April 04, 2011

Wherever I Lay My Hat...

A word that most certainly evokes strong emotions, powerful thoughts and unique images in everyone's perception.
We all carry an idea in our head of what home means to us, or what we would like it to mean.

For some of us, the word brings about a sense of familiarity, security and happiness. For others; melancholy, longing, emptiness and even perhaps a sense of loss or absence of something that once was and no longer is.
Or something that never was in the first place.

Already as a child, I moved around extensively with my restless parents. As an adult, I unintentionally adopted this lifestyle, relocating and crossing country borders - and even continents - pretty much each decade. Thus as a consequence, the term home has become endlessly elusive and almost unattainable in my perception. At times I feel as if the search for a home and particularly the idea of belonging somewhere - has become the ultimate quest in my adult life.

During my childhood, nevertheless, home was a secure and very much a defined place. It was without a doubt where my immediate family was; my parents and my sister. I belonged with these people in no uncertain terms and the geographical location of the place made no difference to me. The numerous moves, the constant, anxious new school starts, the continuous effort of making new friends - it all interfered very little with the happiness I felt. Even the ultimate move, which made my family into immigrants, only reinforced the bond we shared and home was still a very substantial definition in my mind.

But then along the way somewhere, as I moved out on my own and set out to conquer the world, the meaning of a home became increasingly obscure. At first it encompassed my parents home, later the city where they lived, then a country and finally even an entire continent. In time I began to experience a sense of almost an identity confusion and the yearning to belong started to manifest itself. Gently at first, a subtle longing somewhere deep inside, perhaps almost a secret wish. I recall the first wave of nostalgia, realizing that I might never be able to call any country my home, no matter however much I try. As the bonds that once tied me to the place of my birth were forever severed and no new were possible to attain.
This realization came however with an acceptance and perhaps a certain sense of relief as well, or a freedom if you will. "Wherever I lay my hat, that's my home..."  became my motto and made it easy for me to settle down effortlessly almost anywhere.

As I however grew older and started to look for and appreciate a certain deeper values in life, being a foreigner came to define who I was and thus my search for home - for a true home - became my quest.
And I believe, in retrospect, this quest brought me on a journey and a passionate search for love. I realized that I was looking for someone who would bring that sense of home I once felt, back to my reality. A man, that would offer me a safe harbour and terminate my restless voyage, by accepting and loving my estranged heart unconditionally. A man that would make me feel like I undoubtedly belonged by his side, the same way I once belonged with my family.
Only today I am sadly realizing that such a man most likely does not exist and my search only led me to numerous misty illusions.

My life is currently in the state of a change and as my future is heading in a novel direction, I find myself reevaluating the term home once again.
I still do not believe that it is only defined by a geographical location, although I have come to the understanding that certain places do evoke in us a strong sense of serenity, security and familiarity - whether these are memories of transcending moments spent in certain locations in our past, or current ties to a special place.
To some degree home is also truly defined by people - those that offer us security and the gift of an unconditional love, trust and deep care. It could be our near family, a significant other, our children, or it could be our friends.
Still, my new realization makes me see that a true home is something we carry with us and is that which we harbour within us. It can not be taken away from us as well as it can not be given to us. Some will find it with little effort, some of us never will.

I feel a strong desire these days to revisit my roots. Places where I used to live as a child and the city where I was born. As well as an infinite longing to once again be in the company of the only people that ever truly defined the term home for me.
Perhaps at times one has to go back to be able to move forward. Occasionally our answers for the future might lie in what we left behind.
And perhaps it is never too late to go back home.

(About the photographs in this post: All are taken by my father last year, in and around the place where I was born. I have not been back in the beautiful Tatra Mountains for almost twenty five years...
Please click each image for a larger view.)


Elizabeth said...

Thank you Zuzana for this truely amazing post. Loved every piece of it. Now it is time to write my post of today, a different one but in a way with the same purpose; to find home.

See you later and good luck!!!!

Tom said...

Your father is a very talented photographer. The photos are beautiful. They remind me of a "home" I have which is close to the Austrian Alps (my mother is Austrian and I have lots of family there).

