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Global Mobility is a Reality

The number of people moving around the world has increased dramatically.  In 2017 there were about 258 million people, or one in every 30, living outside their birth country. The scale of this question and how many people face defining it for themselves is evident when reading Migration: how many people are on the move around the world?A briefing published last month by the Guardian. It sheds light on how globalisation is increasing and is expected to almost double by 2050.

People within our communities moving domestically or even internationally have become the norm.

But for the people who find themselves in a ‘new’ place how does it become home?  And does it need to?  What is home anyway?

Searching for Clarity

Like many people, I don’t live in the country I was born to, grew up in or even the same country I was living in 5 years ago. For me this question of ‘What is home?’ continually hovers about me, just beneath my conscious thought.

Because this question is always there, it was an inevitable topic for the Welcome Club discussion.  I was intrigued to discover what other people who are ‘out of place’ think of as ‘home’.

I began with this poem had really touched my heart when preparing for the session. “I am from…” by Hendrik Verrijssen

A thought provoking poem I first came across in the pivotal book ‘Third Culture Kids – Growing up Among Worlds’ (David Pollock & Ruth Van Rekenpage -217).

Written when Hendrick was only 12 years old, his words visibly moved a number of our club members… this concept of home is core for all of us… so what or where is it?

With further discussions we came up with some ideas around what it is…

‘Home is more of a concept than a particular place’ .

Different aspects are more important for some of us, and more or less important at different places on our journey.  The realisation that is where ever we live  isn’t going to be perfect, that we often now have too many choices which creates overwhelm, that a sense of belonging in extremely important (to a network a ‘tribe) and that the expression ‘home is where the heart is’ is definatly true. It also became apparent that home is more of a concept rather than a particular place.

How do we visualise this concept? 

One possibility is the stain glass window explained in Pico Lyer’s Ted Talk.  That for some people ‘… their whole life will be spent taking pieces of many different places and putting them together into a stained glass whole. Home for them is really a work in progress. It’s like a project on which they’re constantly adding upgrades and improvements and corrections. And for more and more of us, home has really less to do with a piece of soil than, you could say, with a piece of soul.’

Another possibility is the idea of being ‘Multi – local’ as described in Taiye Selasi’s Ted Talk. She postulates that if we have moved around to multiple places, home is all those places we have learnt to be a local.  This resonates deeply with me as it confronts our traditional question of  ‘Where are you from?’ and suggests a new perspective that is more honouring of our individual experiences ‘Where are you a local?’ may well be the generic phrase adopted into the future.

During the Welcome Club discussion one of our participants shared her favourite analogy being the concept of home being a train, and that different people get on and off to share the journey with us.

What I have discovered is that…

The concept of home is not a straightforward one.  When we move we need to work hard to understand what home means to us.  This is where the support of a community, coach and an employer can make a big difference.

We need to learn to be local. We need to create our own meaning of home.

Has this been a challenge for you? We would love you to share your experience with us.

We live our life creating our unique ‘stained glass window’, which is home for us.

Do you agree?

What is home to you?