Choosing a topic to write your first blog post can be a little unnerving, especially if it's a personal blog. A person maintaining a tech blog has limited topics to choose from and should already posses an understanding of his niche; same goes for a travel blog or any other hobbyist blog. But an online personal journal requires a certain amount of introspection, without becoming too intimate or cheesy; requires a certain amount of casualness, without being too flippant. 

Or maybe I'm overthinking it. After all, I've never really had a personal blog before. 

I'll write on topics that come naturally to me, that hold a certain amount of significance for me, along with a few travel entries and pictures here and there, and see how it goes from there. 

And since I've created this little home of my mine on the internet recently, it's only natural to talk about ... well, "home".

You see, quite a few people out there live for the moment, enjoy their milieu, no matter how fleeting, and move on without much care or thought. We all know such people. They are usually the ones at gatherings who laugh the loudest, drink the most, and indulge the most in merriment with a perpetual, goofy grin on their face. The life of the party! Everyone gravitates towards them because of their "devil may care" attitude. Good for them! We all need such people in our lives, no matter how much they may annoy us, or fill us with envy.  

But for some, there is this nagging feeling of being out of place, of not feeling a sense of connection or contentment or belonging, and the source of these feelings is not easily discernible. Despite being amidst a great crowd, they feel lonely; despite having a lot, they feel that something is missing, something they can't really put a finger on. Ultimately, everyone is searching for a place in this world where they feel at home. Some just shrug off the uneasy feeling before realizing they're blocking traffic at a green light. Others take it to the next step by continually moving, hopping from continent to continent, country to country, gnawed by this feeling of dissatisfaction, trying to search, trying to find a spot in this world where they feel they'll find contentment.

Mind you, I'm not talking about quick, week-long business trips, or vacations to beautiful, postcard-esque locations. I'm talking about the act of settling down in different countries for extended periods of time in search for "home". 

I know that, to an extent, I can relate. Growing up in a small family, away from my country of birth, switching schools and cities every few years, only to leave at the age of 17 to pursue higher education to yet another country. Moving around a couple of more times due to work, many a time voluntarily but without a legitimate reason. Constantly having to make new acquaintances, re-connect with old ones, switch social circles, make hurried goodbyes, "hasta luego"s, "namaste"s, "maa salama"s. Feeling a sense of disquiet, you come back to see friends who have been together for 10 years get married or best friends who served together attending their grandchildren's baptism, and you wonder what that's like. Most likely, they are looking at you and your constant traveling and moving around, and wondering the same. You know that it wasn't entirely your choice  outside forces had a great hand on the life you've lived so far. But deep down you also know that, if you had wanted, you could've stayed back. Not being too attached to your comfort zone is great, but what if this nomadic life becomes your comfort zone and the thought of growing roots makes you uncomfortable?

And that's just my humble experience. To say nothing of the experience of people who have gone on such a journey decades past and never looked back. 

But I believe if you're always moving, either across the globe or even within the same city by changing jobs or social circles, in the hopes of finding that elusive sense of belonging, it's a pretty hopeless cause. You see, this world hasn't created anything in anticipation of you. That's the harsh truth. There is no magical country, or city, or vocation, or group of people, wherein you will just drop by one day and feel that instant sense of connection, where you will be content for the rest of your life. There is no place where you are, by default, needed. Period. 

In order to find a place where you belong, you have to create it. That is the only way. You have to make yourself indispensable in your own small circle. You have to toil away at your job and in your relationships; and bit by bit, year by year, decade by decade even, you have to show your worth to the people around you, make yourself worthy of their trust and respect. One fine day, you will wake up to find that your little corner of the world cannot function without you. 

And that day, you will find a sense of belonging.   

I'll be leaving my adopted country, yet again, for another year. And then I don't know where I'll be heading next. So, I suppose, I should take care to remember what I've written just now. And you, my dear friend, I don't know how you came across this little rant of an essay - perhaps you're on my FB friend list, perhaps you're an unsuspecting Google prowler, either way, I hope these few words help in some way. 

'Till next time, 

Shashank    

"People who spend their whole life travelling abroad end up having plenty of places where they can find hospitality but no real friendships"

Seneca