For the last few years I've wondered about returning to my true home which is the UK, but it's too ugly there now, but Austria and the wonderful scenery keeps telling me that's where I want to be.

Your father's photos, and your writing, remind me of the place I really want to be!

I wish you all the best, Zuzana, it seems you're going through a rough time right now but you have so many good friends I know you'll make it through to happier times.

All my thoughts are with you.


Fireblossom said...

Everyone needs a home, an anchor, a starting and ending place, a place they belong. Don't they?

Mimi said...

I can see why you want to revisit the Tatra mountains!
I agree with you that sometimes we have to take a step backwards in order to go forward again.
And I like the phrase "home is where the heart is", cos i tmeans that we can carry our home wherever we are.
When my parents died, both suddenly and close together, I felt as though my roots were torn from me, and had, for a long time, incredible longings to go back "home". But now, and for now, I feel settled where I am.
I hope, wherever your heart takes you, that you'll find peace, dear Zuzana.

Anonymous said...

The pictures are beautiful! Its lovely to read your blog after such a long time. True, home is something we carry with us... x

Unknown said...

Wow, this post really resonated with me Zuzana, as my daughter and I are about to make the move back home, to the place we, and all our family, were born.
I agree with you, however, that a true home is something you carry with you, wherever you go but I think this is something within each of us that can either be real or forced.
Savannah, Georgia is where we're heading, as soon as we sell the house in NC, and I'm not the least bit surprised to find that so many of the people my age that spent most of their adult life away from Savannah, have returned in their senior years. Our city is calling us back; at least, that's the feelign it gives to me.

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Home sweet home!

Brian Miller said...

this topic is resonating arounf the blogosphere this morning...i agree home is the people not the walls...at least for me...we could live in a card board box and still be home as long as we had each other...

Claus said...

So very deep! Home...I love my home. it is a house, but it is also my home. Indeed, it feels like home when you surrounded by those that matter to you (to me, my mom and my puppies and parrots!), no matter where you are. Nevertheless, personally, where I live has been my house for my entire life!, and hence has become part of my home and most definitely, my place of zen. I adore being there. Every corner has a secret, a story, and a comfort I can find no where else. While I would love to experience living on my own, in a new place, far from my "usual", I would certainly miss my home...and chances are I would run back to it the first change I got! :o)
Seems to me you are going through an internal quest Zuzana. I hope, with all my heart, that you find what you are looking for. Enjoy, in the meantime, every road of your journey. They will mean more than you know in the end.

S. Susan Deborah said...

Home has always been a subject of constant tussle for me. The Greek word oikos means household and it not only includes the inmates of the home but also the landscape that houses the home. I can understand your restlessness when you thing of exploring your roots. Even I am having a similar urge. I was born in one place, grew up in another, settled in another and now working in another place. I wonder what is home to me. Talking of home, I cannot but think of what you commented a year ago on one of my posts which asked the question, "What is home to you?"

"To me home has meant so many different things during my life; to begin with it was a place in a certain city, with a view and on a street I learned to recognize as a child. Later it became a country. Then again this changed and for along time it was where my parents lived.
Being a true cosmopolitan today, today my home is anywhere where there are people that I love. Or in places I find tranquil and soothing.
My home is today primary in one place, but it might change tomorrow again.;)"

Hope you find your true home.

Joy always,

Reading Tea Leaves said...

I sense that you are going through a difficult time at the moment Zuzana; maybe a visit to those beautiful Tatra Mountains would offer peace and provide some answers for you?

Yes, home is about being with people you love and not just the walls and a roof. Having said that one can be perfectly content living alone, but only if it is by choice.

You are on the cusp of something new dear friend, and I know the future will be bright and full of love. Life has a wonderful way of finding a true path through a maze of choice.

Thinking of you ...


Sumandebray said...

someone once said..... Home is where love is....
Going back to childhood home is very exciting... But going and settling down there is quite another story. While its true that life comes a full circle but it seldom allows a U-turn
It was a great post to read

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, beautiful photos! I can understand why you would want to go back. Here's hoping you find "home".

Anonymous said...

