The idea of “home” is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. As a kid home was where I slept and spent most of my time when not at school, but because my family moved around a lot I didn’t have any real emotional connection to it. As an adult I often tell people that it wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles that I actually felt like I was home. I’ve talked to a lot of friends about this over the years and I get the feeling for a lot of people the idea of home is much more romanticized than anything they’ve ever actually experienced. What with “home is where the heart is” and other such slogans beaten into our heads. But even that doesn’t point so much to a place as a feeling, right? If you can feel like you are home when you are around certain people just as much as when you are in certain places then maybe home itself needs to be better defined before you can try and figure out where it is.
According to Dictionary.com, home is:
“any place of residence or refuge”
Wikipedia adds to that saying:
“It is usually a place in which an individual or a family can rest and be able to store personal property.”
Neither of those really sound like anything too special to me. I can rest on a park bench, is that home? I can take refuge in a coffee shop, is that home? I can store personal property in a rented out storage space, is that home? You see where I’m going with this, there must be a better of not just what home is, but what we want home to be. Let’s take this one step further – with the exception of about one suitcase worth of clothing and a backpack with some assorted electronics, I just put everything I own into storage. We also gave up the lease on our apartment in Venice and plan to spent the rest of the year bouncing around the world staying with friends and at guest apartments. Does this make me homeless?
I think at one point when people were born and died in the same building home was much easier to define, but now, especially for a certain group heavily traveled people, home isn’t one place, it’s many places. By the end of the year I expect to have a few basic necessities like a change of clothes and some toothpaste stashed in a few major cities around the world. Not because I’m paranoid and trying to have a plan B, C and D in place (though I kind of will thanks to this) but rather because I travel to them on a regular basis and it’s pointless for me to always take the same things there and back in my luggage. (If money was no issue I’d duplicate a few other things like bikes and electronics but for now I’m sticking with clothes) While I’ll have a home somewhere in Los Angeles, I’ll also be “at home” in many other places.
I see this as a natural progression of things, and think more and more people will be doing something similar, or some parts of it anyway. This is the core of what I’ve been calling “Multibasing” for years, that is having multiple bases, but it’s something that would make sense to a much larger group of people I know who are always on the go, but often in one of a handful of places. Well, I guess they would never be at two of a handful of places, but you know what I’m getting at. People tell me they can’t keep track of all the places I go, but honestly I go to a few of the same places over and over again. If I’m not in Los Angeles and you had to just guess where I was, picking Singapore, Tokyo or New York wouldn’t be a bad choice. And with any luck I’ll make that list longer as time goes on.
There is a whole group of people, Global Nomads, Technomads and Permanent Travelers who don’t live anywhere, but at the same time live everywhere. In the same way that people are drawn to the idea of “home,” I think that the ability to call the whole world home is just as romantic, and equally if not more attractive.
So if you travel all the time and have many places you call home, then which one do you decide is the most important and where you should keep all your stuff? Maybe the real question is why do you think you need all that stuff? But that’s a topic for another post.