One of my best friends shared this TED talk with me the other day. In a world where so many of us have lived in several countries, hold multiple passports, and speak at least two or three languages. where is home? Do we feel at home in a community of travellers? Do we feel at home when we spend time with the people we love? Do we feel at home when we find time to stop and reflect?
It is wonderful to feel like the world is small, that we can choose and change countries with relative ease. As Pico Iyer mentions "movement is a fantastic privilege and it allows us to do so much that our grandparents could never have dreamed of doing." Technology has made it easier to keep up with friends, family, news, and even pop culture in other countries. I FaceTime with my boyfriend in London, Skype with my parents in New Jersey, message my cousins in Tel Aviv on WhatsApp, and keep up with my Chilean family through Facebook. When my parents moved to the US in 1989, we would call my grandparents once a week. My mother found a store that sold Israeli newspapers and bought a copy each Friday. We sent pictures by post and waited for letters to arrive. It was a different world and the cost of living abroad (both fiscal and emotional) was much greater.
Even today, there is a cost. We can make our lives easier with virtual communication, but we cannot live virtual lives. There are countless ways to show that we care- a goodnight kiss, a hug after a bad day, a toast to good news. They do not have a digital equivalent. With four places to call home, it is the absence of these small touch-points with loved ones that I miss the most. I try to make it back for special occasions, but life is so much more than that. Our lives are made up of many small, unexpected moments (both good and bad.) How much support can we really show from far away?
I love my life. But it has become so scattered that it's hard to focus on the people and things that matter most. So I am moving once again- this time, back to London. In his TED talk, Iyer talks about his realisation that "movement was only as good as the sense of stillness that you could bring to it to put it into perspective."I have been travelling so much that I find it hard to be present. It's time to put down roots, simplify my life to a single city, and invest in my relationship, because ultimately, that's where I want my home to be.