My house is not my home. It is a storage unit. An energy sink. A time usurper. An obstruction.
It provides a debilitating level of comfort and security.
It encourages the indulgent and unhealthy practices that are so engrained in our culture.
It separates me from nature and from other people. It keeps me in one tiny, infinitesimal part of the planet and prevents exploration. It makes me a slave to my possessions.
Home, on the other hand, is anywhere that I feel at peace, full of love and positive thoughts, whether it be up a mountain, in a forest, by the sea, with other people or by myself.
I have felt at home on a walk in an English national park, exploring a ruined castle, on a chilly beach in Wales, dancing around a campfire with locals on a Bolivian island, reading a book in a campervan in a wet Australian field, having a meal with new friends in a Cambodian suburb, or chatting with strangers at an Italian market.
I don’t need a sofa and a television to feel at home. I don’t need carpets and curtains, tables and chairs, dishwashers and toasters, magazine subscriptions and gym memberships.
The things I need to feel at home don’t cost much money. They don’t require mental effort, but physical stress. They are not gained through a mountain of paperwork, a never-ending email thread, agendas and minutes, a prioritised to-do list or rush hour. They may involve walking the extra mile, dealing with unfavourable weather conditions, coping with uncertainty, facing danger, going hungry, getting lost, insecurity, being alert, and alive.
In a house I am sedentary, passive. My ability to learn from and experience the world is dulled. Constrained by walls, I am limited to voyeuristically observing the journeys and opinions of others through a screen.
Rather than satisfying a curiosity, this merely creates a yearning; a drive to relinquish the comforts of house and to seek out new homes.