This month on the Reset Instagram and website, I’m exploring the theme of home, how it shapes us and what that means for our travel experiences. Follow along on Instagram and get involved in the conversation.
The first question I ask every Reset interviewee is ‘where did you grow up and how has that shaped the person you are today?’ Although Reset explores who we become in unfamiliar surroundings and asks travellers about their personal experiences when abroad, I find our familiar surroundings interesting to explore as well - for without the familiar and without home, one could argue that our travels would have no meaning at all.
We travel to escape home. It is home that encourages us to leave and it is home through which we judge our travel experiences, comparing the unknown with what we’re accustomed to. Being able to sit on a beach all becomes meaningful because of our stressful jobs back in the city. Colourful surroundings and customs that are new to us become ‘exotic’ when placed against the dullness of suburbia. A journey across town is no longer tedious when it happens in a tuk tuk rather than a bus or an Uber. All of these things only become exciting because of home.
But what about the other way that home affects our journeys abroad? What about when we look down on other cultures or assume we know better than them (as we’ve seen recently with the argument of Westerners going to Africa and assuming they know better than the locals on how to fix their issues.) What about when we judge the ways of others as strange or even wrong? Sometimes we get so stuck in our ways - the ways that home has ingrained in us - that we can’t actually see past it. The tiny area that is home to us, becomes our whole world - the only world that we know about or understand.
When I was thinking about just how much home shapes our worldview, I came to the conclusion that we never really leave home at all. Or at least, home never leaves us. The best analogy I can think of, is to think of your home as a bubble that surrounds your entire body. This bubble has informed your beliefs, your politics, religions, attitudes towards certain people and things, the way you talk, act and even dress. The bubble always surrounds you wherever you go, meaning everything you see is through the lens of this bubble.
Realising this has created some pretty contradicting questions for me. Last month when Solange released her album, she asked ‘how much of ourselves do we leave at home and how much do we carry with us forever.’ If we carry home with us forever, then can we ever be truly transformed by our travels? It reminds me of a quote I heard before by George A. Moore - “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs... and returns home to find it.”
I’ll be exploring the contradicting questions further in next weeks blog post - stay tuned!