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“The best hostel in the Universe – 5 stars” “Not what it seems on the website – 1 star” “Best vibes in Bangkok – 5 stars” “Not meant for everyone – 1 star””Stay here! – 5 stars” “Worst place I’ve ever stayed – 1 star” “Loved it – 5 stars” “Do not stay here – 1 star”….
In case you did not realise what I was doing here, I was citing titles and ratings of other people’s reviews, found on Tripadvisor. As any other hostel, “the Overstay” has some intermediate reviews, however, the vast majority either loves it or hates it and it is rather easy to see why.
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Partly inspired by another blogger, partly inspired by the question raised what home means to me, why I have never really felt at home in my home country and where I would be living in another five to ten years, I thought it would be nice to discuss the debatable subject of home. When you’re backpacking, you’re not anywhere near your friends or family, but still most people abroad are having the time of their lives. This poses the question, when you’re out in the world, what is home to you? I am really curious about what you think.
Since I started studying, I have been somewhat settled. I rent a room in a student house that I share with two other students. They are absolutely nice and fun and I feel relaxed at home. However, that itch to go out and about has never left me. So is this home? I guess it is now, but it couldn’t last long.
First of all, my room is a permanent mess, it has been like this since I was a child. Sometimes I can get it sorted and cleaned, but can only maintain it for a few days. Then it starts getting messier, and after a week it will have reached the state shown in the photo. I am not ashamed, I actually think that I found the reason behind this terror is that I don’t belong in a fixed place, it supplies the opportnity to own too much stuff.
If you look at it this way, I just sort of use whatever I have to store things. When this is a backpack, it forces you to make choices and think carefully about which posessions you really need. When you have a car, more stuff fits in, with the result that you will start to collect more stuff. Having an entire room for yourself supplies the opportunity to buy and keep all sorts of luxuries and things that you really don’t need to just scatter all over the place. Imagine what my house would look like if I owned one…. Perhaps this is a sign.
Another thing that many people found and still find striking when I’m away, is my “improper” use of the word home. I use it just to refer to the place where I sleep, whether that is a room I rent for myself, a friends house, a tent or a hostel dorm room shared with 16 others doesn’t really matter, when I say I’m going home, I overall just mean that I’m going to go to the place I’m staying, although I can understand the confusion.
The above again proves how my vision of home is very easily adaptable, and I love it. It is funny how the places where I live for a longer period of time often feel less like home than short-term stays abroad. People seem to be nicer and happier around you whenever you’re in the happy environment of being abroad. I also find that in many countries, people are more friendly, open and welcoming than in the Netherlands, or perhaps even Western Europe. This is partly what makes me feel at home so easily, the open-heartedness of others. This and the fact that I don’t think much about the future, I live now, so I better make as much out of it as I can, partly by just seeing it all!
What does all this mean for my definition of home? I think it can only mean that I haven’t found home yet and don’t know if I ever will. The roads are endless and so is my curiousity. The question of where I will settle in the future remains unanswered, until I have at least seen everything and maybe, maybe still then I might prefer to remain a rolling stone, roaming around the world, not even really looking for a place to go, but just exploring, enjoying.
Home might be about finding a community, a place where you belong and I haven’t really found that place yet, but at the same time I have. What has made me happy so far is changing environment and getting to know new people from time to time. My view obviously doesn’t apply to everyone, but I think many other travellers can familiarise.
Abstractly speaking, home is where the heart is and so to give a concrete answer to the question of where home is to me, I would say that my heart belongs to the world and therefore my home is on the road.
So, to stick with this controversial problem, please tell me what you think about the subject of home and where home is for you/what it means to you.