I think a turning point for many avid travellers comes when they realise that they no longer have only one place to call 'home'. If home is simply where you feel 'at home', that opens up a whole host of options. If 'home is where the heart is' then friends and relationships made along the way can add to the confusion. I guess most of us are lucky enough to have one place where our roots lie... but when I have lived and loved, earned and learned in a new place I often feel my relationship with the setting itself evolving from a whirlwind affair into a long-term romance; no matter where I move on to, those few special places will always tug away at the old heart strings.
I grew up in a small rural city (more of a town really, but we like to boast about our cathedral and the official city status that comes with it) and even now after having been away for several years it is hard to go anywhere without bumping into a familiar face. I have some family here, and every Christmas the old college group make an effort to reunite in Wetherspoons for a night of reminiscing and catching up. But even though I grew up here and everything feels so utterly familiar, I can't help feeling like my mind is often elsewhere. I was brought up in this city; I didn't conquer it.
In Bristol I found my independence and made life-long friends. On Reunion Island I connected with people whose lives were so removed from my own. In Malaga I set out completely alone for the first time. In Cologne I worked hard to tune into the life of the person I love, and eventually found my own rhythm within it.
Perhaps the nomadic lifestyle of many travellers restricts them from really making a 'home' in any new location. But then again the key moments in your life always require a backdrop, and whether it be the people, the language, the scenery of a place that stick in your mind there will inevitably be a handful of places where returning feels like some kind of homecoming. Otherwise people would not travel, they would simply go on holiday.
I'm not really one for hats so I'm going to forget Marvin Gaye/Paul Young and opt for Grace Nichols instead -
"Wherever I hang me knickers, that's my home."