Coming home. Homecoming. Homeland

Alongside the pleasant anticipation of arriving at a place with a hot shower, spacious kitchen and a comfortable bed, returning ‘home’ is one of the most engaging moments of traveling. It literally brings home the insight that you changed, as did the place that you once departed from. As Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher points out: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man”, every voyage involves an alteration of boundaries, ideas, identities and language.

As we came across different towns and now share stories with people in those places, the idea of ‘home’ turns out to be a disputable reference point. Home no longer works as a means by which I can connect myself to another place…. a traveler looses her point of reference -at least temporarily – resulting in an ability to see the person vis-á-vis from more than one origin,…or rather from multiple points of departure.

As wanderers across different languages our realities changed according to the sound and face of new local tongues. In t r a n s l a t i o n, there is an inherent necessity of renewing and hybridizing. As Benjamin says, the source keeps shifting, dwelling, it marks the continuation of the life of the original. For something to live on it needs to transform. Words have changed forever and there is no going back to an earlier version. New words have found their way into our vocabulary. Traveling back and forth between home and elsewhere, every word we speak and write between here and there bears something else – a motion within us, a translation.

“I learnt all the words and took them apart to reconstruct a single word: Homeland.” (Mahmoud Darwish)