What defines “home?”
Is it people?
Is it a specific place or the memories made during a certain period of time?
Would you call Paris your home?
Is it the quest for comfort and familiarity?
Is the issue really about where is home or what is home?
Is it possible to have several “homes” at the sametime?
Accepting having multiple homes sounds like a strange thing.
At times, it’s like betraying your first home.
Sometimes I think of how easier life would be if I only lived in Paris and only knew the people here so I had nobody to miss, you know what I mean?
But that's just not anyway to be.
So, what is “home”?
I watched many TED and TEDx talks about this concept called “Home” and came up with this short list of eight of them that I found really inspiring and touching.
These talks offer a thoughtful look at what it means to belong.
Let’s get started
1. What Is Home by Pico Iyer on the TED stage.
Duration: 14 minutes
Many people across the world are living in countries not considered their own. TED speaker and writer Pico Iyer — who himself has more than three “origins” — has been meditating on the meaning of home, the joy of traveling and the serenity of standing still.
Born in Oxford, England, educated at Eton, Oxford and Harvard, Pico grew up between medieval England and '60s California. He’s spent more than 25 years tracking movement and stillness — and the way crisscrossing cultures have changed the world, our imagination and all our relationships.
Watch the talk below.
2. Don't ask where I'm from, ask where I'm a local by Taiye Selasi on the TED Stage.
Duration: 16 minutes
Has anyone asked you where you’re from?
When someone asks you where you're from … do you have the same answer?
Or do you sometimes not know how to answer?
Writer and photographer Taiye Selasi, a multi-local afropolitan of Nigerian and Ghanaian descent, born in London and raised in Boston, speaks on behalf of "multi-local" people, who feel at home in the town where they grew up, the city they live now and maybe another place or two.
"How can I come from a country?" she asks, in this talk.
"How can a human being come from a concept?", she ads.
Taiye Selasi now lives in Europe but describes herself as a "local" of Accra, Berlin, New York and Rome.
Watch or listen to her full talk below.
3. What is home? Sehba Sarwar on TEDxHouston Stage.
Duration: 16 minutes
Sehba Sarwar is a writer, multidisciplinary artist, and activist, currently based in Houston, USA.
She moves between the city of her birth, Karachi, Pakistan, where she spent the first half of her life in a home filled with artists, activists and educators, and her adopted city, Houston, where she has recreated a community similar to the one where she was raised.
Sehba’s writings have appeared in anthologies, newspapers, and magazines in India, Pakistan, and the US.
Sehba’s work (writings, installations and videos) explores displacement and women’s issues, moving between South Asia and the US.
What Is Home?
“Everything I do is centered around that question,” she says when asked to describe the breadth of her work.
“I didn’t quite understand that until I started working on writings.”
Sehba’s answer to this central question seems to be shaped by her identity as transnational.
“I can step out of the airport in Karachi and feel at home, and I can do the same here in Houston.” Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, she arrived at Mount Holyoke in the fall of 1983. “It was really the first time I had left home,” she says. A “collage” of different, thematically tied stories, Sarwar’s memoir shares her unique encounters with identity, borders, citizenship, family, and culture.
You can listen to or watch her entire talk below.
4. Where is home? by Frances Mensah Williams on the TEDxEuston Stage.
Duration: 11 minutes
A few quotes from this talk:
"Home isn’t a place where you just show up. It is a place where you are invested in, ... a place where you're fully present."
"Home is where we can be ourselves, without judgement, without fear"
"You have to let people care for you in their way"
"To feel at home you can't just dip in and out, ... only keeping an observer status. You have to be part of the community."
"My problem was not my accent, but fear - fear of not belonging".
FRANCES MENSAH WILLIAMS is a writer and the Chief Executive of Interims for Development Ltd., award-winning UK-based Human Resources, Careers and Training consultancy for Africa, and the Publisher and Managing Editor of ReConnect Africa.com, a careers and business website and online publication for African professionals in the Diaspora.
I’m sure you’ll love her talk.
It really sounds very honest and true, especially for people travelling often.
