One of my friends, Shirley, received a writing fellowship and is currently enjoying a temporary home. Another friend, Janet, recently wrote about her love affair with an island home. Marian downsized homes and moved across town. Sandi moved from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast.

Home. Unlike turtles, most of us don’t carry ours on our back:

  • For some it’s a geographic location… the place they were born, or grew up.
  • For others it might be a person. When my mother was alive, if I announced, “I’m flying home,” Len knew that meant I was going to visit my mom.
  • For many it’s a feeling—a safe place with emotional attachment that has less to do with the physical structure, and everything to do with positive, loving energy.
  • For some it is a specific, tangible structure.

What is home to you?

© lauriebuchanan.com

83 thoughts on “Turtleback

  1. Hi Laurie

    Complex topic.

    Home right now is here at 1 Maui Street Kaikoura.
    Just 3 dogs and me at present. Looking after Mena for Al and Jody while they’re overseas.

    Home for me is a familiarity with place, knowing that I have all my tools, my reserves, what security I can muster.
    Home is also relationships, neighbours, golf club, cycle club, boat club, tramping club, Lions club, all the people in all the organisations and businesses I interact with.
    All of my online communities, including here with you.

    And there are shadows of Waitakaruru, where I lived for 34 years before moving here 18 years ago. Still friends and family there.

    And there is Papakura, where I was born, and where my paternal grandparents lived all the time I knew them.

    And New Zealand as a place feels like home when I am somewhere else.
    I have traveled most of the roads in NZ, and flown over most of the country, much of it at 1,000ft AGL or less.

    And when I think about traveling the universe starting in about 5,000 time, then the Earth, the solar system, and the milky way galaxy feel like home.

    So home is a very context sensitive sort of an idea.

    And I am rather fond of 1 Maui Street, and the lady that shares it with me (even if she is off on an Island in the Hauraki Gulf as I write this).

    • Ted — Familiarity, relationships, communities (near and far / in person and online), I agree with your perspective.

      Even though we’ve only lived in Boise for 2 years, we feel more at “home” here then we ever did in Crystal Lake, Illinois where we lived for over 22 years. It’s all of the things you said, plus the actual geographic location resonates so much better with our individual energy (that, and not having to shovel snow)…

  2. Do turtles shed their shells when they no longer serve them? I’ve shed so many homes over the years. I’m thinking this morning of a beautiful little cabin on an island off the coast of Maine. It was a womb that protected me and allowed me to heal and grow for almost five years. But eventually wombs confine and growth is no longer possible. I had to leave it behind for a new home in the city.

  3. Home has layers of meaning for me. Right now it’s where my husband is most of the time in Virginia. But also, it’s in PA where my mother and siblings live. Ultimately home is where I go when I die. Today is another step in the long journey home.

  4. I still refer to La Coruña, north west Spain, as my home, as it is where I grew up and where most of my siblings and their children still live. It was indeed La Coruña where I flew last week to get my passport renewed thanks to my family’s help and support. All done now! 👍

  5. Home is where the heart is. Right now it’s in our new home closer to children. The house where we raised our children is empty, ready for a new family. Once so very attached to it, I cherish its memories, but not the house itself bereft now of our furnishings and our “spirit.” In a few days I go to visit the home place of close relatives I love in another state.

    Our carapace through life is portable and temporary. Casting off one, we inhabit another. Yes: Home is where the heart is.

    P.S. I like your new photo, true blue, so you!

    • Marian — I had to look up the word “carapace.” (Now I’m probably going to use it all the time). I love how you used it in your comment: “Our carapace through life is portable and temporary. Casting off one, we inhabit another.” Yes, indeed! 🙂

      I’m glad you like my new photo. When I cast off my blue carapace, I have a persimmon one to replace it 🙂

  6. Home until early 2015 was our parents home where we all grew up. Now, with both our parents gone and the family home sold. All of the siblings (to greater and lesser degrees) are adjusting to a new sense of home. In the past, our family house was home as heart space, home as memory holder, home as gathering space. Now we together carry the family heart space, the memories, and gather in each others’ homes where love abides (and now and then discord pops up too due to our numbers and diversity).

