Opinion: “Home” is a feeling, not an address


Photo illustration by Peyton Kuschmeider and Henry Pham

I can still remember the smell of my old apartment. I can still hear the chaos that erupted in my old school’s hallways while me and my friends peacefully conversed. I can still see the unique and colorful graffiti that covered the city streets and walls.

It’s been three years, yet I remember it all like it was yesterday.

That was my home, and it always will be in my heart. 

For the first 12 years of my life, I lived in Houston. I was in love with the city and everything it had to offer. Houston is a large city and just as diverse as its size. I loved that aspect of the city the most simply because everyone was so different; everyone could be themselves and be accepted as is. 

Moving away from that sense of diversity and inclusivity was difficult. Those feelings of comfort, safety and love within my community from Houston were stripped away upon moving to Dallas. I was alone in a city I knew nothing about. 

Adjusting to my new life in Dallas was incredibly challenging. I never truly felt at home here; the city always felt like more of a vacation to me. I thought that at any time, I would leave and return to my home, but that cozy feeling never came to be.

Although I have now fully adjusted and found my rightful place in Dallas, I still do not consider it to be my true home. Home, by definition, is “the place where one lives,” but my definition of home is rather a place where you feel you belong, feel comfortable, feel safe and feel loved by everyone around you. 

Home doesn’t even have to be a place, it can be a person. Finding a safe, loving home in a friend, family member or significant other is an unmatchable feeling. Trustworthy, loving people can be elating. Those people in my life were my friends from Houston, which I grew to miss the more I stayed in Dallas. 

It seems obvious, as everyone would miss their old friends, but the people I knew there were so different from the people here. The people in Houston, my friends, were kind and accepting, while it felt like individuals in Dallas were conceited and stuck to their own ways. I sincerely did not expect two cities, only four hours from each other, could differ so greatly. The friends I made in Houston were my version of home. I’ve met so many amazing people here in Dallas, but none could ever compare to them. 

I miss Houston with all of my heart, but I am lucky that I am able to return often. Although the trips are only temporary, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by a feeling of familiar comfort, as if no time had ever passed. It’s always a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and that’s what home should feel like for anyone.

This feeling can easily be mistaken as nostalgia, but it is so much more than that. It’s genuine love, warmth and belonging. 

People say, “home is where the heart is,” and that couldn’t be more true. Home doesn’t have to be a specific address. It can be anything: a person, a city, but most of all, it’s a feeling. Home is true love and happiness.