As a location independent human, I’m regularly presented with the same question: “Where are you from, then?”
This question drives me nuts. Mainly, because I find it impossible to answer without getting audible sighs and eye rolls, or outright steamy frustration.
Having spent most of my life living a nomadic lifestyle, I’ve often tried (foolishly) to answer this question honestly. That looks something like this:
“Well, I was born in Sydney but my parents were in the Navy so we moved around a lot and then my parents split up so we moved some more. I lived in Queensland for quite a while and then Melbourne, before settling in Tasmania til I was 19. Then I moved to Perth, back to Melbs and then Europe. All of those places feel like home. Now I’m cementing a move to Italy. But you’ve met me in London, so... I guess right now I’m from London.”
I don’t enjoy being David Copperfield, but what’s a gal to say?
Then I tried my truest answer;
“Right now I am from here. Wherever I am today is my home.”
Sadly, that comes off as a deliberately pretentious avoidance tactic (more eye rolls than ever. I don’t even have a hat to hang so can’t use that line).
The worst: “I’m not from anywhere, really.”
UGHHH. I can almost hear their insides groan with the pain of it, silent-screaming;
“JUST LET ME BOX YOU UP IN A WAY I UNDERSTAND, YOU PILLOCK!”
But you are asking me the wrong question.
It doesn’t really matter where I’m actually from, it is just the most common way of finding common ground with me.
Here’s my suggestion. When you next come across a wanderer/vagabond type, try these. They open up the conversation in the most beautiful of ways.
1. What place do you love most on earth?
While this is not necessarily easier to answer (I have loads of faves) it is infinitely more juicy and interesting. I’d take that conversation any day.
2. Where would you most like to go?
This will spark an all-nighter! I love a future-based question, it’s so much nicer and more inspirational than a past focused one.
3. Where are you going next?
Bingo. This one’s easy to answer… and it’s probably “I don’t know.”