Where is Home?

As I sit here writing this watching snow fall in Calgary, a day after it was 23 degrees Celsius, I was thinking about a question a friend of mine from Vancouver Island asked me a few days back:

When are you moving back home?

I began to fall back to memories of spending summers in Parksville and Qualicum beach, running on the sand, swimming and going for ice cream with family and friends. Then I fast-forwarded to the present, where I have an amazing home, an incredible family, great friends and growing career.

What got me to thinking, Where is home? There is an incredible Ted Talk by writer Pico Iyer that I’d seen years ago and had bookmarked. I revisited this and began to reflect on some of the ideas presented there. Pico says:

Where you come from now is much less important than where you’re going. More and more of us are rooted in the future or the present tense as much as in the past. And home, we know, is not just the place where you happen to be born. It’s the place where you become yourself.

The last sentence there, for me, is Calgary Alberta. I came to Calgary to start a career, be with friends and a (now ex-) wife who had moved to Calgary to seek their careers as well. I ended up finding an incredible wife, creating a beautiful family, meeting friends that would reshape my life and not least of all, building an amazing career.

There are experiences in my life that impacted me. Standing in Cathedral Grove on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, surrounded by 1000 year old trees in the temperate rainforest and walking on Wickaninnish beach during a storm. Walking dogs through River Park while a Chinook rolls in, blowing hot wind in your face during mid-winter. Watching my amazing children take their first steps and develop feelings and personalities. Pico Iyer says:

…I do think it’s only by stopping movement that you can see where to go. And it’s only by stepping out of your life and the world that you can see what you most deeply care about and find a home. But movement, ultimately, only has a meaning if you have a home to go back to.

And home, in the end, is of course not just the place where you sleep. It’s the place where you stand.

Calgary, Alberta is home. I tried to imagine how I would feel moving my family back to Vancouver Island and I believe I would feel a profound sense of loss, leaving everything I’ve experienced here, behind. I have many family members on the island that I truly miss and will visit again someday. But for now, I will sit in my living room and watch the snow slowly fall… in the middle of April.