I’ve been in the south of Spain for a couple of days, and have been talking to other writers down here.
It’s natural to want to put other people into some kind of context, so I wasn’t surprised when, shortly after I met her, one woman asked me “Where is home?”
Without much thought, I answered, “Spain.”
Then that began to rankle. It simply didn’t feel like the right answer.
Home. It’s not simply where you live, is it? It has to do with family and friends and a sense of belonging.
I’m reminded of teaching English years ago and being very attuned to whether the other teachers would say “I’ve lived in Spain…” or “I’ve been living in Spain for x years.”
The former were the ones who had ‘gone native’, the latter were more likely to be moving on at the end of the year. I have no idea which verb form I would use naturally – and having lived here for over twenty years, that might not actually be very informative anyway.
Anyway, I went on thinking about where my friends are, and where my life is.
I have family in the UK, and family in France, and I suppose I have friends all over the planet. But I may not see any of them from one year to the next and, apart from my partner, there’s no one within a hundred miles or more of where I live who matters more than superficially. As a ‘teleworker’, I don’t even have any colleagues in the locality.
Very quickly, I realised that the next time someone asks me “where is home?”, the right answer will be: “the internet.”
(The photo? A rather nice pebble-mosaic stepped street in Relleu. It’s relevance? Perhaps if you live on the internet all roads lead to home.)