For a traveller, a home is a place of refuge. It’s the closest you’d feel comfortable with what’s around you. A cloth tent in a silent desert, a thatched house in a secluded village, a bunk bed in a hostel, or a swanky room in a 5 star hotel — can all give you a sense of coming home. And when you hit the pillow (if you’re lucky to have one), and the tiredness of the day escapes your body; that’s when you know, you can let it all go.

These days, the concept of home has blurred for me. Whenever I think of home, I don’t think of the city that I grew up in, or my hometown that I’d visit in summers. Strangely, what I truly miss about home — are the mountains of the north. Basil finds it hard to believe. After all, I was born in the plains, in a coastal village town, and have lived in a city along the coast — for most of my life. Strangely, I’ve always found choppy waters to be the perfect remedy to calm the turmoil within.

I would’t want to pit the sea against the mountains; but I think if I’ve ever felt truly home, at any place, it would have to be under the shadow of the cascading peaks of the mountains. The silence isn’t terrifying. The seclusion is rewarding. The isolation — a cure for loneliness. And the opportunity to truly connect with your inner self — unparalleled. Nothing really matters under the canopy of white clouds, pale backdrop of stony rock formations, and dotted animal life in the far distance. Life in total dependance of the elements, makes you learn, to appreciate life by itself. And although, in the true sense, I will never be a local (in ethnicity or cultural lineage) of these extreme landscapes; it’s where I think I left my heart behind, and perhaps, the only place I truly belong.

Nubra Valley, Ladakh.

Home is, I suppose just a child’s idea. A house at night, and a lamp in the house. A place to feel safe.

V. S. Naipaul

Pangong Tso, Ladakh.

If you go anywhere, even paradise, you will miss your home.

Malala Yousafzai


Somewhere in-between, Ladakh.

It may be that the satisfaction I need depends on my going away, so that when I’ve gone and come back, I’ll find it at home.


Leading Nowhere, Ladakh.

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.

Maya Angelou

Patseo, Ladakh.

The human brain now holds the key to our future. We have to recall the image of the planet from outer space: a single entity in which air, water, and continents are interconnected. That is our home.

David Suzuki

Posted by:twobrownfeet

Writer-Photographer Duo. Now in Seoul.

59 replies on “Somewhere I Belong

  1. This is such a beautiful post Cheryl. The mountains do it for me too, I always feel at home there yet I was raised nowhere near them. I guess it’s where our heart is. Stunning photos and as always your writing always hits my heart strings. xo

    1. Thanks so much, Miriam. I struggled with this post. It’s been 3 weeks since we’re back. The pangs of separation from something familiar are threatening to reappear. 😦 But, the trees have finally changed colour. There’s something to look forward to, even if, there’s a lot that I seemed to have left behind. xo

      1. Aw, Cheryl, I’m hearing you. It must be hard starting afresh and leaving the comfort and familiarity of what you knew. But yes, look to the positives, the colors on the trees, the sunshine, the friends you’re yet to meet, the inspiration you have around you to write. 🙂 Sending you big hugs. xo

      2. Thank you for your hugs, Miriam! Somedays are hard to get by. Basil’s down with the bug. Being positive does help though. It’s something I learned from your blog! Thanks for always being there! 🙂 xo

      3. He’s doing much better. I’m trying hard not to catch it! Just a bit drained. 🙂 The temperatures are a bit iffy. I’m sure it will be fine. 🙂

  2. This is so poignant and relevant. Being on the road and changing countries as much as we have, this post about home really hits the mark. What I usually miss the most are my cats and my own bed. But that said, animals along the way fill the gap and the heart and there are of course plenty comfy beds to be found.

    I really like your selection of wuotes and photographs.


    1. Hi Peta! Thanks for stopping by. I did read a couple of posts on your blog, might have left a comment too, and was amazed by your travel journey. I wonder if we’d ever do something like that? You’ve been to so many fascinating places and countries (including my home country). Is there a way I could follow your blog other than email? I don’t always check my email and prefer reader pops to email alerts. Have a great week! And safe travels. 🙂

  3. Beautiful set of pictures.
    Every now and then I come across bloggers who want to escape to mountains. In a stark contrast to your statement they never want to return back -to Home!
    Most of them are youngsters, I wonder what is sparking this all! Are people pressurised with modern life or do they want to live the life their ancestors lived? Without technology.. without modern day pressures?

