How long does it take for the expat to wake up and no longer feel like an expat? Or does that day never come for some people? I don’t ask because I think I’m anywhere close to that day. In fact, I can’t imagine it. Next week I will have been gone for a year, and I have just begun my journey.
I’m curious how others define home. It goes back to the question, is home where you’re from or is home where you make it? Also, is home a physical location or do you think a home can be metaphorical, like a home you make with someone you love. Everyone seems to have different ideas about what home is and can mean.
If you had asked me a few years ago I would have told you that home will always be where I grew up, where my parents live, where so many memories were made. Now I’m less convinced. I’m young and have a lot of time to make new memories. I’ll always miss family and friends when I’m away but that will soon be true no matter where I go in the world.
One of my best friends from home wrote me an email that summed up the way I had been feeling about being away from home. “I feel like my heart is split between the continents, as far as Australia. I fear I will never find peace because I can never come close to having everyone that I love,” she said. “When we are eighty and old and cranky will we look back and regret that we left our family for so long? For so selfish an endeavor? I am still not sure.”
I don’t mean to come across as dramatic about being away. It was definitely my choice to move and I love living in Australia. That’s actually just the problem. As my friend pointed out, perhaps my issue isn’t finding home but rather that I might always feel divided between homes. No matter where I go, I’ll be missing somewhere or someone else.
Are you an expat or traveler — do you find yourself always missing another place?