Weaving in and out of traffic, residents are scurrying to their next destination. Even at 7 AM, the streets are becoming louder as the city slowly begins to rise. The market is loud with sounds of cooking, bartering, and the traffic surrounding it. Tourist walk down the street looking for breakfast, quite unsure of their steps. Observing the tourist, it’s interesting that I no longer lump myself in that category. No longer identifying as a visitor, a stranger to the land.
Somewhere between the months, I’ve started to see myself more and more as one who lives in the area. As I look out the window of the coffee shop I am at, I see a woman selling fruit pass by, very distinct with a yellow hat placed on her head. She carries the fruit in baskets with a rod on her shoulders passing through each basket. Her pace reveals her hurry but also her strength.
That’s when it hit me. I'm home.
While I will always claim my hometown of Knoxville, TN. I no longer feel the urge to “go home” referring to the smoky hills of Tennessee. But I find contentment settling in for the night at my home in Cambodia. Comparison no longer controls my thoughts about the two places and I’m starting to use the term to refer to my residence in Cambodia.
Calling a new place home can be strange or it can sneak up on you when you least expect it. You will find yourself having confusing conversations about “your home” and the receiver has no idea if you are talking about here or there. You wake up one day feeling at home with yourself. This is a feeling I never thought I would have. Yet, here I am living thousands of miles away from home and realizing that the label of home came with me.
I like the sound of home. I like the idea of finally feeling settled where I am. The “is this really happening” feeling has diminished and I finally breathe in the smell of home.
For me, it was unexpected. I had never really thought about it, the transformation of my mindset. But I know for many of us the search for home is ongoing, forcing us to drift, and feel like a nomad with no place to go. I think this all depends on your definition of home. If you see it simply as a place you reside than perhaps it's easier to discover. But if, like me, you see it as a place one feels secure, loved, and accepted then it becomes something entirely different! Establishing this type of “home,” requires vulnerability, flexibility and love. It requires more than just you contributing and this creates family.
While I definitely miss my family and friends back ‘home,’ I know that I am where I am supposed to be. I’ve sought to build a home for myself here in Cambodia. I’ve discovered so many wonderful people who have welcomed me, allowed me to walk alongside them and has loved me even when I’ve been distance due to my homesickness.
So what’s your definition? This is so important to think about. What kind of home do you want to create? This will show you exactly what you value in life. This is something that needs to be thought about especially as you begin to create habits and decide where you want to plant roots.
No matter where you travel in the world, you want to be able to learn what it takes to be vulnerable, flexible, and show love to those around you. Stepping into these values allows people to feel at “home” with you and gives you time to settle where you are. Very few of us all meant to roam the earth with our belongings on our backs and no roots planted anywhere.
So look out your window, what are the sights and sounds that you hear? What and who contributes to your definition of home? It’s such a comforting feeling to look around and realize you're home. No matter where you are.