Here we are in Ho Chi Minh. Outsiders again.
It doesn’t matter how long you live in a new place, you’ll always feel like an outsider. I always felt like the new kid at school, even after I’d been there for a few years. I moved around quite a lot so I never felt that I belonged to a place in the same way as others did.
I remember living in Cheshire and having my parents tell me that we were going to be moving again. The most popular kids at school had just welcomed me into their gang, and for the first time in my life I felt like maybe I had found a home. But my dreams were, I thought, shattered, and we moved to Cambridgeshire.
After secondary school, I was uprooted again, although this time it was my choice. I moved to Brighton, then to Peterborough, then to the Middle East and repeated the cycle every few years. I started to create communities of friends and family around the world rather than in one place. My buddies in New York, my ‘khevre’ in Berlin. My family also continued to move around so that no single geographical location equated to ‘home’.
I remember having a coffee with my Mum one year and realizing, quite suddenly, how immensely grateful I was to have had the opportunity to create a real home. One that is based not on walls, the familiar, or a separation from the other. It was an amazing gift.
Here I am now, living (albeit temporarily) with some of our best friends in Ho Chi Minh City. I have a motorbike I love to ride. I’m learning my way around the crazy streets. I eat at my favourite local vegan restaurant. I’m a member of the gym down the road. And now I’m sitting here in this art gallery in my neighbourhood and feeling truly content. Truly at home.
We’ll be on the road again soon. And we’ll find a new home because we carry it around with us everywhere we go. It is a profound sense of belonging everywhere precisely because we do not belong anywhere. It is connection. Unity. Love.
If you’re always outsiders, you’re always at home.
— at BAR at The Factory.