In Search of Home, Wherever It Might Be


In Search of Home: Wherever It Might Be

By Sarah Anton

Published in Global Living Magazine – Issue 20 | Sept/Oct 2015

This article is a follow-up feature to Sarah’s post A Foreign Language, My Birth Town, where she discusses her plans to visit her birth town for the first time as an adult, which she details below. 

11794605_956287974394303_3039875051730211288_oI never belonged anywhere.

From as long as I can remember, I was never home. Where most teenagers would find their second family in High School, I felt out of place. Where most adults created a family in their hometown, I felt like an outsider.

All my life, I felt like I did not belong. This outsider feeling started from a young age, as I changed schools, cities and countries every few years. I was always the new girl in school, never having time to create a bond or relationship with other students in my school. Of course, being a teenager, I just wanted to belong somewhere. At the time, the only way I could do that was by changing my identity every time I changed cities. By the end of High School, when most teenagers had somewhat of an understanding of who they were, I had absolutely no clue. I molded my identity to please others so often that I no longer knew who I truly was.

I was what my parents wanted, what my friends liked, what my teachers praised, but never who I loved.

After High School, I started my quest to find myself. In July 2015, I conquered the last challenge in my quest: visit my hometown.

People often call their hometown the place they were raised in. Since I haven’t lived enough consecutive years in one zip code to call it my home, I decided to go directly to my roots… on my own.

So, I booked my ticket to France, and flew away from everything and everyone I knew, to be alone with my thoughts in the country that gave birth to me. For 30 days, I would be completely alone, forcing me to connect again with the identity I’ve forgotten: my own.

When the time to board the plane finally arrived, I was extremely nervous. What if I don’t like France? What if I don’t feel at home there either? What if I come back still confused about who I am? It would’ve all been for nothing.

image10-2Thankfully, this trip has been everything I was expecting.

When I stepped foot in France, a feeling of relief washed over me. It was as if someone took all my worries and only left peace and happiness. I stood there, in the airport, silent, and I couldn’t help but smile. Even when I stepped outside, in the boiling heat, I smiled from ear to ear.

I spent the first two days in the center of Paris, a 10-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. I was warned, by my parents, that rooms in Europe are a bit smaller than those you find in North America, but I did not expect such a big difference in size. I was shocked, to say the least, but I didn’t let it ruin my stay in Paris. I left the room early in the morning and came back late at night, using all the hours I had in Paris to visit the beautiful city.

I sat on the Parisian terraces, sipping on my tea while people-watching, taking in everything the city had to offer. I walked, along the mesmerizing gardens of the Jardins de la Tuileries, smelling the flowers that were so perfectly planted. I munched on the delicate macarons of Laduree, feeling a piece of heaven enter my body with every bite I took.

That was it: Paris was my home.

READ MORE from this issue of Global Living Magazine

I couldn’t stay in Paris for more than two days, so when my time was up, I took the train to St-Raphael, in the French Riviera, where I stayed for six days. I was determined to feel at home there, since I was now in my home country, after all. For six days, I went about my day as if I lived there regularly. I went to the market in the morning – after running outside for an hour – to buy my food for the week, and then headed to the beach where I ‘baked under the sun for a few hours before it was time for lunch. Then, I made myself a delicious meal and enjoyed the rest of my day visiting the city.

image8-1After three days of visiting St-Raphael, I felt a deep connection to the city, as every corner I turned hosted a mesmerizing view that brought with it a feeling of peace and bliss. Since I was already on the French Riviera though, I decided to visit the nearby cities: Monaco, St-Tropez, and Nice. All three cities brought butterflies to my stomach, as I fell in love with each and every one.

That was it: the French Riviera was my home.

“Wait… wasn’t Paris home?” I thought.

That’s when I realized that home doesn’t have to be only one location. My heart is one that will never settle, constantly falling in love with new cities, calling new findings its home, as it feels at peace when on an adventure.

An unsettled heart, that’s who I am. Maybe you know the feeling, the one that constantly craves unknown adventures, and can’t stand the idea of zip code comfort. The heart that knows what it wants, without truly knowing where it wants it. One that can only be happy when it’s traveling.

Therefore, I packed my bags, once again, and left the French Riviera to feed my unsettled heart some new adventures. This time, in Italy. There, again, I fell in love with the romantic city of Verona, the mesmerizing views of Lake Garda, and the colorful buildings of Burano.

That was it: Italy was my home.

I knew better than to settle in Italy though, as I packed my bags for Switzerland six days after arriving in Italy. Two days, that’s all it took for me to call Switzerland my home. The decadent chocolate, the breathtaking Alps, and the picturesque nature that I found in Switzerland were everything that I sought after, and more.

That was it: Switzerland was my home.

I bid my new home farewell as I packed for Germany, from where I am currently writing. Everything about the country inspires home, as the streets are clean, the citizens seem like family, and the food is similar to what I grew up with. The language might be completely foreign to me, but somehow I still understand it through the magic of the Universal Language.

image4-1I’m heading to London tomorrow, a city so similar in language, but so different in lifestyle, and I’m excited to see what new adventures I can go on before heading back to Canada (my paper-official home).

When I booked a ticket to my hometown, I thought I would find myself by feeling (finally) at home. Although I did feel at home, it was this feeling that helped me find my true identity. The feeling of an unsettled heart, one that constantly seeks a new home, is what brought light to my previously blinded life.

Now, I know, I don’t belong just anywhere. I belong to the World.

Although I still don’t have a zip code to call home, I have an identity. I know who I am, what I want from life, and how to be happy. I found myself in the unknown, and I can’t wait to continue discovering who I am.

This adventure has helped me find my identity, and I will never let it go. I will bring it with me everywhere I travel, as this is not my last passport stamp.

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[Image: © Sarah Anton] 

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