Home

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HOME. It is more than a place, more than a location. It is a feeling and a state of mind. Home is usually associated with many memories. Home can be a place you are very attached to. Home can be filled with stuff that helps you define who you are and your relation to the world. ‘Home is where the heart is’ goes the saying, although I am not entirely certain what this means. ‘This place feels like home’ is another saying, one I have said myself on occasions. In reality it makes little sense as I find we always tend to say this almost right upon arriving. What then is the feeling of home?

The feeling of home is no doubt very important to us. It is a feeling I try to re-create whenever I can. Presently I have no home so I must seek other ways to feel at home. As some will know; I sold almost everything I owned including my home two years ago and am traveling the world in search of, well, many things. Images, people, experiences, places, me. I still live as a nomad.

A sense of security, a sense of my own private space. A feeling of being comfortable and at rest. A place where I can breathe and just be. A place where I can re-charge in solitude. That is some of the things that home means to me. I have found that as a nomad I cannot re-create the entire feeling of home. It is simply one of the things I gave up when I began my nomadic existence. But still needing a home I must be creative. About 50-60 different beds have been ‘home’ the past two years. Some have been home for just a day, some for months. Everything from tents to swags under the stars to hostels to fantastic times living on boats in Australia.

There are days where I love the freedom and the feeling that I can accomplish everything. That impossible is nothing. Days where dreams come true and I truly believe I am building up to something that will end up having meaning and making a difference. Then there are the other days. The days where I long for having my own home. Where the world spins far too quickly and my brain screams for some stability, a 9-5 job and a home. Freedom and life without a home magnifies the highs and lows.

The past two years have taught many lessons, one of them being that I may be a nomad but I must re-create some of the feelings of home quite often. Being a nomad does not mean I always have to travel. It is taxing living on the road and my only way of recharging is feeling secure in my own space, where I can remember to pause and breathe. Just an hour in a park listening to music on headphones with my eyes closed can help immensely. I need these moments of solitude to face the world again. I may become distant or walk away in social situations as I create moments of solitude, moments of home. Home also means a place where I can unpack my things even for just a little while. Living out of a bag becomes somewhat tiring, unpacking my tooth brush is a way to be home.

Naturally I will one day have a home again somewhere. Apparently I said “I could totally live here” so many times in Papua New Guinea it became a running joke. Certainly, I am fond of the tropical climate and can see it as a home. In the meantime my own secure space where I can pause, even just space inside my head, is what home is to me presently. What home is to others is very fascinating to me. My path has taken me to many places in the world and I have the opportunity to document how people live and it is a story that has taken on great meaning for me.

We all call the same planet home yet we live in very different conditions. From luxury mansions to towering steel structures to huts made of cow dung. We are born into very different lives in different parts of the world. The large contrast spans from city life in a hectic mega metropolis like Bangkok to life on a tropical island with no electricity in Papua New Guinea. When I look out over Los Angeles from the Griffith Observatory it seems a vast industrial planet made up entirely of city lights. When I trek through a forest in Laos arriving at a remote hilltop village reachable only by crossing a river on foot, it seems almost impossible I am still on the same planet.

How we live seems to have a profound effect on how we feel and behave. Often in rich suburbia, fences are built and security companies patrol the streets. It appears the more money and stuff we have the more cautious and suspicious we become. We feel we must protect and not share our home. The opposite is the smiles and warm and kind hospitality that I have encountered in poorer countries. People may not have much but what they have they not only treasure, they also share. This has happened in so many places it cannot be a fluke. The people I have met in places like Laos, Kenya, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea have touched me deeply with their warmth and hospitality, smiles and spirit of life. I do not wish to idealize their lives, there is nothing romantic about being poor, I wish to merely reflect on a paradox. In these poorer countries where people have very little and struggle for food and money, there is an amazing spirit and joy of life expressed by everyone. Much more so than is on immediate display in developed rich countries where we have so much but perhaps take it for granted.

We live in entirely different ways in entirely different homes. But I find the more I travel the more I discover that we are all the same. We all share the same planet. We all have so much in common and want the same things no matter where and what our home and everyday life is on our planet. Carl Sagan says: “it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known”.

Our homes and everyday lives is a story I very much look forward to further explore and document.

The HOME story is now available as a magazine, click to read more about NOMAD magazine.

