Thoughts on “Home”

I am in awe and deep down very grateful that my generation (or at least, I could only speak for the generation of young people who grew up around me in this country) had starting to see the world in the form of one giant spread of map of —simply— places. More youths are studying and getting jobs abroad, marrying foreigners, changing their citizenships, and becoming digital nomads. We’re no longer seeing other cities or countries as faraway, mystique destinations to sightsee around or temporarily experience, but to finally (A) treating any place as a fair game to potentially live in, and (B) that the definition of home is no longer of the city you were born or raised in, but it really could be anywhere.

Maybe to say treating any place as “fair” game is a strong, wrong word, because, of course, places with war, genocides, and famines are very far from the definition of fairness. But my point is, our civilization with its advancements in technology and foreign politics, had allowed us to re-experience the Earth in its pure geographical sense: of super vast terrains of various heights, ecologies, and soil richness, without those imaginary borders between regions we mostly just draw on papers —very rarely on-site. Of course, we’d still have to deal with the diplomatic paperwork necessities in terms of at minimum a passport, but it’s very cool how we’re now able to travel around at such rapid tempo.

(A non-essential paragraph here, but picture this: Homo sapiens have been around for 300.000 years, not including the many significant BCE years, we’ve endured 1900 modern human years using Dionysius Exiguus’ calendars without a means of fast mass transportation, until The Wright Brothers invented the powered airplane in 1903, and then within only a tad bit more than 100 years, now we can commercially travel 658 miles per hour in style. That’s 1000 kilometers per hour! A passport or prolonged headaches endured while in the process of obtaining a visa seem like an acceptable inconvenience when you think about it.)

At 28, I am now personally living amongst polar opposites of the same older generation in regards to this matter. My dearest folks at home had never set out on an overseas journey before their religious pilgrimage together to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, a few years ago. They were in their late 40s and mid 50s. On the other hand, I have had foreign associates who’ve been international since they were very young, like college-age. Now, every time they tell stories about the lives of their teenage/ adult children, they always mention at least 3 out of the 6 densely inhabited continents. The standard set would be they were born in Europe, went to school in North America, then got a job and now live in Asia; although you could play a Mix-and-Match game with those locations. I myself first went out of the country when I was 21, and I’ve been out enough times to not treat it as something so special anymore.

But it also touches my point on the continuously shifting of my definition of the word “home”. Currently, I subconsciously always think that the Jakarta Greater Area is undoubtedly my homefor now, while also nurturing the dream that someday I would call New York City as my home, too, in the future, hopefully comfortably until I expire. I also would want to live for a good year or two in Argentina or Chile (don’t need to do both), Mexico, and Russia before that. This kind of a set of prospective residencies outside of the island of Java must’ve never crossed my dearest folks’ minds, while simultaneously being a representation of how my generation of Indonesian young people finally catches up with the older generation of my foreign associates’. Alongside with how f-ed up the housing market already is in here, that is the main reason on why I, being in the ripe age of the almost 30s, am not looking to purchase my own house in Indonesia, maybe like, ever. Of course, I’m saying this with full acknowledgement of my privileges that I’m single, have nobody else to feed but myself, and my parents do own their/ our family house.

I don’t know what to make of this ramble, but, as in Nietzsche’s words, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how,” may this be a note on one of my primary why-s in my life.

I’ll figure out and endure my how-s.


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