“Home seems to be that elusive thing we are striving for these days. It’s a romantic idea to be able to draw an X on a map and be able to point out to people, nearly boasting, that we are home. But I don’t think home is something that happens overnight. And I don’t think home is really always a place. I think home is something we figure out how to carry and pass out to the others.” – Hannah Brencher

I’ve been here for a little over a month, and truthfully, wasn’t sure how to go about my second blog post. In a whirlwind of new experiences, words, customs, places, and people….I didn’t know where to start.

In the course of the last few weeks I auditioned and was accepted on to a British competitive cheer squad (supporting the American football team ayyyy) and I started volunteering with One Church Brighton supporting their services for at-risk children and teens.

I also came to find that I am living in a hub for all things liberal, in all the best ways- nearly all British academic reading that I’ve encountered in the field of communication/cultural studies incorporates and stresses the relevance of feminism and society’s need for the ideology….regardless of the overall topic presented by the author. I kid you not, the essay could be about Sesame Street and these guys would find a way to highlight the ways in which women are faced with a double standard….they get it.

I picked up on some of the lingo, (the lot, to be fair, que, cheers….) but still “smile and nod” in response to phrases I’m yet to learn.

I got asked out to dinner by a very enthusiastic Chinese exchange student on the bus. Five times in a row……five…..times……

And most importantly, I uncovered the answer to the question that captivates every American girl:  he DID, in fact, buy those skinny jeans in the women’s section…and if you him nicely, he’ll even tell you “whereabouts.”  (for the record, these guys pull off the look very well)

……all were fair game for blog post #2.

But, Hannah Brencher sparked the fire (shameless plug: her writing will make you melt to your core…and her new book? Gold.  www.hannahbrencher.com makes my world go round. Check it out. ) when she recently published this quote. In general, this writer puts into words the concepts that the majority, myself included, sometimes cannot. This was no exception.

You could argue that “home” is a simple concept; where you were born, where your family lives, where you work, or where you study. And in some ways, it can certainly be portrayed in that light. You could argue that the idea doesn’t have the depth to be given a second thought.

That being said, if you know me, you already know I gave it a second thought *and a third* simply out of curiosity.

Of the many things I’ve come to find in the last month, a refreshed, refocused, and rejuvenated perspective on the meaning of the word “home” reigns supreme. 

This is not to say that I never understood the concept, as I’ve certainly felt it throughout my life courtesy of unconditionally loving family and friends. No worries folks, I’m not empty on the inside 😉 Rather, this is to say my understanding has evolved in a way that happens to fall directly in line with the words written by Hannah Brencher.

Home = Comfort.

This, I think, we can all agree on.

And while I do believe these terms are synonymous, each day here has illustrated that comfort is not circumstance- it’s a conscious choice that we make. It’s not about where we are. It’s the active decision to radiate joy in a way that makes those around you feel the sense of familiarity we have timelessly used to describe  what it means to feel “at home.” Comfort is not a physical place, but rather, an atmosphere we create ourselves.  And in these moments of joy, I believe you are home. Whether that be halfway across the world in England, in Missouri, in Arkansas, or else wear.

We are a generation that wants answers. In a time that can often come with uncertainty, we crave dependability through people and places alike. And at the end of of a long day, we look forward to being able to say “I am coming home now.”

A month of navigating a new country independently has shown me that “home” is not somewhere you travel to. It is not a destination. 

Hannah Brencher said it right; it’s a part of you. 





10.12.15// A snapshot of the Brighton Pier from afar





One thought on “Home.

  1. Mary Ann Owens says:

    You are one smart cookie Shelby! I miss you in my life. I always learn from you…and maybe it should be the other way. But you are just the best!!!

    Mary Ann Owens
    Senior Director, Membership & Program Services
    Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri
    2300 Ball Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63146
    T. 314.592.2396
    F. 314.214.3096


    Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/GirlScoutsEM and Facebook http://www.facebook.com/GirlScoutsEasternMO!


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