What makes a place “home”?


A dear friend of mine who is considering a permanent move to Paris asked me the other day what I think makes a place ‘home’.    It got me thinking.  I have been fortunate enough to live in different countries and in various settings before coming to Beautiful Vancouver.  In my early twenties I lived for six months in a rural village in Portugal.  I loved getting up with the roosters and sitting down to a breakfast of fresh bread and milky coffee served in soup bowls!  I loved feeding the chickens and working in the vineyard.  There was so much to love about the place and the country but I certainly wasn’t “home” and I knew it.   I have lived in crowded and dirty cities and  I have lived in history-rich and architecturally-dazzling cities that weren’t ‘home’.   I have lived with family and friends and I have lived in my city of birth; a stone’s throw from the hospital I was born in.  And yet,  I wasn’t ‘home’.

Then I came to Vancouver.  I saw it from the air as the plane circled the city before landing and I just knew.  I was home.  To me ‘home’ is the place where your soul is at peace.

What makes a place ‘home’ to you?



4 thoughts on “What makes a place “home”?

  1. I visited Vancouver for the first time when I was 16. I had just completed compulsory education and was starting university at home that autumn. I remember traveling from Squamish to Vancouver along the Howe Sound and, as we sailed back in, looking up at the UBC residence towers and thinking ‘Yup, this is it, this is where I’m meant to be.’ But, of course, because ‘home’ is as much about the people as the place, that hasn’t happened yet and, as the years go by, there are more and more things keeping me where I am. At the same time I have more independence and financial freedom now than I did in the past so remaining where I am is, however unwillingly, a decision. So while my heart might lie elsewhere, home is here because I made that choice. I do think that home is where you choose to be.
    When I lived abroad and found it difficult to settle in a place, I walked. I spent hours making sure I knew where I was, where streets went, what was around the next corner. I stopped at street corners and made sure I knew what lay down each street before I moved on to the next block. If I saw a destination sign on a bus route that I liked the look of, I’d walk there and back so I knew where it was and what it looked like. I was always so chuffed if anyone asked me for directions and I knew where to send them, though of course my accent usually meant that few enough people trusted my advice! There are places that I know belonged to me, and to which I belonged, because I can still send myself to sleep retracing steps I wore in footpaths miles and years ago. So, I think that home can also be the place where you put one foot in front of the other and decide to keep walking, not until you reach a destination, but until the place you are becomes that destination.

  2. I love that Em! ‘home can also be the place where you put one foot in front of the other and decide to keep walking, not until you reach a destination, but until the place you are becomes that destination’. In terms of scenic beauty I think there are few places that can rival Highway 99 from Vancouver to Squamish (perhaps the view from Table Mountain, SA) and I am so glad to hear you’ve been here and that you loved it. But now I am curious where does your heart lie??

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