    For me, home is primarily an interior space (I hold home within), physical space is a manifestation or reflection of that interior me in some ways.
    I also have homes with others; family (as mentioned above), as well as friends of various types. And, there is a special sense of home with a growing “tribe” of people with whom there is resonance.
    Thanks Laurie for this reflection!

    • Audrey — I love that your home is “primarily an interior space.” That resonates strongly with me. Like you I have family, friends, and tribe who I hold sacred space with, but in terms of being home—truly home—it’s an inner landscape.

  7. I’ve asked myself this question for many, many years, as I always felt like a wandering wayfarer. I long for home, but never seem to find it. The house we have lived in for 20 years and raised our kids never felt like “home” to me. I liked it. It worked. It wasn’t home. We want to move somewhere where we will feel a sense of home and connectivity – to start over – but have no clue where to go! Moving closer to our kids is very appealing and yet I really don’t like anything about that part of our beautiful country. The ocean is too far away from them, the mountains too far from the ocean. It’s just a longing, I realize, for connection, for an anchor and the closest I come to experiencing that is in my heart. As Marian said, home is where the heart is and my heart is with my husband and my children. My heart also could not survive without a deep connection to nature. The earth and all of its abundance breathes life into me and anchors me in a way that nothing else does.

  8. When my parents were alive–much like yourself, Laurie–my ‘home’ was their house. I still find myself referring to my place of birth as ‘home’–Eriksdale, Manitoba. Even though, I’m very happy on my island ‘home’–Mayne Island, BC.

  9. Thanks, Laurie. This is something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot. I’m originally from Barcelona but moved to the UK over 24 years ago and here I’ve lived in many places, although bought a house a few years back. Due to my parents’ ill health, I’ve spent plenty of time over the last two years back in Barcelona, and other circumstances have conspired to make me wonder where home is. I now work from my computer, and over the years many of my friends have moved to other countries too, so I don’t think I know. Perhaps I haven’t found it yet.

    • Olga — When we lived for 22+ years in Crystal Lake, Illinois, it was ok. Nothing bad whatsoever, but it didn’t have the “home” ring to it. Two years ago when we relocated to Boise, Idaho (after 2 years of research), we knew in a heartbeat that this was “home” (as far as geographic locations are concerned). You just haven’t landed there yet, but I promise you this. You’ll know it in a nano-second when you arrive 🙂

    • Caroline — I’m going to reply to you with the same response that I just gave Olga because it’s oh-so-true:

      When we lived for 22+ years in Crystal Lake, Illinois, it was ok. Nothing bad whatsoever, but it didn’t have the “home” ring to it. Two years ago when we relocated to Boise, Idaho (after 2 years of research), we knew in a heartbeat that this was “home” (as far as geographic locations are concerned). You just haven’t landed there yet, but I promise you this. You’ll know it in a nano-second when you arrive 🙂

  10. I’ve moved so much in my life, I’ve never had one place I’ve called home. For me, Home is where I happen to be now, with the love of my life and my dogs and cat. Wherever we all together is the best place in the whole world.

  11. I find home inside me every day. That centered peaceful place that is always there filled with acceptance and love.
    My roots are in Scotland.
    My heart is with all those I love.
    All of the above, are the best places to be 💛

  12. I’d say home is a place where you feel at ease… And somewhere you belong 💞 it does not have exclusively to do with your house, of course 😉… beautiful post, Laurie. Best to you. Aquileana. 😄

  13. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have shifted geographies at some point, but I’ve actually lived in the same home for more than 40 years at this point. We moved in to our home when I was 22 years old! I think “home” is our outdoor space, garden and giant oak tree. The structure, less so, although I wouldn’t want to put that theory to a test, I don’t think. Two years ago we built a small back house for ourselves so that we could feel like we’ve downsized some, and our daughter and family live in the “big” house. At this point I can’t really envision ever leaving, but I think about the future and do wonder. 🙂

    • Debra — Oh how COOL that you downsized to a small back house and your daughter and family live in the big house! You can help them, they can help you — it seems ideal no matter how you slice it 🙂

  14. Lovely post, Laurie. You ask such a fundamental question.

    A quote from the Dali Lama that I used in my memoir, At Home on the Kazakh Steppe, will suffice. “Wherever you are happy, you can call home.”

