Home: The only thing that makes sense

finding homeIt’s an answer I can never really give. I try, but I know it doesn’t make sense to those asking.

People need logic and reasons they can connect to.

I scramble for those reasons: the facts, the figures, the likes, the dislikes so they can make sense to others. To me they don’t.

There really is only ONE answer.


I’ve given that as the answer and it’s been met with blank, unresponsive stares waiting to hear something a bit more concrete.

I’m sorry that I can’t.

I’ll never forget the moment when I felt it, when I knew this place was for me.

It was inconsequential; There were no great lessons or monumental events happening.

I had only just arrived in Raleigh, North Carolina. We were picked up at the airport in a minivan to take us to the hotel where our orientation would be. Our group of Aussie teachers were tired, yet excited to learn more about our new home and our future jobs as cultural exchange teachers.

I knew nothing of Raleigh. The first I heard of it was sitting in my living room in Dublin when local Raleigh boy Clay Aiken took to the American Idol stage.

My brother laughed when he heard where I was placed, “Out in the sticks?”

I inwardly groaned. This could be disastrous. I decided I would focus more on the weekends and school-breaks like East Coast road trips – the travel rather than the living.

For the next four years, every time I drove on the freeway going from the airport to Durham, where the hotel was,  I would search for it. That place where I first felt the click.

I was gazing out the window, trying to get a sense of my new home, as I do when I arrive in any new place.

On either side of the highway sat a wall of towering green pines, the forest so thick and lush. I wondered what lay beyond the pine needles and could almost smell their freshness.

And that’s when I first felt it.


My whole being settled into place, like a token in a Vegas machine.


I had never really felt it before, so at first I did not understand what it was. I just knew that everything had changed and I felt content.

Logically it didn’t make sense; there were no beaches nearby, no thriving metropolis, no family, no friends, cold winters and barely anything I could recognize or connect to.

I wonder if maybe in a previous life, behind those towering pine trees and beside the lake they hid, I once roamed and that is why I felt like I belonged.

Later that afternoon, I went for a walk from our hotel to nearby Duke University. I walked down quiet suburban streets, the oil from the pine trees soaking into my skin.

The air was thick and fresh, not just from the humidity, but from something else.

I ventured into the campus,  cobblestoned streets and Gothic architecture welcomed me in. Everything felt so warm and inviting.

I stared open mouthed; I wandered and felt it even more.

Home. The connection.

And from that moment on it grew. Every person I met, every place I visited, it became clear to me that I had arrived home.

I live in a beautiful country that I do love. I have the beach at my doorstep, endless opportunities, family nearby and friends all around me.

I know it doesn’t make sense. Logically it doesn’t, because despite all of this, I’d leave tomorrow just so I could return home.

So when people ask me in disbelief, “Why there? What is it about Raleigh that makes you want to live there?”

I can’t answer it. I try to give the reasons they are looking for, but the logic does make me sound crazy.

I really just want to say the truth.

Because to me it feels like home.

And that ‘s the only thing that makes sense.

Disclaimer: Dukie fans, this does not mean I am a Dukie supporter. I did meet your campus first and loved it, however Carolina Blue stole my heart long before I had even met either college teams. 

Does another country feel like home to you? Do you struggle to explain why?…

Caz Makepeace is the co-founder of y Travel Blog and has been traveling the world since 1997, first solo, then with her husband, and now with her two daughters. Get her free email series on the 4 best ways to reduce travel costs. Follow her on Google+

12 Comments on “Home: The only thing that makes sense”

  1. jazzin balfe

    Hi Caz…..Loved this !!! Can you define the indefinable ??? Contentment is a pearl of great price…..In a way its comforting to realize that there is something beyond logic, beyond analysis that the human spirit can identify as its own….the primal instinct of belonging !!!
    You should be happy about this…at least you have the impetus now…the next step is getting back there. Hope you make it !!! xxx

  2. I love where I grew up but I always knew I would never live there as an adult, but I’m fortunate enough that my family still lives there and it always feels good to go home.

  3. I felt that sense of calm and peace when I first landed in Canada. I’d never been there before, but I just felt like I was “home”. So home I wanted to cry, though I put that down to being awake on the trip from Australia!!

  4. I’m hearing you Caz!
    The Northern Territory stole my heart and soul. I love so many parts of Australia, and feel blessed to have seen so many regions, but I don’t quite feel as connected to earth anywhere else. I just can’t describe what that place did to me!

  5. Love this post and can definitely relate. Sometimes it just feels right.

  6. I get what you mean Caz. The place that feels like “home” to me the most…well, there are three. Is that cheating, or does it mean I found a “home” three times? Daegu in South Korea, and Sydney. I can see myself living in Sydney in the future and I felt immediately at ease and relaxed there. I was devastated when it was time to leave. Istanbul in Turkey is the third place.

    Where I’m living now – Daejeon – certainly is NOT home; I feel no connection with the place. Back home in the UK…well, like Ayngelina said, I knew I’d never live there when I was older, but I’m glad my family are still there as I love returning there to see them.
    Waegook Tom recently posted..Yuba Dabba Doo
    Waegook Tom recently posted..Yuba Dabba Doo

    • Not cheating at all! Thailand is another place that feels like home to me too. I LOVE Istanbul. I think that is the most surprising city I have been to. I had no expectations of it at all and was blown away by how great it was. And of course Sydney is an amazing city

  7. I do love where I grew up, because not only is it so uniquely beautiful, but it definitely helped to shape me into the person I am today. Funny enough, I think I’m from roughly about the same area as Ayngelina, and I don’t see myself being able to go back to live there as an adult either.

    New Zealand easily feels like home :)

    • It’s nice that we can appreciate our childhood homes but love other places at our home as well So enriching

  8. I’m originally from Alabama but knew I wanted to live in North Carolina after being a camp counselor there in college. I fell in love with the smell of the trees. I lived in Raleigh/Durham for 10 years and loved it. Totally understand what you mean! It is a great city.

    • There is something about those trees isn’t there? They had such an effect on me. WE are dying to go back to Raleigh. Where do you live now?

  9. I love this. My boyfriend and I just left a place in Mexico that felt like home from the start, and became more so as time went by. We almost bought land there and are now plotting our return. Nice to know you felt a similar way about Raleigh.
    Victoria | Bridges and Balloons recently posted..Fifty four reasons to love San Pancho – part one
    Victoria | Bridges and Balloons recently posted..Fifty four reasons to love San Pancho – part one

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