Home is a nebulous concept for me. I lived in the same house throughout my childhood but for various reasons it never felt like home. Once I became independent I lived in eight different towns in twenty years and was happier to be a part of some than of others. Even houses I’d chosen and purchased didn’t always feel like home and it’s become apparent over time that I don’t seem to attach feelings of home to personal belongings or to inanimate objects like bricks and mortar. To me, the concept of home is a bit more ethereal than that.
It’s maybe not surprising, then, that I’ve never felt more at home than when I was just another face in the crowd. Having just left a small town where everyone knew everything, coming to London was, paradoxically, like a breath of fresh air. I’d never lived in the capital before, although I was bought up in the south east, but I had no trouble settling in and feeling at home. It may seem a contradiction to refer to a city as a wide open space, but that was how it felt to me. It was alive with adventure and possibilities.
I love photographs which show the whole of central London, taken from Greenwich Park for instance or, like this one, from the top of Primrose Hill. The second photo (by Etienne Boucher on Flickr) shows a large section of the Thames and illustrates why the city feels like home: so much life, so much activity, and so many opportunities. That’s home to me.