    1. Thanks, Arvind. 🙂 Looks like, I’ve not been following the ‘right’ bloggers. Haha! I know what you mean. I guess it’s a combination of ‘3 Idiots’ and the boom in the travel industry. Having worked till 2 am in the morning, before quitting my job (had a strange thought that I could become a writer), I think I know what’s going through their mind. Cities are a burner these days with long work hours, more than a million people in your face (including your boss), honking cars, and an empty life. I think, the mountains are somewhere you can find solace in the silence. I don’t think a lot many of our ancestors lived in the mountains. We’re not built for that terrain. The pressure on the lungs is tremendous. Army jawans start their acclimatisation over a period of a year and after 6 months are sent back. And many of them develop health issues over time. Mine (ancestors), as far as I know, thrived in the plains and loved the sea. So, I’d have to choose a mountain town at a lower elevation. 🙂 I don’t have any qualms in admitting that after being a realist for the better part of my life, I’d choose escapism.

      1. I know what you mean. I think the good thing that’s emerging with this trend is that youngsters are no longer afraid of breaking the norm…of doing off beat and taking risks. I guess 10-15 years all this was a dream. no one would like to experiment with life and career. That’s a reality now.
        I recently came across an article which was posted on huffinghton post that spoke about changes happening across the world. It mentioned that people are feeling burnout with the current work and corporate culture. which is true.

        As for following “right bloggers” well, I don’t know may be chanced upon these? 😉

      2. I guess it is a trend among urban folk. Living in the cities and returning to rustic village/mountain towns. I think, not many will eventually make the move because it’s hard to leave a lifestyle once you’re used to it. 🙂

      3. You said it!! Hardships of rustic life coupled with lack of
        Entertainment and options surely means it’s not every one’s cup of tea!

  4. I emphatise with you, Cheryl. For someone who has moved around quite a bit as I was growing up, the idea of home is fuzzy for me as well. Interesting to hear that you connect with mountains. Maybe you’ve visited the mountains a few times in your life and it simply speaks to you, calling out to you. Some places just do that – perhaps in another life we were living there, or in our dreams our being travels to that place, you never know.

    Love the Malala quote. You can go to a place you’ve always wanted to go or a place that you never fail to enjoy yourself there, but it is simply not the same as the place where you can be yourself and feel at ease 🙂

    1. We do share similar stories, Mabel. And it’s one of the reasons do enjoy reading your blog. Honestly, I’m terrified of the mountains. The scale and magnitude can be daunting. But, once I let go of fear, the realisation being one with nature takes over. It’s hard to express the feeling. Maybe, you should try it for yourself. 🙂 I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  5. Well-expressed, Cheryl. Sometimes, I think I travel so that I can look forward to coming home. My idea of paradise is to live in a place backed by mountains and have a river running across at front gate. But right now, I’m happy to live in a densely populated housing estate, where the walls need a new coat of paint, the roof leaks a little when it rains heavily and the neighbour’s dog sometimes poops on the grass outside my gate! 🙂

    1. Haha! I have a habit of checking the authors’ background before posting quotes (so, I knew). 🙂 I haven’t been reading a lot these days and it’s a way I can learn more. And I’d admit, I love his quote too! 🙂

  6. well said Cheryl – interesting that the mountains call to you. I too love the mountains but live in the “lowcountry” of South Carolina where we are basically at sea level. But I’ve traveled to mountains all over the world and been astonished by every one of them. It would be a VERY hard choice for me to be only by the sea or only in the mountains! Fortunately I have access to both, and both feel like home – whether we live there or not!

    1. Thanks, Tina! 🙂 I agree, it is a tough choice to make. It’s good to have an opportunity to have the best of both! You have been to so many wonderful places across the world — I truly enjoy your side of the story. 🙂

  7. It’s funny when we travel, I usually gravitate towards the sea and beach, but on our last trip, we spent time in 2 different sets of mountains (in Alsace, and in Llogara in Albania), and I felt a peace there that I didn’t feel by the water. As you say “the isolation – a cure for loneliness.” Hard to feel alone when surrounded by so much majesty. (and clearly, we need to get out on some hikes this autumn). 😀

    1. I’ve been late to fall in love with the mountains. Like you, I was always drawn to the sea. Basil converted me! I didn’t sleep for 3 nights before this trip. I’m glad we did go after all those jitters. Couple of my friends have been exploring the Himalayan landscapes and I’m so jealous. I wonder if I will ever hike the Himalayas, because I’m so terrified of them. That’s a dream!
      Among other news, my body is finally breaking down with all the heavy exercise those muscles (or lack of) are getting! Haha! I could do with a relaxing beach resort type of trip. Fingers crossed for travel plans to open next week!

