What makes a place a home? This is a very personal question, as in unique to the individual.
Home isn’t important to everyone. It can be a transitory state for some, changeable on a regular basis with no anchorage required. For others it is essential, the ballast that keeps them steady despite the buffeting of the storms of life. For me it is the latter.
Life stage can also have an impact. Are you starting out, travelling in the pursuit of work, experiences or relationships? Do you prefer to have the support of family or friends nearby? Or is solo more your style? Would you consider moving to a location where you had no ties, a clean slate to start from? Or do you prefer the familiarity of friends, family, acquaintances?
What you might look for in a home also changes over time. Quite apart from the physical state of a home, be it a house, unit, bedsit or share house, there is the social space, the cultural environment and atmosphere around where you live to take into consideration. It might be sporting facilities or galleries or live music venues that you seek. Or it could be medical facilities, childcare and educational options.
I’ve been traveling in the past week, and it is enjoyable to head through different towns and to get a feel for a place. Of course this is only a passing experience. Staying in a place for a few days is completely different to relocating your life or spending a longer period of time in an area, but I do like to play a bit of ‘what if’. What if I did live here, or had the opportunity to move to a different place – what impact would that have on me and my life? There are some places where there is something that captures my interest and I can imagine spending more time there. Other places have no appeal whatsoever and I know that it wouldn’t be a good fit for me at this time.
Right now, I am very happy where I live. As I returned home today, seeing the familiar landmarks, feeling my heart lift as I looked out and glimpsed the valleys and rugged sandstone cliffs, getting out of the car and smelling the eucalyptus tang underfoot, I know I am in the right place for now. It was a beautiful winter afternoon with blue skies and sunshine and it just felt so good to be home.
What does home look like for you?
[Photo of an old home in the Hartley Valley]