In Search of Home

I’m typing this post from the windowsill of my apartment in Barcelona. I’m here to experience living like a local, thanks to HouseTrip and that’s exactly what I feel like I’m actually doing, as much as one can in three days.

This is my second time in Barcelona and I recognize landmarks and street names because of my last visit. I know what to expect when I order a cafe con leche and the particular staccato of the Catalan accent is one that sounds like music to my ears now.
I spent all summer in New York City, only leaving for one very short weekend. I worked part time in a wine shop and had a shared apartment in Dumbo, then a place all to myself on a quiet street in Brooklyn. I got to know the guy at the bodega on the corner and he knew me well enough to call me by name. I had month long subway passes, coming and going on the C train like I owned it and could navigate it with my eyes closed. But something wasn’t quite right. While I love New York City with a passion that I expect will last till I die, after trying to make it a home for a year, this summer something fell short. There were moments of brilliance like a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge with a friend and an afternoon with a man in Central Park, filming Bites of the Big Apple and even a late night bike ride through Brooklyn that reminded me how much I love biking.

Yet I had to leave because as every day of summer dragged by the feeling that something was wrong became stronger and stronger until when I did finally step on a plane this week — I understood. I’m still in search of home. I have been all my life, never really feeling complete anywhere since my family took me from Vermont, where I was born — but it’s not home anymore now that there are no family or friends left there. Home is a nebulous concept I have never been fully able to pin down. This month I realized how much that bothers me. Swiftly behind that realization was the idea that I have the power to figure it out. I can choose to search for a home, or the meaning of the word, at least.

I’m trying to pin it down because as I get older it bothers me more than ever that other people understand this thing which I do not. How are other people so tied to this place or another when no one place bids me stay? … This journey that started with a Delta airlines flight Monday will take me to Spain, Indonesia, Italy, the UK and possibly a few other places before I return to the United States in November. Will New York feel like home then? Will I find it in another country? Or with a person? With friends as I travel? I don’t know. But I go in search of the answers…

Can you relate at all? I’d love it if you could share your story with me.



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  • http://www.storiesofconflictandlove.com Roxanne

    Oh these photos, Kirsten… There are few more inspiring places to look for a home than Barcelona, I would imagine. Thank you for sharing your snippets of it with you. And savor the journey…

    • http://www.aviatorsandacamera.com/ Kirsten Alana

      Thank you so much my dear Roxanne! I am most certainly savoring the journey. So far, at least once every day, I have done something just for me outside the press trip experiences and other obligations and I am so incredibly grateful I can have these experiences.

      Even with some things that are difficult I am very aware how truly blessed I am. Particularly to “know” beautiful souls such as yourself who are on journeys as well.

  • http://twitter.com/BritSeeingStars Britany Robinson

    Yes, yes yes! I feel like you’re me, a few months ahead of time. I have lived all over the country and never grown particularly attached to a certain place. I moved to NYC one year ago and my lease concludes in 2 weeks! I will then be moving home for a few months and have a one way ticket to Bogota booked for Dec. 31st. I, too, wanted to love New York but have felt that something was missing since moving here. That something is that I’m still dying to explore more of the world so that’s what I’m going to do! So excited to follow your adventure as we both look for the meaning of “Home.” Good luck out there, girl!

    • http://www.aviatorsandacamera.com/ Kirsten Alana

      Glad to know we have something in common. Thank you so much for commenting Britany!

      I wish you all the best and much love in your search as well. Bogota sounds very exciting!!

  • http://www.kimolsonphoto.com/ kimolsonphoto

    Kirsten & Britany, I’m there with you, too! I’ve never lived in NYC, but it seems like I’ve been all over other places (HI, CA, MT) and back again to where I grew up (CO). No place ever feels right and so off I go to another. Next up is AK – but only for a year. After that? Who knows…

    I think part of it’s just the journey of exploring and I guess it might just take a bit longer for some of us to find a place to call home. At least for more than a year. :)

    • http://www.aviatorsandacamera.com/ Kirsten Alana

      Looks like we’re in good company. Happy to have this theme in common with you both.

      Best of luck and much love to you as you search as well!

  • jouljet

    I think some are naturally drawn to somewhere, where they are, as home….and others of us roam, and need to find home within! But good luck with the search – will be interested in what you feel about NYC upon your return.