  8. I started writing a post about how I don’t feel local anywhere anymore, but then I just depressed myself and gave up! I may or may not return to the idea before the week is out … but you are right that “local” is a feeling, not a strict definition.

    1. Haha! I had similar thoughts. I killed three drafts of this post (all were negative and depressing) and stuck to something more contemplative. All the best with your post! 🙂

  9. After coming back from Himachal recently , I can truly truly identify with what you expressed. The mountains envelope you and cast their magic, filling your soul with such peace than chaos seems to be alien.
    You write brilliantly well Cheryl. This is such a wonderful piece:)

    Love the pics and the quotes too!

    1. I wish I can go back to Himachal, Divyakshi! Volunteer or find a way of sustaining ourselves. 🙂 For the moment, we’ve made Seoul our temporary home.
      🙂 Thanks for stopping by. It always feels good to be appreciated!

  10. Cheryl, the mountains pics are breath taking. For me Home is as you said, “A Place you can relax and be safe from the World”.
    I prefer my vacations near secluded beaches. Water does something to me.

  11. I can see this post struck a chord with a lot of people. I love the sea and the mountains and have the very good fortune to have a home both at the sea and another home near (I can look at them) the mountains. After spending some time in high altitude cities, I decided that I didn’t appreciate the 3 days of headaches each time I arrived there from sea level and decided to settle for a city that is lower. However, I can still get up to the high altitudes and come back down again in one day from my Argentine home.
    So – home for me has been different places over the years. If I have a few of my things and some good books I can pull out, some friends to visit and some routines I’ve developed and can ease into, then it is home. At the moment, I feel like I have two homes. I had three a couple of years ago, but that was one too many so I sold that one.
    Although I can feel comfortable in a number of different places, I have been fascinated by native cultures that are very tied to the land and have inhabited the same land for thousands of years. Their land is defined by landmarks such as rivers, mountain peaks, islands or the ocean. There are many tribes in my native British Columbia that are like that and when I hear them talk, I can understand how their home and where they live is an important part of their whole being. For them, to be removed from their land is like having their soul ripped from them.
    I guess we all have our own feelings about what home is and it is different for everybody.

  12. I think, these days, a lot many of us are travelling or moving to different parts of our own country or another country. Home is a relative term as you rightly say. I guess, home is a place we can be ourself.
    I’m not too good with high altitude cities either, though I wish I could have been built for that landscape. 😦
    It must be wonderful for you to have a home near the sea and the mountains. Must give you so much perspective in life, living in such close quarters with nature. And I know exactly what you mean, when you talk about the native tribes whose identities are locked with these pristine landscapes. Maybe, a part of me wants to be like them. I guess I’d never know unless I learn to let go. 🙂

  13. Mountains are my happy place, though like you, I was not raised anywhere near them. Perhaps it’s the sense of size that they create in a landscape. Perhaps it’s their harshness and stark beauty. Perhaps it’s just that I like feeling small… feeling my place in the world at large. Perhaps it’s because mountains are one of the last true places on earth where you can feel lost, or alone and unencumbered. Thanks for this post. I came upon it today and your words resonate deeply with me.

    1. Hi Sheri! Thanks so much for visiting our blog. Your words of appreciation truly mean a lot to us. I was slow to learn to love the mountains, maybe I let fear (of heights) take over. It’s been a challenge for me, not as much for Basil, to tame my fear. I understand the humbling experience, you speak about. And I couldn’t agree more with “mountains are one of the last true places on earth where you can feel lost, or alone and unencumbered”.

  14. The concept of home is always difficult for someone who is moving all the time. But them, the concept changes slightly and the sentence “home is where the heart is” starts to make sense. Home is not a single place, it’s everywhere where you left a bit of yourself 🙂

  15. I lived away for a year and even though I actually live 45 mins from the sea, it was visits to the coast I missed most. It’s still my go to place if I am going out on my motorcycle. Nice post and great images.

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