I have just spent three weeks or thereabouts on the road. I travel a lot for work, although not as much as my colleagues, and whilst it is great to see the world and spend time in different places, there is nothing quite like the feeling of heading home. When I say home, I mean to my beautiful wife and gorgeous baby girl. I also mean home in the sense that of all the countries I travel to New Zealand is more like a home than many.
Home is a place where you feel safe, secure and loved. It is a place where you can be you, where you can dream of the things for the future and plan what lies ahead for your family. It is also more than just bricks and mortar, but it is feelings, thoughts, friends. It is a space and time that you return to.
Although I am a visitor in many of the countries I travel to, I doubt that places like this could ever acquire the status of ‘home’, not only for me, but also for the people that live here. I consult with hundreds of would be migrants and often they don’t refer to their country or cities as home, but call it the ‘place they stay’. I don’t pretend to understand the mindset of the people I meet, but I can tell that there is a difference in the way we see our respective homes. People fear the streets in places I go to, their children are locked away indoors and their houses resemble maximum security facilities designed to keep people out. More than half the folks I talk to dont even know their neighbours name, let alone speak to them regularly and they are reluctant to venture beyond the front gate.
Perhaps I have a biased view, and perhaps I am spoilt by what my country offers me, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt that returning to New Zealand is returning home, in every sense of the word.