Always discover the place you call home

You can’t escape your geography so embrace it, explore its sights and sounds as much as possible, says columnist

A frail, elderly woman in a remote part of the Philippines asked the question that would set a world traveller on a new path: “What is your homeland like?”

“Should I tell her about my current home in Washington, DC, where it is not safe for my son to play outside?” he wondered, but could not answer. She expectantly asked him the question again, smiling.

Finally, he blurted out an answer: “In America, we have careers, not places.” She looked on him with obvious pity. He was a world traveller, in the midst of a successful career monitoring the world’s social and ecological health for the Worldwatch Institute, but had no home.

The former traveler in question is Alan Durning, who wrote the 1996 book This Place on Earth: Home and the Practice of Permanence. In the book he resolves to make Seattle “home” and in fact still lives there today.

What do you say when someone asks you “what is your homeland like?” If you grew up here in the Pacific Northwest, you may have vivid memories of your childhood immersed in this place of natural beauty.

Durning grew up in Seattle, and found his childhood memories drew him to re-settle in his birthplace.

But does geography really matter?

Many do not grow up in one place, and may have difficulty identifying their personal geography of “home.”

Many career paths require shifting residences and like Durning’s former career, may require extensive travel.

Can one feel at home away from home?

Thinking green here, your immediate environment cannot help but come to your senses. The air you breathe, the view you see, the sound of the birds, the local produce you buy in the store — you really cannot escape your geography.

Even if you stay locked up indoors and spend most of your time absorbed by virtual reality on electronic screens, your geography still surrounds you expectantly.

In fact, you will probably feel much more at home if you embrace your geography.

When I moved with my family to the west coast more than 20 years ago, we immediately started learning the local geography.

We began a pattern of exploring our surroundings on weekends and holidays that continues to this day.

We live in a remarkable place that I will never tire of exploring.

Some rainy days here on the wet coast, heading out to discover where you live is not too appealing.

Still, whatever the weather, seize the day, and learn more about what your homeland is like. And be prepared to testify.

David Clements, Ph.D. is Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Trinity Western University.

Just Posted

Halloween on horseback

Langley riders club celebrates the season

ELECTION 18: Langley Township, you chose Jack Froese for mayor

Township voters went with a familiar face, handing incumbent a third term as mayor

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Who won and who didn’t in the Lower Mainland votes

A look at the region’s mayoral races, starting with Doug McCallum coming back to win in Surrey

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Newly-elected Lower Mainland mayor won’t drink his city’s tap water

White Rock’s Darryl Walker is concerned about its quality

Kennedy Stewart challenged with building bridges as mayor of Vancouver: expert

The former NDP MP, who ran as an Independent, will lead 10 councillors divided across four parties

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

Vancouver drag queens receive royal treatment during Kootenay Pride

Vancouver drag queens discuss the importance of Pride and growing acceptance of LGBTQ community

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

Most Read