After traveling for over ten months now, I often start to ask myself: where is home?
I have visited so many places. Just to recall, I have been to Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Santiago, Valparaiso, San Francisco, Melbourne, Hobart, Sydney, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and all through New Zealand, Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima, Zurich, Istanbul, Tel Aviv, Montréal, Seattle, Vancouver and, again, San Francisco.
I have felt very good in most of these cities. Some were more welcoming than others, even though I think that those where I felt least at home where those where I did not have enough time to get ‘into’ them.
Still, I feel like I could live in all of these cities, if I chose to, and I would have a good life there.
I already started to make friends, get to know my way around, had some favorite hang-out places.
I know it is not as if I had lived there. But I’d say in each city I managed to create a platform from which to jump off on, into that city.
And had I decided to stay or found a job there, I would have found friends, and been happy.
I get asked a lot which cities were my favorites. Impossible to chose, but I’d say the main contenders would be, in alphabetical order: Buenos Aires, Melbourne, Montréal, Santiago, Seattle.
I am not counting San Francisco here, it’s unfair, after spending a summer here in 2007 and coming back 17 times since then, it’s not competing. I know I want to live here.
And so I ask myself, am I totally random by now? Do I have no more roots left? Don’t I miss home? Home-home, where my parers live, at Lake Constance? Home for the last 12 years, Brussels? My other favorite cities, London and Paris?
I wonder what it will be like to go back to Brussels and settle back into a job. Will I manage to rediscover the city that I left, pretty much very happy to leave it? I hope I can have an open heart and open mind to be happy there, again.
However, if after some time I feel that this is not happening, I know I will have to make a bigger cut, and leave.
After having seen all those possibilities and cities where I could also he happy, I don’t want to come back into the grey treadmill and just be in a city because I have a job there.
I have no idea how this will play out. It’s an experiment.
What this trip has given me so far though is a new idea for retirement! Yeah, I’m thinking that far now…
I always dreamt to get a place somewhere on the North American West Coast, be it Vancouver, Seattle, Portland or San Francisco, and retire.
Now, what I think I’d like to do is something similar to this trip. Why settle for one place, if you can live them all?
Maybe I’ll be a vagabond, and move around, and live in different places. Not just one month, maybe six months, maybe longer. And when I want, I move on.
Health permitting, of course. But this could be a fun project.
Then again, my friend Renato gave me something to think about. Maybe, with all this traveling, I’d still need a home base. Something to come home to. Yes, maybe. I might be too caught up in my traveling right now to see that.
Meike Winnemuth comes to mind, the journalist whose world tour gave me the inspiration for my own trip. This year, she went on a one year trip through Germany, discovering her native country by living in different cities.
However, she stopped it after five months and returned to Hamburg. She needed to touch base with home, before she could jump off, again, she said.
Maybe I’ll come to this point, too. Probably. But I’m not there yet.
Anyway, no definite answers here. Just lost of questions.
Sorry for my babbling. I just let you have part of a train of thought that crossed my mind here.