This month a group of travel bloggers are all asking ourselves the same question, “Where do I come from?” The idea is that everyone will share something about their hometown. (This is the same group that wrote last month about how to reduce stress while traveling as a family.)
I have had major writer’s block because I don’t even know which town to write about! In 28 years I have lived in:
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Windsor, Connecticut
- Americus, Georgia
- Rincon, Georgia
- Sumter, South Carolina
- Cary, North Carolina
- Blacksburg, Virginia
- Durham, North Carolina
- Mebane, North Carolina
- Graham, North Carolina
- Menlo Park, California
If forced to choose I would say that I grew up in Sumter. I was there from when I was 7 to 15 and most of my earliest childhood memories took place here. I had wonderful friends and I remember my time here fondly. However, visiting Sumter doesn’t feel like “going home” anymore. It’s been too long and too much has changed.
I do still regularly visit Cary. My parents live there and I still have friends in the area, but since I only ever lived there for 3 years, I never considered it my hometown.
The strongest pull on my heartstrings is for Blacksburg. Oh Blacksburg, I love you. Possibly because this was the first place I chose to live. Possibly because I made incredible friends here. Possibly because I met my husband and married him here. Possibly because Virginia Tech is the most beautiful campus in the world and is surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Even though I love Blacksburg and it holds an incredibly special place in my heart, going back doesn’t feel like “going home” either. Since it’s a small college town, all of my friends had left within a couple years of graduation, and there’s not much occasion or opportunity to go back. We swung through town 4 years ago on our babymoon but that’s the last time we’ve been.
My time in Blacksburg was so special, but it is strongest and sweetest in memory. You can bet it’s going to be a stop on HJ and K’s college tour though! No matter where we’re living!
So I’ve lived in all these places and I remember them fondly, but where am I really from? Is not knowing bad? Am I missing out on something? Do I want the same for my children? Do I want different?
Honestly, I don’t care if my children have a hometown or not. Maybe where we live now will turn out to be it, or maybe we’ll move on after awhile. I do hope that they will have a very strong sense of home, but I don’t want or need that home to be a physical address.
When we moved growing up there were always a ton of changes, but a few things stayed the same no matter where we went. I always had my parents and I always had my brothers. Starting over in a new place is hard, but it makes you rely on the relationships that matter.
I’ve already mentioned that my parent’s town doesn’t feel like home, but their house does, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the building. My parents could move to Japan and visiting them would still feel like going home.
The thing about attachment is that it’s a learned skill and it’s not limiting. All those years I spent moving around with my parents and brothers taught me the importance of family and allowed me to go into the world and start my own. Now I have two homes: the one I chose with my husband and children and the one I was born into.
That is what I want for my children. I want them to know that wherever they go in the world, they will always be loved and looked for. And I want them to be skilled and practiced in love and commitment, so when they start their own family, it is strong. I want them to know that home is truly where the heart is.
So where are other travel bloggers from?
Going Where the Wind Blows doesn’t have a hometown either, but click the link to learn more about their home story!
Travels with Jess is from Hervey Bay in Australia.
World Schooler Exchange is from Sterling in Scotland.
Lots of Planets have a North is from Victor Harbor in Australia.
Border Free Adventures writes about what home means to them.