Finding Your Place in the World
Have you ever felt a city jives with your personality, that it fosters a sense of community, support and inspires you to great lengths? While some places leave you feeling cold and lonely, removed from society, dejected and isolated.
What you truly desire is that connection to a place that makes you want to grow roots and stay for a while.
While I was born and raised in a small town in Iowa, I knew I would not stay forever. I had this ever present notion that my home was out there somewhere. Moving to Phoenix at the age of 20 was the first step. The big metropolis offered me room to expand my wings and to grow both personally and professionally, but somewhere, deep down I knew the city was a transition moving me from here to there. It wasn’t my ‘forever home.” From this knowing, I must ask, does one pinpoint on the map serve as our one and only home or do our needs and sense of belonging change as we set out into the world?
Maybe I was wired differently, but I have always been curious, a lifelong student, seeking to explore and learn about the world, its cultures and its people. I never felt like I fit in any one environment until I moved to Brussels, Belgium, four years ago, where many factors contributed to making the this so-called European capital feel like home, more so than any other place I lived, worked or studied before.
Home is subjective; it means different things to different people. This list serves as a guide to evaluate whether one destination satisfies your soul or is only a pass-through leading you to your journey’s end.
- Find Comfort and Security
Home is a place where you feel safe to just be, to relax and open yourself up to the greater world around you. It is a place where you can show your insecurities and be vulnerable without fear of rejection. These things make you feel grounded, comfortable, and sheltered from negative influences.
But we can’t fully revel in the good, if we have not experienced what life is like on the other side of the coin. It is important to recognize and understand when you are in an unsafe environment, often identified by:
- Unpleasant relationships;
- Unfamiliar surroundings;
- Unhygienic conditions.
Being able to differentiate these environments is not always easy, especially if feelings are involved. In order to bring stability back into your life, it is vital to either move on from these precarious circumstances or develop healthy boundaries to hinder feelings of physical or emotional pain.
- Create a Network
One of the best parts about moving to or visiting a new city is meeting the locals. While the house, apartment or condo provide the structural foundations that we consider home, it is the people that we interact with and call friends that add warmth to a place. Ask yourself if the community of individuals you interact with add to your happiness and push you to be a better person? It is in these environments where you feel understood and supported both physically and emotionally that you will build a deeper connection with a particular place.
You will know when you find this community of friends who support you and wish you only the best.
- Get Curious
Adventure, explore, discover. Get outside of your comfort zone and try something, anything for the first time. Make memories, get inspired and allow yourself to learn and grow, to see the world through the eyes of a child and allow these experiences to change you, leaving their footprint on your heart. Have enthusiasm and an open mind in all things you do. When you open yourself up to opportunity, you will be surprised at what is possible.
- Be a Loner
Have you ever been a solo traveler? While it is great to travel with friends in a group, there is something to be said about independent travel. It pushes you to be present and aware, responsible not only for your health and safety but for your spiritual well-being and growth. Solo travel allows you to go at your own pace, exploring those things that interest you without having to make concessions. It forces you to make your own decisions and be reflective. It is as much a physical awakening as it is an inward journey of understanding of what you value and want out of life.
Whether traveling or resettling, it is necessary to put yourself and your happiness as priority. It is not selfish but rather a token of self-love. You have this one precious life to live and it is up to you to make the most of it by engaging in a life that is fulfilling and purpose driven. These things are easily achieved when you are in an environment where you feel accepted and inspired to excel.
Remember, a home may serve its purpose in your life for a few years. We live in a generation unlike that of generations past. We go through various ebbs and flows in our lives. Different destinations across the globe will offer us the comfort and support we need in that moment. Much like certain relationships, they pass, having served a purpose to a point and the time comes to move one further afield to greener horizon. That is not to say that one spot on the map will draw you back time and again. Home is subjective and it is up to you decide where you lay your head to rest.
Written by Emily Dawn Szajda