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26 comments on “Home

    • Glad you like the story and images Mark, I have put so much work into it. This is how my blog will be now, stories like this once a month or so. And thanks very much Mark, cannot thank you and Lee-Anne enough for your hospitality. Look forward to our next adventures on the wonderful Polaris and other ships, vehicles, planes etc :D

  1. Thoughtful writing, compassionate photography and eloquent editing with the addition of Carl Sagan’s Blue Dot essay. I do believe you have found your home within yourself; you are so far ahead of many in my opinion. Thank you for sharing your journey!

  2. Agreed with Darr about Carl Sagan’s Blue Dot essay being a great ending “slide”. And I so agree with you on suburbia, especially here, where for the most part suburbia = relatively affluent.

    “Home” to me has always implied a sense of belonging which feeds into identity, whether belonging is tied to the stuff one owns, communities one belongs to, the landscape one feels an affinity to, or some other factor. I assume there are myriad facets of any one place that each individual is emotionally anchored to, for as many reasons.

    Love how you’ve arranged this edit of your images – starting from the intimate close up scenes, expanding outward to the LA sprawl at the end. Reminds me a little of Places We Live somehow :)

    • Thanks very much C. Indeed, Jonas Bendiksen was an inspiration for this story and the image presentation – as were your idea of being able to see all image at large size on one page.

      Suburbs are a strange thing. In newer cities they can be so depressing and lifeless I find, just fenced in houses and no life at all in the streets, no shops anywhere as they are all placed in a mall meaning everyone has to drive everywhere. Not a great design for a world running out of oil. I like the inner suburbs of Copenhagen, they are more Asian in the way that there is quite a lot of life on the streets (although nothing like Malaysia etc where life is literally lived on the streets, something I like much.

  3. 3po has a home?

    Dude, you’re getting all metaphysical on me, man.

    Just kidding. We feel more at home in Australia than we do here in the States! I think the feeling of “home” has more to do with the feeling of belonging, that we are intrinsically part of a whole. Either that or we are all Borgs.

  4. Flemming – thoughtful photos and I’m impressed with the insightful way you’ve brought everything from 3rd world to Los Angeles to a point about how much we have in common and our wants, no matter where and what our home.

    Imagine if our leaders all thought and acted this way (and if we all demanded it from them)!

  5. very nicely put together man, and great words as well. your an insightful man, thinking about things we all take for granted and really don’t give much thought in day to day living.

  6. Hi Flemming
    Thanks for the thoughtful words and the beautiful images.
    I think you should arrange to having this book – and the next to come – printed in good quality. I’d be happy to order some for gifts and for myself too.
    I’m sure you could do a little good even if it doesn’t make many money. But you do good presenting life from other corners of the dot.
    Venlige hilsner Carsten

  7. My mind is nomadic but the stability that I have at home, in England holds me down like the deepest, thickest roots that would hold a tree upright a midst a torrential storm!
    It’s great to be able to experience another place, dimension, existence as a musician and then come home to continue my blessed duties as a mother.

    Good blogging and fantastic photography! It was an honor to meet you in Copenhagen.

    Sarah

    • Thank you Sarah, it was a pleasure and honor to meet you too and see you perform. I think you are right about the roots, I need that soon. Your images are coming soon I promise, just have a lot of images to work on and email from the great weekend. All the best.

  8. What a wonderful journey through the world Flemming! I can hardly get off the screen or do something else on my computer. I love how you write, quite humble and non pretentious. And your photography, what can I say other then that it’s stunning work! I love your Australia series, James Price Point (please help save it from destruction!), the Bight and Kakadu. You’re a cloud photographer too, so am I, can’t get enough of watching clouds in all weather conditions. I am so pleased to have stumbled upon you on line (via your comment on Save the Kimberleys page on facebook)! Looking forward to more explorations here on your website and in the future! Great lay out!

  9. Wonderful images and a paradoxical subject worthy of digging into to distinguish in more depth. It makes perfect sense to me to try and distinguish the idea of “Home” from the perspective of a nomad. By being in a home for a long while, perhaps we start to take it for granted and then we don’t “see” it anymore…. For me being able to travel enriches what I think of as “home”.

    I wish you a rich and rewarding experience and look forward to what you come up with!

    Cheers from afar,

    Zane

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