Are you preparing to move back to the Tatra Mountains?

Your post is so beautifully profound and well illustrated by the beauty of the mountains...

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

Oh my Dear, you MUST go back! Gorgeous! Lovely! Mesmerizing! Oh I so hope you do make plans to go back and see it, again.

And your idea of carrying our home, within us, is wise sounding. And... that no one can give it to us. Like so many things about life..... We live our life, in our own minds. [Sort of]

We "digest" everything, which happens to us, in life... In our own minds. Why not find true home, there too?

I wish I could give you a real gentle hug, because... It has been sounding as if you have been going through what could be called "deep times," for a while. I do so hope that smooth resolution will be on your horizon, very, very soon.

Oh, and that planned trip tooo!!!! :-)

Gentle hugs,

SandyCarlson said...

I agree with you about home. I think home is the heart. We are our own home and the work of loving is to make our home others' home while they are with us.

That search for a companion....I am reading Martha Quest by Doris Lessing yet again and realizing--well, right now books are better than any false hope.

Unknown said...

a gypsy at heart you are. you should visit the place where you were born if at all possible. it is lovely by your Father's pictures. I have also learned that happiness, contentment, and security cannot be found in another person. it comes from within.

have a fantastic week Zuzana!!

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

Very thoughtful Zuzana. I truly believe that home is about PEOPLE and not about LOCATION...but then I do SO LOVE our home which involves WHERE it is and WHAT is in it as well. I agree that over the years and as we grow older "home" can change meanings...and it can be defined differently based on WHERE we are in life.
Wise words friend.

Your father takes beautiful photos.

adrielleroyale said...

So true how the definition of home changes through the years for some. For me, there were three places I thought of as home when I was younger. All three were considered as such because of the memories and people surrounding those places. I am still searching for that perfect fit of "home" though where I am now suits me fine for the present. The people; my husband, daughter and other family members are what makes this place home for me here, but all those other small things that make a home, a home are still waiting in the wings I think...

Rajesh said...

Home is a special place. One may go anywhere in the world and have best time. But the comfort, freedom is always at home.

Hilary said...

I believe you've touch many heartstrings with your eloquent post today, Zuzana. I understand your meaning behind your words and you've expressed it all so beautifully. Home it where the heart is... and your heart is a wonderful home in itself. Don't forget that.

I'll write to you soonish.. I know I owe you an email. :)

Hugs to you my friend.

Ms.Chief loves wigwams! said...

Helloooo Darling Soul, such eloquence & such sincerity & openness. Writing about 'Home' is something very close to my heart, but I am not quite so astoundingly expressive or candid. Love your articulation. We all search for that joyous enigma, comforting & fulfilling. A hub from which we prosper. I think the heart does very much know feelings of being 'home' regardless of where it is nor who it is with. It can be felt in a fleeting moment or an endless journey. Some things for sure despite the materials of wood, concrete, bricks, fires & water contents of a house . . a home is created emotionally: assembled with a wonderful feeling continuously blossoming in the heart, shared with the many seasons & flavours of freedom, pleasure, comfort, safety, warmth & choices to bring many more additional pleasures into such sacred space.
Many countries could reflect the many diverse & versatile chambers within our hearts. Enjoy the world, discovering the global family, the sweetness of home wherever you may roam :) x You always have a wee part of home here in England should you wish to visit :)

Donna said...

A beautiful post, Zuzana. And I love the photos your father took of your home land...beautiful. Hoping the best for you, dear friend.


laoi gaul~williams said...

what beautiful photos~what a place to put on the 'places to visit' list!
for me 'home' is the home of my ancestors~the land around me for 30 miles has been the land of my ancestors for over 500 years and i have an odd spiritual boundary which tells me when i am 'home' after being away.
but i am wondering how i will respond when i eventually visit Ireland and Wales?

Unknown said...

Very well said, Zuzana! I once had a college professor who was fond of saying "Life is an archetypal journey". xoxo! :)

Bhushavali said...

Your dad's a great great photographer and great to know you were born in the midst of such fabulous landscape!!!
Arupathumoovar Festival
The 8-piece skirt

Myrna R. said...

