My husband refers to home as wherever he’s going to sleep that night. Thus, when we are on holiday, going ‘home’ is going back to the hotel; when we are in our flat in Germany, we are home; and when visiting our respective parents, we are going ‘home’. The flat we rent, his parents’ house, my parents’ house and the tens, probably hundreds, of cheap hotels we’ve stayed in, are all home.
And they always say that home is where your heart is. I don’t know if the house I grew up in will ever stop being home. I doubt the other two bedrooms will ever stop being H’s room and L’s room. Even a decade after I first moved out. It will always be home because there is an emotional tie to it; aside from anything else, I think my parents (and I) would be really hurt if I stopped calling it home. The implications would be too much. And not just because I’d have to be asked to do the washing up.
For me, though, home is not (just) a place. It’s a feeling. It’s feeling good in your own skin; happy with yourself; unapologetic; quietly confident. Based on that, I feel at home when I’m washing up at my parents’ house, listening to a joke I’ve heard a million times. I feel at home eating dinner at the table with my husband; I feel at home when I go for a run; when I am at the pub doing trivia with my friends; when I am reading a great book; when I am writing.
I feel at home doing lots of things, and it is the what, and not always there where, that count most.