Friday, 2 March 2012

The Never Ending Search for Home

With the ever increasing globalisation occurring in the world today, we are fast becoming a population of foreigners. The reasons for people migrating vary dramatically; economic reasons, adventure, love, or even forced migration are all reasons for packing up and leaving  the familiar.
However recently, a new type of migration has been revealed and termed 'existential migration'. Studies into this subject (Madison 2006) reveal that many people choose to migrate voluntarily in order to become a foreigner, often to find themselves and find where they belong.
In my teenage years, I never thought of moving abroad. I enjoyed holidays but the actual idea of making it more permanent never entered my head. As the years went by, I finished college, then university and found my self in a long term relationship and with a mortgage.
I found myself becoming increasingly unhappy. As my life passed by I often wondered what more there was to life. Is this really it? You spend most of your childhood wanting to be an adult and no sooner do you get there do you become bitterly disappointed.
I wanted more, but what more is there? Slowly but surely my friends were settling down, getting married, having children and being really happy about the fact. I loved my boyfriend but we had a turbulent relationship and I became increasingly aware of the fact I wasn't going to spend the rest of my life with him.
One day, It all came to a head. The conversation I had been dreading arrived, he wanted to get engaged. There and then I decided this was the end. I took a leap of faith. I ended the relationship, got a new job and moved to Ireland.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, I later moved back but found myself more down than ever. I felt like a foreigner in my own country. I struggled to make new friends that I had something in common with and drifted away from old friends who were by now, leading completely different lives to that of mine. I hated my job, and I hated my life. I longed for excitement.
In September 2010 I moved to Prague. Determined to make a new life for myself I found a new job, new flat, and new friends. I loved it all and life again became exciting. Only now, nearly 2 years down the line, the initial excitement is waning. I feel no sense of belonging, and no sense of where is home. Visits back to England are awkward and ungratifying. I love my family, but that's the only love or attachment I feel. I'm officially lost and increasingly suspicious I will never find 'home'. I don't know where to go from here. I have become an existential migrator.
The study into this form of migration revealed that, like myself, these people no longer feel at home anywhere, in a word, homeless. Forever chasing that excitement, and feeling of self discovery. As our lives become more mobile, this my signal the start of a growing problem as more and more people no longer feel that sense of belonging.
I may sound all doom and gloom, but as I look back and think of what might have been, had I not took that leap of faith, I know I made the right decision. Expanding my horizons has been the best thing that has ever happened to me and I wouldn't change it for the world. Do I really need a home? Can home be determined by a geographical location? In this process not only have I discovered more about myself, but I feel alive, a reason for my existence. Surely that's not a bad thing?