Where is home? What is home? How do you define it? These are all questions that many of us ask at some point in our lives. Are you an expat finding home?
Where is home for you?
For many people, their concept of home is tied to a specific place – their birthplace, the city they grew up in, or the place they currently live in. But for others, home is not so easily defined like for an expat finding home.
For expats, the concept of home isn’t typically so black and white. Home is not necessarily a physical place or a house that they can return to after being away – because they’re always away in a sense.
Instead, the concept of home for expats is often experienced or described as a feeling or an idea.
Expats might consider more than one place their home, or they may not even feel at home in any specific location. Expats don’t all have the same sense of security and stability of having a place to call their own as others do, which is why they might search for the concept of home within themselves.
So, what defines home exactly?
The definition of home is not as ambiguous as one might think. Merriam-Webster defines it as “the place where one lives permanently, especially the house or apartment that one occupies.”
What about people who don’t have a permanent home or those who consider more than one place to be their home?
In a sense, home is whatever we make of it. When the feeling and concept of home are experienced within, it enables expats to feel at home in more places than one. It can become something that they carry with them wherever they go.
Still, to be without a permanent home base or to leave behind the place you remember the most is not without its challenges.
Remembering as an expat finding home, to value the concept of home as something you cultivate within is often an intentional practice – one that an expat psychologist can guide and support an individual through.
How can expats find home?
For some, finding a sense of home comes easily and naturally. They may feel most at home when traveling or around other expats. But for others, it can be more of a challenge to find that feeling of comfort and familiarity.
There are many ways for an expat finding home to find their version of home. Some might join local clubs or groups in the city they live in, while others may seek out travel opportunities to feel more at home in different places.
No matter how an expat finds a home, it’s important to remember that the concept of home is not static. It can change and evolve, depending on our values and life experiences.
The benefits of having a flexible concept of home
Having a flexible concept of home can be very beneficial for expats. When we’re not limited by the idea of home being tied to a specific place, we open ourselves up to new experiences and opportunities.
This sense of openness or feeling of belonging in more than one place allows expats to connect with cultures and people from all over the world. This can add richness and depth to our lives that wouldn’t be there otherwise.
This flexibility can also make us more open-minded and accepting. When we can see the world through a lens of openness and acceptance, we tend to connect with others on a deeper level. We’re also less likely to be judgmental or close-minded, leading to more peaceful and understanding relationships.
Also, when we open our hearts and minds to others, we become more connected to the world around us and more compassionate. We learn to see the beauty in all things, and to appreciate the richness of diversity. We come to understand that everyone has their own unique story.
If you are an expat struggling to experience your version of home and the feelings of comfort, joy, or security it can bring, I can support you. I’m an expat psychologist with more than 20 years of experience, and I can help you with this and other expat challenges.
So, where is home for you?
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By your side,
If you are an expat woman who wants to live a joyful, successful and fulfilled international life, Gabriela is the Licensed Psychologist and Mentor you need.
She helps you reclaim your self-confidence back and design your expat life in your own terms. Gabriela has more than 20 years of professional experience, speaks 3 languages (sometimes in one sentence, like you!) and has supported more than 350 expats overcome anxiety and burnout, build meaningful relationships and enjoy their international lives, wherever they are, wherever they are heading.
Gabriela offers counseling to expat women in Spanish, English and German.