23 August, 2022
After many years of temporarily living in pretty much everywhere, I can finally say that I have a long term contract in an unfurnished apartment in Copenhagen, Denmark. Living abroad comes with this bitter taste of rootlessness that I’ve been living with for a while and setting up my home has been my long-cherished wish.
I am privileged to be able to choose the life I want to live (and I am more than conscious and thankful for that). However, travelling the world is not always fancy and fun like most would imagine. Argentinian writer Aniko Villalba defines it as the “Side B” of living abroad: the feeling of loneliness, missing important events, your loved ones getting used to your absence and the exhaustion of living on a suitcase. Being a nomad gives you freedom but also makes you feel that you don’t belong anywhere, being the last my biggest shadow in the past few years.
Changes are exciting but they also imply loss, and with loss comes grief. Is it possible to be happy and sad at the same time? Absolutely yes.
On the bright side, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger: once you are out of you comfort zone, once you break that barrier, you put things in perspective and right there is when you grow. You are not the same person who left and I believe that is the reason why once you go back home you also feel you don’t belong there.
Where on earth do I belong? I have no answer for that (yet.. hopefully). What I do know is that I’m not the only one. Having shared these thoughts with many friends in the same circumstances, kind of lightened this personal weight as they don’t know either. Furthermore, there is an Cecilia Ahern quote that pictures it perfectly:
“If we are all alone, then we are all together in that too”
To sum up, as materialistic as it may sound, I hope that buying my own furniture and creating a space where I want to return to at the end of the day, will slowly help me “feel at home”, whatever that means. Please let’s not romanticize living abroad. Because if “home is where the heart is”, then my heart is split like a Harry Potter Horocrux. And that is not very nice.