I think the answer is supposed to be ‘wherever I lay my hat’, but I may actually be more rooted than I’d dream. A lot more rooted.
It’s hard to say, because I’ve not moved around much. I’ve lived in two places, really, and only one at a time has ever really felt like home. I’ve travelled a tiny bit, and it’s always exciting, but when I’m away my thoughts aren’t of rambling freely exploring for ever. I generally look at a place and imagine how I could live there.
Sweeping my eyes around I find a home. I dream about a way of life. I picture where I’d by bread, or send kid’s to school. I plan gardens and ask questions about allotments. I gaze at ruins and imagine rebuilding.
I immediately start laying down the infrastructure of life. Putting down roots.
Does it matter where?
I love the energy of a city, as long as it’s pretty. I like sweeping curves of concrete and baroque cornices. I love the sea and the country side. Rolling textural exploration. Horizons tapering away or roaring upwards. I love the built environment and the results of geology.
But it’s good soil and transportation that really makes me settle. I really am all about roots and infrastructure.
I do wish I was one of those people who could just ramble and be anywhere. It’s something that I think I need to develop. I need to learn how to be a wanderer, at least for a while.
I get exhilarated by the thought of building my own portable infrastructure. Taking my bike and working out how to strap enough stuff to it to live off. I can already manage all the sleeping stuff, and I think a front basket should deal with cookery. I want to create a portable, self powered, living unit. So that wherever I can find a pretty view and a flat space, I can make a home.
So I have some of it in me, but it’s still an obsession with infrastructure. I doubt I could do the completely free wander. Just walk out the door and catch a lift and see where life takes me.
You become addicted to roots. The wheres that are home become ingrained. You stop imagining yourself in other places.
Here, I am okay, but I can’t be here forever.
Place is an odd one. At a universal scale, we’re always moving, but from our perspective, we have to move our body to be somewhere different. Place is more rigid than time and self. We can easily see how to move, and what difference it makes.
Or am I just so addicted and cosy that I can’t be bothered to expand my sensibilities.
I am here. Wherever I am. It is place that roots me. No wonder I am obsessed. My identitiy is tied to where I am. My environment shapes me.
I can go where I will. And I will.
Illustration by Henry