Advice for the Itinerant

Early this morning, I steeped a cup of tea and looked out over the view that has been my home for eight years: the Pacific Ocean, the Santa Monica Bay stretching from Malibu to Rancho Palos Verdes.

Last week, at ‘home’ in New Hampshire, I stood on the Atlantic’s fringes, watching seagulls battle a northeasterly wind.

But both times, I watched the world outside myself with a strange sense of unease—for me, an itinerant since my teenaged years, I knew that this view, this ‘home,’ will not always be so. I am simultaneously pulled in multiple directions—the direction of rootedness and the familiar, and the direction of wanderlust and endless exploration.

Like me and many others, Gianpiero Petriglieri, a professor at INSEAD, wonders if a life lived in many places estranges you from a sense of ‘home.’ He tackles this strange dichotomy in his essay ‘Moving Around With Losing Your Roots’ (posted on the Harvard Business Review).

Petriglieri writes, “Yet home need not always be a place. It can be a territory, a relationship, a craft, a way of expression. Home is an experience of belonging, a feeling of being whole and known, sometimes too close for comfort. It’s those attachments that liberate us more than they constrain. As the expression suggests, home is where we are from — the place where we begin to be.”

Read more here.

“By chance I happened to visit an eminent priest
Among the mist-wrapped mountains piled peak on peak.
As he pointed out for me the road home,
The moon hung out its single round lamp.”
—Han Shan

About Kaitlin Solimine

Kaitlin Solimine was raised in New Hampshire but has considered China a second home for the past two decades. She is the author of the award-winning forthcoming novel Empire of Glass and co-founder of Hippo Reads, a media start-up connecting academic insights with real world issues. She lives in Singapore.
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