One of the most common questions that you get asked as a traveller is ‘where are you from?’ a question that should be very easy to answer but one which I dread more each time I go away. The most obvious answer is ‘the UK’ which is the one that I usually give but this is always followed by ‘whereabouts?’ and that’s where it starts to get very complicated if I want to avoid a lengthy David Copperfield-esque narrative.
If by asking the question ‘Where are you from?’ somebody wants to know where I was born then it is very simple. I am from Coventry. But if by asking ‘Where are you from?’ they really want to know where I live now then it gets much more difficult. I have not lived in Coventry for over half of my life. When I talk about ‘Home’ I am referring to Wales, the place where my parents now live but I have not lived there for over a decade either.
Since leaving Coventry at the tender age of 18 I have lived in Wales, Cheltenham, Tokyo, Northampton, Vietnam and Sweden—inhabiting 17 houses along the way. And now I am about to make it even more complicated by embarking on a trip around South America for an unspecified amount of time. All of my belongings are packed away in boxes and stored in houses in both Sweden and the UK, and as I no longer have a permanent address in either country I must accept the fact that, for the time being, I am homeless.
Daunting as this fact is there is also something quite liberating, exciting even, about having no home. As I embark on my travels there is nothing to stop me from staying awhile in any one of the places that takes my fancy while I am away, providing that I can find some kind of work. As this is not too difficult for an English teacher then this is something that I will have in mind everyplace I visit. I will look at every city and weigh up the possibility of living there. Watch this space!
Have you been to South America? What is your favourite country? Where would you suggest we look for work?