The Home Within

Home is not an address, a destination, a city, or a country. Home is not the house you live in or the place that you are staying. Home is nothing physical. Home is a mindset in which you’re comfortable with yourself, wherever you are.

My home has always been hard to identify, as I have had many physical homes throughout my life. I am a second-generation Asian-American of Chinese descent, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, and educated in Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Beijing. My family and I live—while not traveling—in San Jose, California.

When I’m traveling with my family, which is quite often, I feel at home just as if I were in California. We’ve been in foreign places all over the world, including Nicaragua, Argentina, Trinidad, Taiwan, and Thailand. Traveling to these places with my family has reshaped my lens of what home really means.

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Through my travels, I’ve realized that home is something much more than an address or a place. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Home is when your heart feels at ease. When you are doing and experiencing things that your heart desires, you are at home. And when you love and are loved back by those around you, you’re at home.
  • Home is when you feel alive. Your senses are at a heightened state, you enjoy just being wherever you are, and you are mindful of everything around you. You see the vibrant colors, you smell the fragrant aromas, you hear the singing birds, and you just take it all in. You feel so intensely and vividly because you are at home.
  • Home is when you are grateful. Home is when you’re grateful to be alive, living in God’s grace and enjoying the blessings of life. You’re grateful for your time on this earth, hopefully making your contributions as needed. And you’re home because every day is a gift.
  • Home is when you are compassionate. Living for the sole purpose of yourself will not get you anywhere near home. Living for the benefit of others, on the other hand, will keep you cradled in the warmth of home. When you are compassionate and caring, you’ll give your time, energy, and resources freely.

There’s a home inside all of us. Home is not the destination. Home is the journey. In the end, we’re all brought here together to make each other feel at home.

Cliff Hsia is a writer, husband, and father, who is determined to live a better than normal life by traveling the world, slowly and purposefully, with his wife and two young daughters. His writing has been featured on MSN, TODAY, The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and other publications. He writes about travel, parenting, and lifestyle design.

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