  15. I agree with Marian that home is where the heart is. My parents and grandparents moved several times, so I don’t have a family home. When I was in college, I went “home” to the house my mom bought when I was entering high school. I was a little sad when she sold it because it was such a cool house, but I was married then, and it was just her and my niece living in the 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom place. I like my house, and it feels like home because we’ve been here for close to thirty years. But I could see living somewhere else, too. I imagine our girls would be a little sad if we sold this place because it is their family home. I was pregnant with our older daughter when we moved in.

    • Merril — I’m confident your girls would be a bit sad if you sold the home they grew up in. It’s got to house oodles of fond memories for everyone concerned. It’s cool though that you can see living somewhere else. Who knows, maybe one of your daughters would want to purchase it as THEIR home one day? 🙂

      • Well, I dread the thought of someday having to get the house ready to sell. But I don’t think either daughter would want it. (And one daughter lives in Boston, while we’re in NJ.) 🙂

  16. Home is the community where I’ve lived for the past 45 years, in my present house for 23! But Chicago is where I grew up–on the West Side. Several years ago I went back to my former church, Bethel Lutheran, in my old West Garfield Park neighborhood, to write about “different worlds” for a nonfiction writing class.
    You see, my former community is and has been almost 100% African American for more than 50 years. The church service had a Lutheran Liturgy, but with joyous gospel music and an interactive service–it was a rush of positive feelings.
    Visitors were asked to introduce themselves, which I did, virtually the only white person in the congregation, explaining I’d grown up just a block away. After the service SO many people came up to me to say “Welcome home, Linda!” It made me (and still does) misty-eyed. I wrote an essay about the experience, “Going Home.”
    You can read it here: http://lindagartz.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Going-Home-new.pdf (sorry for not linking more elegantly) My website will be shut down soon for maintenance and refurbishing soon, but it’s still up as of this moment.
    Thanks, Laurie, for inspiring me to recall this beautiful memory!

  17. Laurie, so many of us have wandered from our family’s traditional hearths and dooryards in this Age of Mobility that the term “Hometown” has little meaning anymore. I know many people who’ve never met or had extended contact with their grandparents for one reason or another. Today cousins are an oddity to folks who are seldom even in contact with their own siblings. Having been born into an Air Force family, I was raised with the experience of being moved from pillar to post quite frequently, from one set of Base Housing to another hundreds of miles away. One consistent thread ran through all this to-ing and fro-ing, these places were not our “Home”, Home would be in Cherokee County, Georgia where my Father’s family had been living on the same wide acreage since the early 1800’s. We returned to Georgia in due time and even though I have lived in other states temporarily for work purposes, Cherokee County is my Homeplace. I now live in So. California as it is the Home of my new husband, but my roots are in and will remain firmly planted in the red clay hills of North Georgia.

  18. Laurie, thanks for the writing prompt. I know this is the time for me to write about what home means to me. I have been away for most of a month, only home twice for a total of 3 nights in Sept.. As I realized I only need to be away a couple nights a week in Oct., I dreamed about a copper boat that is a steel drum. It’s played by striking a keyboard along it’s side which strikes the boat from the inside making music like nothing I’ve heard. In Greece, homecoming is represented by a copper or brass boat. I just have to write about this. Thanks!

  19. Beautiful question, and I realize that my first honest answer is: where my husband and I land, that’s home. In some ways I wish we did just live in a shell – sure would make moving a lot easier. But with each move, it has affirmed that home IS where the heart is.

