Where is HOME?

A good friend of mine shared a question posed by guitarist, Chris Wood on her Facebook page:

“Bob Dylan described eloquently how his music has been the quest to get home. Now as much as ever feels like a good time to ask you; what feels like home to you? Are you there already or do you still have a way to go?”

On the same day, singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran released a new song called “Castle on the Hill”. The song retraces the singer’s youth, returning to his former home and recalling his memories en route.

I grew up in a small rural town called Penrith in Cumbria, England. It’s a tourist town situated on the edge of the Lake District National Park. I return periodically but I’ve realised over the years how my fond memories are stored in music rather than the place itself.

I consider Penrith to be my home but every time I return I feel more distant, more disconnected. Maybe what I search for is my youth – to remember Penrith as I did back then and feel the way the town made me feel then – but lately it seems empty, soulless. The only way I can get that feeling back is by listening to music that reminds me of when it was my home. That works, then I miss it, then it feels like home again.

When my mind traces back through all the places I’ve lived, they each have songs associated with the memories. In that sense, each place feels like home. There’s a nostalgic pull to every dwelling for different reasons and different songs. For some, scents can also trigger memories of places they consider home.

But where is home? Is it the house or town you grew up in or the house or town where you raised your family? Maybe it’s the place you felt most loved or perhaps the place you gave most love to. How does our heart identify home?

For many, home is more than a memory. For refugees, home is their country; for the street children in Brazil and India, home is wherever they feel safest.

So are we all constantly striving to find home? Do creative people, like Bob Dylan, find sanctuary in their work?

I’ve spent hours pondering an answer to Chris Wood’s question and feel no definitive place as my home. The house where I live now, and watched my family grow, is my home but Penrith is my home town. Maybe I am still on that quest to go home, but I fear that home was a moment in time…

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on what you consider home and why, so please comment below.

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