I have been travelling for over a decade in some form or another. When I was eighteen I went to South Africa for a month with my school, and that was when I first caught ‘the bug’. I went to university shortly after, but always in the back of my mind I was waiting for the chance to escape again. So at twenty three I packed my bags to go to Hong Kong and I haven’t been back since.
It wasn’t a whim to go and live abroad, but it was definitely something that thirty four year old me would think twice about. I was so fearless back then, so determined to live life to the fullest, that a plane trip around the world was an adventure rather than a cause for concern.
I’ve lived in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Ancona, Warsaw and finally, Seoul. I have been living in Korea for eight years and now I am married, I have a husband, we live in an apartment outside the city and life is good. Everything that I have and everything that I have done or seen, has been a conscious choice on my part.
I chose to live abroad. I chose to marry a foreigner. I chose to stay here.
But I still get the questions, the inevitable questions from people about ‘when are you going to return home?’ or ‘how long are you going to stay there for?’
And its hard to answer. I want to retort with ‘never’, or ‘none of your business’, but that’s too easy. As in actuality ‘home’ has become a complex concept for me and I am not too sure that even I know what it is anymore.
Is it the place I grew up in? My country of birth? Or the country that I have chosen to live in?
Home to me is my mothers house. Its the small town of Keynsham where I was raised. Its my family and the people I have spent my life with. But it is also Korea. Its my husband and our first apartment together. Its going to be our future family home and the life that we forge there.
I think most long-term expats face this problem. Just where does a traveller rest his feet? Is ‘home’ a building or a concept? To me I have multiple homes in multiple countries. My father lives in the Czech Republic, my family in England and me? Well, I live in Korea.
And for now, Suwon is my home.