Lovely writing. Follow your yearning, visit home, and be secure in knowing your heart is your truest home.

Margie said...

Such a wonderful post, Zuzana
And all the pictures are breathtaking!
My home is now with my hubby and children but I always go home to my family, "my first family"
I find such joy there and also love!

Margie xoxo

Amanda Summer said...

what a beautiful and sensitive post on the meaning of home, zuzana. i, too, have felt the same way, rootless as a child moving around with my family, never feeling like i belonged. such a powerful thing for humans - everyone is searching for this.

i wish you all the best as you embark on yet another phase of your life --- you seem very together in your thoughts and your attitude is so positive, there is no doubt that things will turn out beautifully for you.

i've always heard that if you take one step in the direction of the Universe, the Universe will take two steps on your behalf.

with love and wishes for happy, continued life trails,



Joyti said...

'Home' is a very powerful concept. I have always thought that a part of me will see my grandmother's house as home. And another part will see the San Francisco as home.
Or perhaps home is merely where our loved ones and precious little things are.

A Plain Observer said...

beautiful writing as always.
Home is where the heart is, they say. I believe that. I have "been" home and home has left me. Like you, I am in a transition state. Looking for my home all over again

LifeRamblings said...

beautiful photos. There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.

tony said...

What A Fine Post! It triggered several thoughts in my head! Firstly..the topic reminded me of Jackson Browne's song For A Dancer Are you familiar with it?Especially the part where he sings
"......Keep a fire for the human race
Let your prayers go drifting into space
You never know what will be coming down
Perhaps a better world is drawing near
And just as easily it could all disappear
Along with whatever meaning you might have found
Don't let the uncertainty turn you around
(the world keeps turning around and around)
Go on and make a joyful sound...

Quite What That Has To Do With "Home" I'm Not Sure...But It Seems Appropriate To Me!
The New Home We Build Is Made Out Of Old & Trusted Material,maybe?
You imply your home is to change?I am intrigued!
I think a new Home chooses us as much as we choose it?
Today an old friend emailed me out of the blue.I haven't seen her in several years.She had had a vivid dream last night.She dreamnt she was in England outside my home.She was telephoning me to get in but couldnt get an answer.I think (she didnt actually say) that the dream of my home was some sort of "Omen" + she was contacting me to check I was ok.Which is nice.It's also nice to think our home lives on in other peoples dreams as well!!!!

Anonymous said...

A very great well written, thought provoking post, Zuzana. As the old saying states, Home is where the Heart is. :)

none said...

Beautiful post, Zuzana. I like the different ways you've explored the concept of "home" here. Those pictures are delightful! Home can be anywhere... :)

Out on the prairie said...

I have moved around a lot so HOME is usually where I hang my hat. If that doesn't work I have moved on.

Gal Friday said...

Your first home, as viewed by me in your father's photos, looks like a wonderful place(those mountains!) to come from and grow up in. I can see why you have that pull again to visit there. (I always have that feeling of yearning to visit and of being "home" again whenever I visit the state of Maine where I lived until I was ten).
And from having seen the photos of the inside of your current house, I always admire the "home" you have created for yourself, entirely on your own(with Batcat, too, oc course). You obviously have it in you to make a true home anywhere you go.

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

This is beautiful post. I can relate to it as I am a foreigner as well.

People ask me sometimes: "do you miss home?" My answer is: "No. Home is where your heart is, and my heart, family and life are here."


Anonymous said...

I did just the opposite... Lived almost my entire childhood in one house. In adulthood I sprouted wings and have lived in many homes, many towns.... Eventually age though has slowed me down and my feet stay still.

Lovely post, Zuzana!


Zuzana said...

Thank you all my dear friends for your touching comments and for sharing with me your own sentiments as to what home is and what it means to you.

I find it so enticing that as I grow older, my origins become increasingly more important to me. And as time passes and I am about to begin on a new chapter in my life, I feel that in order to know where I am heading, I have to first realize where I have been.

Thnak you for all for your kind visits and wonderful words that at all times warm my heart and are a source of endless inspiration in my writing.

See you all very soon dear friends.