I am home and travel weary. Four sleeps in various beds across southern Ontario (business travel). One sleep in a bed in Grand Forks (soccer tournament). Too many meetings. Too many polite-introductions-followed-by-polite-small-talk conversations. Too many hours in too many cars on too many speeding freeways. Too many “I’ll just forgive myself for eating these few extra bites” meals.
It occurs to me – after a week of traveling in relatively familiar territory – that the degree of familiarity of the space I am in does not necessarily equal the degree to which I will feel at home. In fact, I can (and did) feel completely at home in a remote village on a remote island off the coast of India, wandering down a dirt path holding the hand of a complete stranger whose command of English is minimal. Conversely, I can feel utterly out of place in a room full of people who’ve been raised in the same country, with the same language, and essentially the same faith traditions as I was raised with.
It begs the question “who is my neighbour?” And another question “how do I make sure people feel at home in my presence?”