“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

WHAT IS WHAT YOU CALL HOME ABOUT?

What You Call Home is an audio series, exploring the meaning of home from various angles. Among others, you will hear personal memoirs from cultural nomads, women moving countries for love, those who view religion as their safe haven as well as yoga and music lovers who take refuge in art. You will also find stories about heartbreak, divorce and accepting the loss of a parent. Home is what makes people who they are, it’s what makes them unique. Stay tuned for raw conversations with people just like you.

THE STORY BEHIND WHAT YOU CALL HOME

Hi, thank you for showing interest in my project! My name is Veronika and I am the creator of What You Call Home. At age 13, I left Belarus with my mother and moved to Austria in hopes for a better future. This experience shaped who I was in various ways and inevitably challenged and redefined my personal meaning and idea of “home”.

All of a sudden I found myself in an environment where the reality that I had been familiar with, wasn’t real anymore. I struggled with finding my true identity, was forced to learn a foreign language and to find my place in a new culture.

Now, after years of reflection, travelling and adjustment to various places, I’ve grown to understand that my world views weren’t what they once used to be. So I naturally wondered what other people associated with the feeling of “home”. I wanted to explore the topic from various angles, see what gave people comfort and joy and how they felt when this feeling was taken away from them.

With a background in journalism and a passion for profile writing, my instinct was to start interviewing people who I thought had interesting perspectives on the topic of home. I wanted to capture their voice, tone and pace, so telling their stories through audio seemed to be the authentic way to do it.

This endeavour did not come without its challenges. I faced several questions that stifled me, and still do, along the way: How do I find people who are willing to open up to me and share their intimate thoughts with the world? Do I limit this project to just one language or do I want this to be a multilingual experience? Being a one-woman team, how do I manage all this workload (the technical aspect!) by myself?

Despite the challenges, I’ve stuck with this project because I believe that everyone has a story that people care about. We all have common memories that allow us to empathise with each other. This project has reinforced my belief that the concept of home is not tied to a place, but can mean various things to different people, be it a person, a passion, faith or even something as abstract as a feeling.

Through conversations with people, I found valuable insight into different home dynamics and how these change when life throws obstacles along the way. I’ve become aware that we learn to cope with and grow from the most extreme circumstances that challenge our “home”, but ultimately make it stronger. 

My own story has shown me that we are a highly adaptable species. We are constantly evolving, but so does our perception of home. I believe this is a perspective that is everlasting and I cannot wait to discover more angles to showcase it from. I hope you will join me on this journey.

Yours, Veronika

THE STORY BEHIND THE WHAT YOU CALL HOME ILLUSTRATION

In astrology there are four main angles (funnily enough they are called “houses”) on a person's birth chart –  the representation of the sky at our time of birth. The star constellations signify our interactions with people, our origin, family, inner life, emotions, how we present ourselves – basically our entire personality! The Imum Coeli (IC), one of the angles, means "the bottom of the sky", and it refers to the early life that shaped us. The sign on the IC suggests our beginnings in life, our cultural and parental influences; it points towards what we need for security and relationships within our home and family life. In relation to my project, I consider this to be the most meaningful part of ourselves.

On the drawing you can see four star signs in the corners of the sky, my personal birth chart. The girl carrying the Leo is holding on to the IC. This image is a symbolic representation of holding on to our roots as we grow older.

I wouldn't call myself a believer in astrology, but I find inspiration in metaphors and symbolism. The feeling of home is deeply rooted within our soul. It makes us who we are, dictating how we decide to love and live our lives. Thank you to the talented Lois Mary Browns for capturing my idea so wonderfully on a piece of paper.

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What You Call Home is an audio series, exploring the meaning of home through personal memoirs of people like you and me.

What You Call Home is an audio series, exploring the meaning of home through personal memoirs of people like you and me.