Arthur's Seat in Silhouette

Arthur’s Seat in silhouette with a view of the city in the background

What does it mean to be home?

I’ve lived in Edinburgh over a year now, and I’ll be leaving permanently in just under three weeks. When I left the US last August, I didn’t really want to go. I was just getting comfortable in Wilmington, but perhaps it was because of this sense of complacency that I felt the need to move. I told myself it was a temporary move, that I’d just be getting a degree and coming home. What I didn’t count on was falling in love with Edinburgh. I feel connected with this city in a similar way that I feel connected to all the places I’ve lived for long periods of time. It’s funny to look back on the year I spent in Montreal and to remember the blog post I wrote just like this one a few weeks before I left for good. But I was 23 then. I felt little desire to settle down and little pressure to determine my career or life path.

Now, at 26, it’s a different story. As I face an uncertain year ahead, with career-track friends moving up in their companies and others getting married and having babies, I feel the need for some stability. But how do I do that on the path I have chosen?

Arthur's Seat

Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland

Finding a community

Getting involved with the travel-blogging community over the past few months has made me realize that it’s possible to find certainty in uncertainty. There is a global community out there of people just like me who don’t necessarily define home as a place. The more I travel, the more I realize how small our planet is and how liberating it can be to experience places other than my birthplace.

But still there’s that nagging feeling:  I need somewhere to grow roots. I need a community.

It’s ironic, actually, that I left Montreal without looking back and that I leave Edinburgh feeling as if I’m ending a good relationship prematurely. Ironic because I’d moved to Montreal intending to stay forever and I’d come to Edinburgh intending non-permanence. Funny how that happens, no?

Truthfully, though, I think it has a lot more to do with how I view friendship and community now. I’ve learned the value of good friends, and I invest time and effort into my local community. I have begun to find this sense of community among the permanent travelers and bloggers I follow, and this is a community I will never have to leave behind. Maybe this is the answer to my dilemma.

Path to Arthur's Seat

The path leading to Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Scotland

And now for less brooding and more excitement: Edinburgh bucket list

There are still a few things I haven’t done here yet that I’d like to check out before my departure on 11 December.

  1. Writer’s Museum
  2. Edinburgh International Climbing Arena (EICA — Ratho)
  3. Sheep Heid Inn, oldest pub in Scotland
  4. Stockbridge Market
  5. Cramond Island
  6. Forth Bridge
  7. Scotch Whisky Experience

What do you think? How do you define home?