As a TCK, we find ourselves changing with each new location. As a digital nomad, I live in many places at once. The luggage, trains, planes, trams, and automobiles is so much flurry that it doesn't leave me a second to grieve. A proper farewell.
Its important to be able to have a proper farewell to the places and faces we once loved.
When you grow up mobile, the sense of identity and home is skewed because its never a constant place. Sometimes TCKs associate their previous homes as places but some associate them to the faces. The people they forged real connections with. I think its important to be able reflect and grieve properly on those physical places and people once they are gone.
Like a proper break up.
I met up with a TCK friend of mine recently and she was telling me about her weird break up with a man she had been dating for a while. She told me that she felt shattered because it felt like a part of her sense of home was pulled from under the rug. She found solace in the people she chose to get close to for a sense of home and normalcy. It got me to thinking about my own friendships and romantic relationships. I was in a long distance relationship with a man for a few years and recently had to make the decision to tell him that I couldn't keep flying to his town anymore. Long story short, I felt terrible but then we had a couple days of saying a proper goodbye. We visited my favorite places in town, reminisced about all the good times we had traveling together and the first time we met halfway across the globe, they were all good memories. Memories are my home.
I found solace in creating memories that would mark time periods of my life that I felt at home. Home is not a physical place for me but I get these questions a lot by well meaning family and friends.
"Where do you want to settle down?"
"You need to find a permanent place to settle down."
"Just pick a place and settle down."
"Where do you see yourself permanently?"
"Are you going to keep traveling?"
"You can't keep on traveling. You need to set down roots"
These are all valid concerns and questions by all the people that have said them to me. To be honest, I can't answer the questions. I feel very conflicted because in my heart I have places and countries I would love to live in for a long period of time and settle for a while BUT then its a challenge to live there due to logistical, political, and visas. Believe me, I have tried to apply for jobs and live in my chosen places. I have struggled for so many years.
My passport pulls me back in many respects and I have not been able to accept it. It has to do with something greater than just me. It becomes a power struggle of politics, privilege, and current affairs.
But all I know is this. People and places that make me feel welcome feel like home. Sometimes there's a gut feeling that you just feel so comfortable there. Its like falling in love. I remember when I fell in love with a city. I made it my home for as long as I could until I had to leave. It broke my heart.
Home is a feeling. A memory. And a comfort.
I don't know where I'll be but I will know when I am home.
It will be a place of comfort, love, support, and warmth to me.