Taking to the Open Road… A serious case of Wanderlust

Tunisia

No·mad              

  • One without a home who moves around or travels freely without ties holding them back
  • A constant or full time traveller

Ten years ago, I left sunny South Africa for London with no inclination of what would come or where I would end up.  I was driven by my dream, which I had since I was a little girl to see the world.  I was intrigued by far away flung places and cultures and I knew that I wanted to travel the world.

Earlier this year, after nearly a decade in London, I decided that I needed to spend more time on the things I love most. I needed to live in the moment and see what life wants to throw at me.  I have always said that I am happiest when… I am traveling and I have a camera in my hands and I am now three months in to my adventure.

I find myself, however, thinking a lot about home lately…  Where is home? Where do I feel most at home?  How do I make myself feel at home when I am not in the actual place I live?

The trouble with moving around is that you fall in love with new places.  A friend explained to me one sunny afternoon, that you end up leaving  a piece of your heart in each of them.  You have an inability or maybe is that more a case of an unwillingness to settle in one place as you are constantly drawn to another.  It makes you restless and curious.  You forgo the possibility of feeling at home and you become a nomad giving up the possibility of intimacy, of commitment. One of the drawbacks is a sense of “rootlessness”. The belief that you belong simultaneously everywhere and nowhere.

When I meet people and they ask me “So, where are you from?”,  I always determine what level of answer I want to share…  There’s the short story — “South Africa.”  There’s the potential story — “South Africa, but I spent ten years of my life living abroad.”  And finally there’s the all out response — “I am originally from South Africa but I lived in London for ten years and I now find myself in Sydney”.  I consider myself to be different parts of all these places and people.

Home does not always need to be a place, it is an experience of belonging, a feeling of being whole and known. It’s those attachments that liberate us more than they constrain. As the expression suggests, home is where we are from — the place where we begin to be.  “Home” has nothing to do with where I sleep or where I store my belongings. I am lucky to have an incredible community of family and friends who span the globe and welcome me with open arms when I find myself in their respective cities.  I’m so grateful to feel like I belong amongst so many groups of people and in so many places.  Hard as it may be to reconcile local and international homes, it is a privilege to have a chance to live in both and I am happy to know that I am woven into the web in so many different worlds.   The expression “home is where the heart is” – rings true. No matter where you end up, you are always at home.

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Comments

  1. Ilze, keep traveling until you feel you are at home. Sometimes it takes returning a couple times until you ‘know’. Eventually that decision will be influenced by factors such as love interest, friend circle, job satisfaction etc. Until then just live, love, travel until the rolling stone comes to rest :)

  2. Like you, whenever someone asks me, “where are you from” I always have to figure out how much of my story I want to share. I spent the first 18 years of my life in Malaysia, studied and worked in Australia for the next 7 years, then spent 4 years in London and New York before moving back to Australia. All of these places define me, so it’s a hard question to answer!

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