  20. Home is where I live and thrive – my house, my garden, my city. I know that is true because whenever I travel (which isn’t often or far), I always am glad to get home even if the journey back turns into a nightmare as it has the past three years from visiting my cousins (public transit and too much traffic). So home is also getting away from too much noise, too much confusion, too much traffic, too much outside encroaching on me. But home is also my family and friends, my writing and writing colleagues. Home is the only good four-letter word.

  21. Wow have you opened a can of worms . Everyone’s reflection are inspiring .
    I spent the summer of my childhood here where I live now in West Wales and here I am back again . How I loved the summer spent with my parents , having adventures on the beach with newly made friends , in my subconscious I must have dreamt of living here . I do remember never wanting to go home . I never have to now cos I live here …I’m so lucky . Hey Laurie the launch is near are you excited ❓

    • Cherry — I know you adore your home and surround area. I’m thrilled that you live in your dream location!

      And yes, I’m waaaaaaay over the moon with excitement about the book launch. Woohoo! 🙂

  22. Even though I don’t live there anymore, home for me will always be that little black dot on the map in southern Indiana known as New Albany! Although I’m hoping the capital I invested in the Idaho potato futures this year pays off and I will be calling Outer Banks, NC my new home :).

    • Gary — I sure hope you checked with the Tater family before you invested in those potato futures!

      The dad, Dick Tater, is terribly bossy, but his wife, Sweet Tater, is pleasant as can be. Their teenaged son, Speck Tater, simply doesn’t want to get involved, and his sister, Emma Tater, constantly copies what her peers do. Then there’s the young twins — the Tater Tots. Who knows how they’re going to turn out?

  23. Laurie, I think most of us would little odd if we were turtles because we’d be carrying multiple homes on our backs. Home for me is where I live now, my parents’ place where I did some of my growing up, my blog which is my blogging home and being Australian, which not only comes into play when I travel, but also when I blog, which is virtual travel.
    BTW, Laurie, I went down to our beach the other day taking the kids to their surf lesson. I looked up from photographing them, to see a group of Tibetan Monks holding surfboards on the beach. Naturally, I ceased photographing my kids and was somewhat distracted. After all, it’s not something you see every day if at all!
    Here are the links: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2016/10/06/gyuto-monks-of-tibet-in-australia/
    I’ll have to check out your book. All the best with it.
    xx Rowena

    • Rowena — I just followed your links. How COOL is that?!

      Thank you for the well wishes for my book, I appreciate it. If you guys have Amazon down under, you’ll be able to order my book through them.

  24. Not an easy answer. When I say “back home” I refer to Finland and Sweden where I was born and raised. But when I say “home” I express an emotional attachment to where we live now, mainly the environment. I think.

  25. I love the picture. When my daughter was young, we had a ‘home’, even though we had moved three times. Now when I am living alone, ‘home’ is something more abstract 🙂

  26. Well…home is of course on the icy world of Europa out in the Jupiter system! The home of the Icewolves! Nowhere am I more at home than in the celestial night surrounded by the light of a thousand worlds, and the sultry call of the wolfsong echos through the stars of another world 🙂 Big Wolfie hugs to you! 🙂 x

  27. Homes change so drastically throughout our lives and yet Home for me can be many places for example a barn, the woods, our cabin, my huge truck I drive. With that said, I would conclude home is a feeling in my world. It’s a place where I can relax away from the crowds of the world and be with ones I love. I think that is why I loved Cynthia Reyes’ books so much (A Good Home and An Honest House) as I feel the connection to places that ultimately bring me peace. Great post! Tina

  28. Forr me it would be all FOUR of your reasons that have kept me living my entire 62 years in my hometown, the one I was born in. The geography of NYC in the backyard, the family and friends in an ever-changing community where many have left years ago and for me a suffocating sense of nostalgia, which I guess has its plusses and minuses.

    • Sam — You could probably walk the streets of your city blindfolded!

      My writer’s eye caught and hung onto your wonderful turn of phrase: “…a suffocating sense of nostalgia…” I love it!

  29. My sense of home is being with kindred spirits. And also my real home, it gives me a sense of security. I spend a lot of time at home because I have everything I need.

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