After coming back to Sweden, several people have asked me what it feels like to be home again. That got me to think about what “home” really is. Is it where you are born? Is it where you own a house? Is it where you have most of your things? Is it where your family is? Is it where you are happy? Or can home be defined in other ways?
My experience so far
Life is a constant learning and every experience add up to different perspectives. On the topic, “coming home”, here are a few observations I have made since coming to Sweden. Note that this is a very personal experience and also that being a long-term traveler in Asia is a completely different way of life than having an office job in Northern Europe.
- I need more clothes. The volume of the clothes that I am wearing a normal December day in Sweden is larger than the volume of all clothes I carried the last eleven months.
- People smile less on the streets. Sweden would be considered to be more developed than the countries I have been traveling in, yet people tend to look more busy and stressed than happy and relaxed.
- Focus is more on body than mind. During my travels I have spent a fair bit of time in places where meditation and inward reflection is a part of life. In Sweden, many people spend a lot of time (and money) to train the body, less people spend time training their mind.
- Life is convenient. Being in Sweden, I understand the language and culture, there is less garbage on the streets, the public toilets are cleaner (but more rare, I tend to say that Sweden is a developing country regarding public toilets…), there are no stray dogs on the streets. And of course, it is lovely to meet up with family and friends!
Same same but different
When traveling, I have learned that we are all different. I have met people from different countries, cultures, religions and from different places in life. No one is the other one alike. But the basic human needs are all the same. We all food, shelter and love. And speaking of a shelter and a home… For me, I think home is more a state of mind than an external object. Home for me can be having a meaningful conversation, enjoying a beautiful sunset, my small backpack or just a feeling of happiness in the moment. And in that sense, I really never have been away.
“Nothing outside you can ever give you what you are looking for.”