Blogging every day of June - Blog 11 - What is home?

By the look in your eyes, I can tell you're gonna cryIs it over me? If it is save your tears, because I'm not worth it, you see For I'm the type of boy who is always, on the run... Wherever I lay my hat, that's my home....

Paul Young - Wherever I lay my hat

Tonight's blog was a suggestion from a friend, after we were talking about our heritage.  Home is an interesting concept and it seems to me that it means different things to different people.  Some of my friends associate "home" with the place they grew up, and no matter how far away they live or how long they have been away, it always stays the same.  Others, like myself, feel home is where they are now, as long as their heart is also there.  For example, I lived in New Plymouth for two years after leaving my home city of Christchurch, but I never felt like it was home.  I now live in Auckland, and my heart is here both in terms of my partner, but also in terms of my sense of being.  I feel at home here, it feels right for me.

This has got me thinking about what that means?  Is it that Christchurch was never right for me?  Is it that my experiences there never left me feeling like it was a place I belonged.  Is it that I am escaping something that I don't want to face up to?  I think, in fact, it is just that I have moved on.  I suspect, I am like the song, when I am gone, I am gone and the place where I am, if it suits me, is MY place.  This should in theory mean I fit in anywhere, and I guess on many levels this is true.  I never had any issues in the towns I lived in.  I never felt homesick and made friends easily.  In some ways I envy those who still have a strong connection to where they grew up, but you can't invent what you don't have.

But what about the genetic feeling of home.  The feeling of home someone gets when they visit the country their parents or even grandparents were born in?  How does that come about and what does it mean?  A few years back I read a great book by a guy called Pete McCarthy.  It was called McCarthy's Bar.  He was born in England to Irish parents and he travelled back to Ireland to find out if his feelings of Irishness were imagined, or real and the result of some genetic hereditary thing.  It was a hilarious read, but also poignant.  He definitely had an association with the place, even if some of the things there were totally daft.  One woman, would not rent him a double room, because he was on his own.

I think there is something to the deep down feeling of home, when you visit a place, a country that your ancestors came from.  I am yet to experience it myself (having not been to Europe), but I get stirrings when I hear a lone Piper, and have a suspicion Scotland will feel very special to me.  Also, parts of England hold a mystique to me, especially around Lincolnshire.  I have no idea why but I intend to visit and find out if it feels special.  Others, have talked to me about their visits to the "homeland" and how it did effect them.  How much of that is the mind controlling your emotions because you are expecting it?  I dunno, but if you feel it, you feel it I guess.  I suspect that your parents, who they are, how they behave and raise you, and I guess your relatives, all impart their experiences into you at a young age and this feels right, when you are where they were shaped.