Finding home and my “place” – all over the world
Throughout the year, I cover an impressive amount of miles as a traveling musician. During some heavy touring periods I could be spending time in 5 or 6 different cities over the course of a week, which equates to some kind of travel every day. One might wonder: does she ever get confused and feel lost? Does she even remember where she is from day to day?
Because of my frequent and complex travel patterns, the question of my “favorite” place to be is quite a popular one. Both the media and the public are interested, and the projected answer is adorned with romantic expectations. Depending on what city I choose to mention, it might strike a chord of familiarity or closeness with the reader. Or, conversely, the named location may have the effect of alluding to unfamiliar, exotic journeys that stimulate the imagination. The answer always evokes a response, regardless of the specifics of the particular place in question.
Even in the heaviest of jetlags, I always know where I am while traveling. From mid-flight to taxicabs, hotels to concert hall dressing rooms, the name of the city is somewhat irrelevant. My “place” is not restricted to the various towns I visit or to where I might call home. At all times, I am somewhere – even when I haven’t reached my destination – being nowhere is my place at that moment.
In the state of being at home – and at peace – I can feel settled wherever I physically am. What I am talking about is a state of mind, rather than the physicality of the geographical location. This way, everywhere is “here”. I like being “at home” as it is comforting, and I am fortunate to be able to find myself being there through my travels.
Home, no matter where I am, depends on how my senses align and combine with the physical elements around me to produce a feeling of being “there”. Is the interaction between my presence and the surrounding environment harmonious, and to what degree? The subjective reaction determines whether I feel grounded and secure in that particular place, or if it is just an anonymous “any place”.
Whether and how I relate to the place – or how it relates to me – also makes a difference; it is not dissimilar from how a string quartet tries to tune to a musical chord. I might be the root of the tuning, where the other players build themselves on my pitch, or if I am trying to match pitches with another player. Either way, we will reach the point where the chord locks into tune, and with it, attains stability and solidity among us.
However, in cases where getting to that point is long and laborious, or if we simply cannot lock in to the chord, the mood can turn sour and unsettled. At minimum, everyone feels uncomfortable, but the disruption can escalate to the point of painful embarrassment and disrespect. With certain harmonies, the in-tune chords have little degree of flexibility in which they can sound “right” and require more intense work. But when the four instruments come together in perfect pitch, and we each have our rightful place – our “home”, everything feels good.
As I see it, the expression of a person’s “place in this world” means more than a geographic location or even what a person does for a living. The sense of “place” and “home” begins internally, with comfort and familiarity, but also with knowledge, maturity and confidence within oneself. Armed with this understanding, you will always know where you are.