Here’s her entire talk:
5. What is home? Growing up between cultures by Abeer Yusuf on the TEDxTerryTalks Stage.
Duration: 19 minutes
In this talk, Abeer Yusuf talks about the difficulties in answering the question “where is home?”
Abeer Yusuf is a TCK ( Third Culture Kid).
Born in India, raised in Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia, Yusuf had to grapple with the definition of identity and belonging right from an early age.
Drawing from her personal experiences, Abeer notes, in her talk, the positives and negatives of transitioning between cultures and how this can make us rethink our own conceptions of “home”.
As she explains in her TEDx Talk, she believes that as identity becomes more globalized and people migrate more, there should be a paradigmatic shift in defining identity as ever evolving and shifting.
Find her entire talk below.
6. I'm home: How 10 years of travel helped me find belonging. By Phil Cha on the TEDxUW Stage.
Duration: 16 minutes
In this engaging talk, Phil Cha describes his decision to drop everything and travel the world while he was still in medical school.
In this talk, you’ll find out how this path, not frequently taken, turned into a path of finding for the serial martial artist and marathon runner and the surprising takeaways at the end of it all.
Phil Cha’s talk is a food for thought on the meaning of Home and Belonging.
It’s inspirational and engaging.
Watch the entire talk below.
7. Home is a song I've always remembered. By Teitur on the TED Stage.
Duration: 10 minutes
For songwriter and musician Teitur, singing is about giving away a piece of oneself to others.
"If your intentions are to impress people or to get the big applause at the end," he says, "then you are taking, not giving."
Teitur was on the TED Stage in 2015 and spent 10 minutes playing two songs about love, distance and home.
TED is all about technology, entertainment and design.
You’ll notice that Teitur’s performance includes both entertainment and inspiration and the fact that he sings instead of giving a talk doesn't detract from his message in the end.
Here’s the entire talk (Singing performance)
8. Finding Home Through Poetry. By Najwa Zebian on the TEDxCoventGardenWomen Stage.
Duration: 15 minutes
Have you ever felt like you don’t have a “Home”?
A place where you belong?
Najwa’s words will make you cry.
Hardly does anyone have the courage to put their life story in front of the whole world.
In her talk, Najwa demonstrates how words can pave the journey that leads us to our home, to a place where we feel we belong, understand, value, and most importantly where we feel worthy of feeling that way.
Najwa Zebian is a Lebanese Canadian educator based in London, Ontario, Canada. Her passion for creative expression was evident from a young age as she delved into Arabic poetry and novels.
Find her entire talk below.
Our most beautiful home- Earth. By Bittu Sahgal on the TEDxCRCE Stage.
Duration: 18 minutes.
In this talk, environmental activist and writer Bittu Sahgal speaks eclectically about our beautiful blue marble we call “home”. We can find no other place anywhere in our universe as unique as it yet we damage our ecosystem beyond repair.
Bittu asks us to resolve this damage before we can not unbreak what we have started.
Watch his entire talk below.
Over To You!
Hey, what’s your definition of “home”?
Where is ‘home’ for you ?
Is it the house where you grew up?
Is it your current home?
Is it just being with your loved ones, wherever you are, or is it something else entirely?
I tend to think that “Home” is that place of belonging and becoming.
A place where you can be who you truly are, and become who you’re truly meant to be.
What do you think?
Let’s have a chat in the comments.
- 10 Things No One Told Me About Becoming A “Successful” Parisian Expat
- We Mistakenly Shared A Breitbart’s Article About Paris On Social Media: Here’s What Happened Next.
- Top 10 Things I Really Want To Stop Doing This Year
- How Do Money Transfer Companies Compare To Transferring Money Using A Bank?
- 7 Easy Ways To Make Your Parisian Commute More Productive
Latest from Michael Bahati
- 10 Essential Skills They Don’t Teach You In College That Are Crucial For An Expatriation Adventure.
- 7 Best Habits to Adopt For A Fulfilled Life in Paris.
- The 2017 French Presidential Election: Top Candidates’ Migration Programmes.
- Introducing Paris Talks: A Conference On The Future Of Humanity.
- 22 Great Questions To Ask Your Future French Boss