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The Passenger

May 18, 2012


A month away from finishing a term abroad in the UK, Faun wants to listen to some Iggy Pop and talk about the nature of home and leaving.

In an increasingly international world, the idea of a permanent ‘home’ is difficult for some of us. Still, the word carries with it connotations of stability, security, and immobility. A small rethinking of the concept of home is necessary for those of us who can’t say for sure where we will be in ten years and, as my good friend Amy Watkins said recently, hope to never be able to.

The idea of carrying our homes around with us seems fairly lonesome and empty; it feels essentially like a way of isolating ourselves. I’d like to add a layer to that, however, and say that the most important thing to keep in mind is that memories are not just moments; they’re cumulative. When we say goodbye to a person or a place, we don’t walk away with an inert memory. Instead, we walk away with an experience that has changed us and will continue to change the way we think and act for the rest of our lives.

This helps both with how we think about ‘home’ and how we think about ‘goodbye’. The “We’ll always have Paris” of it all may seem a bit outdated in a world where keeping in touch is only a webcam away, but I think that situated experiences and interactions still carry more significance than virtual ones. And every time a person we care about leaves or is left, we keep a dynamic and influential memory.

In short, the melodrama that attaches itself to departures takes away from the value of travelling and leaving. Think about what ‘permanence’ really means.

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