- The Fireplace Next to the Christmas Tree

 

“Home? What is…home? House? Oh! We are from Korea! Uh…Seoul! We visit Manhattan, but we want to live here now! New York City is so cool!” 

- Seoul, South Korea

 

 

Home is with her. We’ve lived in many places. Some places the people didn’t understand us, the electricity or water didn’t work, there was actually a time when we were both shit out of luck and forced to live on the streets for a few weeks because we were so poor and couldn’t find sustainable jobs. I remember I was confused and at the lowest point of my life ever…I thought life was hopeless and that this was it forever but she was always there next to me enduring every step reminding me that we shared this pain together and if you had showed me the picture you just captured of us and showed it to me then, I would have called bullshit. But we made it. Together. I can confidently say you can place me anywhere in the world and I would be fine as long as I had her. Home is with her. She’ll always be there to remind me life is worthwhile.” 

- Anywhere with Her

 

“Well I think home is a mansion with lobster dinners, a walk-in closet with designer clothing- oh don’t forget butlers! Haha, I’m only kidding. He already said it all. Ditto to him.” 

- Anywhere with Him

 

 

“What is home? Well that’s quite the conundrum for me. There’s a gastronomical amount of places I COULD call home and then I could easily argue I can’t call those places home. Like, take this park, Central Park. I wasn’t born here, actually I wasn’t even born in New York; I’m from Cincinnati. But back to what I was saying, take Central Park for example…for some reason I feel at home here. It’s like the one place in New York City where I finally see people actually being fucking people. Just chilling out reading books and having picnics and actually giving a shit about each other. Maybe it’s these things, these happy faces and couples and families remind me ‘Oh, I’ve been there before’ or ‘I can relate to their feelings’ and it makes me subconsciously at ease. It’s like I’m living life through others when I’m here feeding off of their happiness. I don’t know, sometimes I feel like I’m crazy. I’ll leave you with this. If they say ‘home is where the heart is’, then my mind is where the crazy cat-lady neighbor is.” 

- Mars

 

 

I ain’t got a home. There’s a roof above my head at night, but that ain’t home. Have you ever heard a gunshot? Looking at you with yo fancy ass shit and that little book you be writing on, I bet you ain’t never heard no gunshot. Shit. At night, I got that roof, but I can’t sleep from all them gunshots. POP! POP! POP! Just like that. I gotta stay awake in case a nigga tries to catch me sleeping. Don’t even get me started. Shit. Want to know what I think is home? Somewhere a nigga can finally sleep without that POP! POP! POP!” 

- Somewhere in Jamaica

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