From: Big Rock, Illinois
Lives In: Walnut Creek, CA
Home is where I find comfort, it’s definitely not a specific place. I do feel at home here, although I’ve kind of become settled, it’s starting to feel too comfortable. I’m not really pushing myself to do new things or meet new people. Next thing I know, I’ll be 50, and I’ll still be here and never have done anything.
I come from a really small town, and I see a lot of people get sucked into a job, where they’re able to pay for their rent and their living expenses, and they never leave that. Before they know it, they’ll still be there, generations later, with their grandkids, and they never left that small town in the middle of nowhere. You’ll never grow as a person if you never see anything else.
The first three weeks we lived here, we didn’t have any furniture. We only had our tent, our sleeping bags, and our blankets. We were broke. We lived in our tent in the living room for the first few weeks, which was actually really fun. That’s what I’ll always remember about living in this place.
I feel most at home on the road, with that excitement of not really knowing where you’re going or knowing what’s next.... I love being in my car, on the move. I think of being out in the mountains, driving on the road, where there are no people around and I’m not worrying about anything. I’m just moving and there are new things and possibilities ahead of me.
From: Ifran, Morocco
Lives In: Alexandria, Virginia
After graduating from high school, my plan was to go to college in Morocco. But before I started school, I applied for the visa lottery. A year later, when I was already in college, I found out that I got selected for the visa. At first, I wasn’t really excited about moving to a different country, but a lot of my friends and family encouraged me to do it, to go to the interviews and do all the paperwork.
When I first came here, it was really hard in the beginning, because it’s a new country, new people, everything feels new. It’s like you’re an alien on a totally new planet. It took some time to get used to, but after being here for almost two years, I’m more comfortable now.
Home to me will always be Morocco, because that’s where my entire family is. When I came here, the first few months were really hard, because I was away from my family. I always wanted to be independent, which happened when I moved here, but you don’t really know the value of something until you lose it, so of course, I didn’t know the importance of family until I was separated from them.
This is the Amazigh flag, it represents North Africa. There’s the yellow, the green, and the blue, which represent the desert, the green lands, and the sea. The symbol in the middle is the letter that represents the language, and it also looks like a person, and the red symbolizes the blood of the Berber people who died in the resistance. It’s a reminder of where I’ve come from and what I’ve left.
From: Pasadena, California
Lives In: Moraga, California
My favorite thing to do is wake up in the morning and make my coffee, go out on my balcony and just read my book. It’s become my morning ritual. If I don’t do that in the morning, I have a crazy day. I love it because I’ve never lived somewhere that’s surrounded by trees and is so peaceful. Part of why I enjoy living here is because I can do this every morning.
I love being independent. I completely support myself financially, so I can do whatever I want, when I want. I don’t have to ask anyone for permission to do anything.
I will say though, it’s really hard to make your own meals all the time. I’ve also realized how clean I am, and knowing that I’m the one that has to clean up after myself is really hard. Some of my housemates can be messy, and it can be tough at times, living like that.
To me, home is a place where you can totally be yourself, where you can express yourself and feel comfortable not just with who you are as a person, but also in your own skin. Home is where you can connect with the people you live with, and it’s also a place where you can walk around without any clothes on and feel totally at ease. And right now, I definitely have that with where I’m living.
In this house, with my roommates, we’re all really close with one another. I totally feel like I can be myself here, and I think having that allows me to go out into the world and experience more, because at the end of the day, I always have a place that I can come back to and feel totally comfortable.
The summer of 2017 was the first summer that I didn’t live with my parents. That was the first time in my life that I established my own home besides the one I grew up in.
The best memory of that summer was throwing a party here, where most of the school came. Of course the police showed up, our landlord was called, and we got in a lot of trouble, but it was such a fun night, one that I’ll never forget.
From: London, United Kingdom
Lives In: Sterling, Virginia
Home is where I am in the present. Somewhere I can be myself, where I can really work on growing. It’s never been something that’s tied to a particular location. I’ve always felt at home in my own head.
It feels like if I were to commit to having a home and a physical place, then that’s something that could be taken away from me. I’m always there for myself in my own head so it’s immutable... home is the present, it’s more of a time than a place.
Living in northern Virginia is pretty good so far. It’s really green, and there’s always interesting places to go. Before this, I was living in upstate New York for the past few years, and I got used to the weather and everything became familiar, which is nice, but I also think it’s become too comfortable, and I’m ready to move beyond that. Here, I like being a lot closer to nature, which is what I’ve been looking for. The mountains are right nearby, which is a comforting thought.