My home… Where is home? Where is MY home? What is home? And how is home? The uncertainty, almost fear, of whether I would see my home again soon caused these questions to rise in me …
Continental Divide Trail – A home for one summer
I spent a good four months on the CDT Trail in America. During this summer I hiked almost 5000 km across the USA, from the Mexican to the Canadian border. An unforgettable and educational time with just me. My mobile home changed every day, every evening I found a new, mostly cozy campsite in solitude. Pure nature and freedom.
My trip home to Sweden, which was planned four weeks after finishing the trail, fell through. Not yet fully vaccinated, I had to do a PCR test before starting the flights. I got the result in writing after the first national flight from Billings, Montana to Phoenix, Arizona. I was Covid-19 positive.
Isolation – The home in Arizona
After the weeks of freedom on the CDT with the tent on my back, I abruptly ended up in isolation. Home temporarily became a small room in the vast city of Phoenix. Endless seemed the days I spent sick and alone in a strange place.
Covid vaccination outside the EU
Since I received the 2nd Covid-19 vaccination shortly before the completed PCR test, I was theoretically allowed to fly again 2 weeks later with the purchased American Covid passport. However, as a Swiss resident in Sweden and vaccinated in the USA, I did not meet the Covid-19 vaccination standard in any way. During my isolation, I learned that my American vaccination would not apply in Sweden. However, will it apply to enter my country of residence?
A loophole in the system?
If they would not let me through the controls at check-in for the Los Angeles-Europe international flight because of my “wrong” Covid passport, many more weeks in the USA would be waiting for me.
Because the only valid flight document in this case would be a negative PCR test. However, after a Covid-19 infection, a PCR test can be positive for up to several months, even if the virus is no longer transmissible.
I do not know
I found myself in a tricky situation. An exceptional case in the Covid world that is hard to understand even as a standard case. Nobody knew more. I had no one to ask for advice. The new travel date was approaching….
I hoped for the ignorance of the American check-in staff. Finally, they are used for American Covid vaccination passports. But that Sweden does not accept them was perhaps not yet known?
Will I reach home?
With each day my anticipation of my home increases and at the same time the fear of not being able to leave the USA/enter Sweden. On departure day, I was nervous to the very tips of my fingers. I boarded my domestic flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles. All was well, no one asked for Covid documents… but now international?
My nervousness was almost unbearable. I couldn’t drink or eat. Trembling, I searched for the check-in counters in Los Angeles. If only this would work out!
The friendly lady had many documents to check. She objected to one or the other. With every “BUT” my heartbeat increased again. My God, is there no end to this?
“You’re good to go…”
Did I hear correctly? Can I really go? Yes, everything was ok… I was allowed to continue to the security checkpoint. The relief was huge. I could not hold back the tears of joy! Indeed, I was allowed to travel home!
A home is important to me
I have traveled the world many times throughout my life. However, I realized how important a home is to me during this trip to the USA, which had a somewhat stressful ending.
Besides all the traveling I changed home many times in my life. I moved on and on… Within my home country Switzerland but also beyond the borders. First to Finland and another time from Finland to Sweden.
Where is home?
In the winter of 1996 I worked for the first time as a dog handler and guide on a husky farm in the Finnish Arctic. I was immediately enthusiastic about this job with animals and people in the Arctic nature. So a short time later I moved to northern Finland.
Later I missed the mountains and started to lead mountain tours with my dogs in Sweden and Norway. I loved the renewed closeness to the mountains, bought a lodge in Lapland and settled in northern Sweden.
I must continue
After a few years managing this lodge, I knew I needed to make a change again. I was getting too far away from nature and my sled dogs.
Loving the area, I bought a piece of land in the same region. The lot was on a peninsula, including an old cabin, with no road access. After another 2 years I managed to sell the lodge. So I moved into the old hut with my dogs.
Very soon I knew that I had finally arrived. Over the next 4 years, I turned my lot and old cabin on the peninsula into my home.
“Do you feel at home where you live?”
What is a home?
A practical definition of home might be as follows: A place where one currently lives and can usually be reached. A home is one’s own “four walls” and a place of retreat. The place to which one returns again and again, settles in comfortably and feels at home. Home can also be the place where your loved one(s) are at home.
Home is where my heart is
But what is home really? Is it a place? I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Home is where the heart is.” For me, home means one feeling above all: It is where I feel comfortable. Home is where I can be myself and do what I want.
But home for me can also be outside my physical home and peninsula. In places I like and where there are people I like.
Home as a feeling
So home is a feeling that I can feel at any moment. It is unbound by space and time. It is not constant but variable. It is not linked to memories, but is always rebuilding itself.
The puzzle game
With every move, every trip and every change in my life, I came closer to home as a place to live. Comparable to a puzzle that grows into a complete picture with each piece.
Some pieces of the puzzle were larger and brought me closer to the goal in big steps. While other pieces were smaller and only contributed details to the overall picture. Still others didn’t fit at all….
Despite all the moves and travels, there was one place in my life that I always felt connected to. The place where I was raised in love and developed from a child to an adult. The home place.
What is a home place?
Home is where you have your roots. Where you grew up, where you were at home for a long time and usually where you can always return. It is the parental home, the home village and the home country.
Even if you weren’t there for several weeks, months or even years: somehow everything is familiar and at the same time a little foreign. You are no longer on the road here every day, but you can remember very well the daily walk to school or the ball games with friends. You know your way around, despite the many things that have changed.
The home place is a physical place
So home is an existing place that I associate with comforting and familiar feelings made up of memories. At the same time, home also connects me with dear people. This will always be the case.
Travel, my home and my home place
Without my home place and my home, no trip would be worth the time. Because only the comforting feeling of my home in Lapland and my home place in Switzerland let me be at home everywhere in the world.
In Swedish there is a nice saying
“Borta bra, hemma bäst” – On trip good, at home best.
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