    • http://www.aviatorsandacamera.com/ Kirsten Alana

      Thank you so much! I wonder how I will feel about NYC when I return as well…

  • louloufrance

    I knew France would feel like home long before I ever moved here. You’ll find your home and you’ll know the instant that you do. Enjoy your search!

    • http://www.aviatorsandacamera.com/ Kirsten Alana

      Thank you for the encouragement! I believe you will be right.

  • http://www.novacationrequired.com Caanan @ No Vacation Required

    So much good stuff here.

    Barcelona = wow!

    I appreciate that you have the courage to be honest about your journey. Never stop leaning into the search for answers.

    • http://www.aviatorsandacamera.com/ Kirsten Alana

      Thank you my loves. I certainly don’t shy away from searching. Seems to be my life story and I am ever grateful for your support and love in my journey. Can’t wait to journey WITH you through those islands….

  • http://twitter.com/100Mileshighway Katherina

    I know what you mean, Kirsten… I haven’t felt the sort of connection to a particular place for a long time. I think home can b many places and none particular one at the same time. For me, home is in the Canary Islands because it’s where I was born and my family lives… but it’s also Madrid because it’s where I’ve left most of my friends. Then, home was Switzerland for a while… and now I’m working on it to be London. I wouldn’t know which one to settle down for… which is why I continue searching further :)

  • http://twitter.com/Mikeachim Mike Sowden

    You and me both. My sense of home disappeared the moment I left York in April, and weirdly, York suddenly felt like it had never really been home – so suddenly I felt like I’d been looking for home for over a decade, but stupidly staying in one place while I did it. Most disconcerting.

    Marvin Gaye said “wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home”. I just realised I don’t have a hat. Hey, maybe that’s it! (#ZOMG)

    So, the question I put to you: what elements or experiences would make you feel like you’re truly home?

  • http://a-sense-of-place.com Erin

    First, that fig photo has me drooling.

    Second, I totally relate to not having a home. I’ve lived in six states, went to five schools growing up, and have friends and family scattered over so many places that nothing feels like it’s “my* home. The hubs and the furball, wherever we might be, make that particular place home for a while. I hope you find something or some place or someone that clicks.

  • Janisse Larsson

    Wonderful thoughts that I well understand.

  • http://twitter.com/EthanAdeland Ethan Adeland

    Oh PT, it’s an unsettling feeling and not a good feeling. It’s something I’m still struggling with being in the same city for almost a year and I keep waiting for a sign or a person or something that will give me a sense of belonging in a postal/zip code. Hope you find it soon and enjoy the journey to the answer.

  • http://twitter.com/AngieAway Angie Orth

    I feel this way so much! Even though technically I’ve been *home* for a few months, it’s just not quite “it.” Yet. Not sure when that feeling will kick in… if ever… but hey, at least we’re in the same boat =)

  • christinenegroni

    Kirsten, I can’t say what I like more, the words or the photographs. You may travel the world and I hope you do, but home is something you find inside yourself. I pray you will someday understand what I mean by this. I’m so glad I met you. Christine

  • http://www.wildsofwherever.com/ Callie

    Totally know what you mean – one of the things I’m looking for on my travels is a place I would be satisfied staying in for a long time. I’m fascinated by people who don’t feel the need to leave their hometown – I would love to know what that feeling is like. Also, gorgeous pics (like usual). You’re making me want to go to Barcelona, even though that’s where I already am! Btw, what’s that cafe with the red wall?

  • http://twitter.com/womenontheroad Leyla Giray

    Absolutely completely relate. I do sometimes envy those who actually have a ‘place’ to call home. ‘ve moved around since infancy and can’t even figure out my nationality (I have 3). I always thought home was where my family was but as I got older and my family dwindled that went away too. So I live in France, where I was born but don’t know anyone. I moved here from Canada, where I have no one left. My brother lives in the USA, my friends are around the world, I work in Switzerland… with so much confusion I had to create my home by decree: I simply decided where it would be. The good news is that decisions are reversible so I can always move on…

  • thenorthernist

    I do relate in some ways, but it’s quite difficult to put in to words. I’ve managed to find a few places in the world I feel at home; my college town in Massachusetts and Edinburgh, to name two. The UK feels more like home to me now than the US, but that makes trips to the US more fun in a way. Sometimes home is people, sometimes it’s location or a mix of the two. The only problem with multiple ‘homes’ is that you can only live in one at a time! I hope you enjoy the journey towards wherever you find home to be.

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