To me, being at home is more of a feeling than being at a place. I have traveled and moved a lot in my life, typically between continents and countries, meaning that my home has been vastly different at various points in my life. Sometimes my home has been a cozy little home in a rural village in Germany, and other times it’s been in State Capitols next to massive cities.

My home is defined by the people who live there, the community around it, and the way it makes me feel. I have had places that feel like home, even when I am far away from my house.

The layout of the house influences the feeling in a subtle way. If I feel like it is just one hallway with doors along it, it does not feel as familiar as a place with different areas and places, with it’s own branches and uniqueness.

The belongings inside a house are a more visible indicator of whether this is a house or a home. Filled with familiar belongings, or objects that I treasure and enjoy, fills me with a background happiness, knowing the freedom to enjoy and reminisce is right there. A bland house with no memorable objects or entertainment, feels like a waiting area, where I stay while I think of another place.

But what makes a house a home isn’t just the objects and environment; It is the people inside it, and whether you feel comfortable and welcome that determines whether it is your home.