I’ve just had to undertake a journey from the house that I live in on the Isle of Dogs, to King’s Cross station. It’s a journey that, during the Monday evening rush hour and on a day where there are severe disruptions due to tube strikes, should have been a stressful one.
Yet my overriding feeling during the 90 minute commute (that would normally take half the time) was not one of stress, impatience, or resentment towards the striking London Underground staff, it was the realisation that I don’t have a home.
Obviously, I have somewhere to live, but I’m in a small room in a shared house that serves little purpose other than to allow me to save more beans for my future adventures. It’s not a home.
Furthermore, I’ve never, in the roughly six years that I’ve lived here, truly felt that I can call London my home. No matter how settled or happy I’ve been, I’ve always felt slightly put of place. Not that I don’t belong or that I’m not welcome here, but that I’m not the typical mould of Londoner that has lived here for many years before my arrival, and will continue to do so long after my inevitable departure.
But I’m ok with that. I’m ok that I don’t feel like I have a real base, a home town, a location to call mine, and it was walking along the Euston Road just now, amongst all the stressed out commuters in a rush, getting annoyed at anyone who slows them down by more than half a second, that I really appreciated this for the first time.
The world is a big place, and I’m an insignificant part of it, and now I’m in the fortunate position to be able to embrace my freedom and anonymity by travelling and visiting a diverse range of locations with a diverse range of people. Most of these people will call where they are their home, but me? No.
I’m happy being homeless.