In Part 1 I wrote about the concept of ‘home’ as the physical structure a person lives in and where he/she feels relaxed and at peace. Another concept of ‘home’ is an area or region. This could be a town, city, geographical region, state or country. It may be where a person was born or grew up, lived at some other time in their life or where they live now. It will be a place to which they feel a special bond and sense of belonging.
Often people feel a special bond to the area where they spent their childhood. Some people then move to another state or even another country. While some then become attached to this new location, others always think back nostalgically to ‘home’. They will remember the physical location, whether it be rural or urban. They will recall the people there and have fond memories of the place they lived in whether it was a house, flat or other. This attachment can be very emotional .
There are numerous songs and poems on the topic of ‘home’ as a geographical location. In the song, “A Scottish Soldier’ by Alan Stewart, a dying soldier thinks back to Scotland where he was born. He wishes he could get back home. He looks at the hills in Tyrol and says,
‘Because these green hills are not the highland hills
Or the Islands hills they’re not my lands hills,
As fair as these green foreign hills may be
They are not the hills of home.’
I have always had a strong attachment to the hills in the Gawler/Barossa region where I grew up. I moved away and for nearly two decades lived about an hour’s drive from the Flinders Ranges. These mountains are magnificent and the scenery is wonderful for taking photographs. I love the Flinders Ranges. However, I always felt a stronger emotional pull to the ‘hills of home’. When I returned to visit the Barossa/Gawler area I would get a strange nostalgic feeling when I looked at the hills. Now that I live in this area again I feel that I have come ‘home’.
When a person feels the state or country he/she left behind is ‘home’ there will be many things they miss. Sometimes they may have become overly sentimental and may have forgotten many of the negative aspects just as people talk about the ‘good old days’ and forget the inconveniences. Perhaps they are so nostalgic because it is so difficult to visit or return. Sometimes people do go back ‘home’ and find it isn’t as wonderful as they remembered. Whilst some may say this is due to changes brought about by time, sometimes it may be because the person has romanticised it over time.
Sometimes a person has unhappy childhood memories and does not consider the town or area where they spent their formative years as ‘home’. The house they lived in and the surrounding geographical area may have been economically desirable and beautiful in the eyes of others but if the experiences were bad, it will not be ‘home’ to that person. This person may consider another location to be home because they felt they had better experiences, had closer connections with people and felt they belonged there.
‘Home’ is a very personal concept. There is the aspect of ‘home’ which is in a person’s mind and is more than a physical place. Whether we are thinking about a house or a geographical area when we talk of ‘home’ the following quote from Cecelia Ahern applies, ‘Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.’ This brings us back to Pliny with his famous words, ‘Home is where the heart is.’