I grew up in post-communism in a fractured generation. Each with its own bubble.

Yes. And you know how sometimes you’re so far from the normal idea of home that you have a hard time understanding just how far? I don’t even distinguish between nuclear family home and co-housing as a home, because this is not where the action is imho (even thogh it could be a crucial distinction for many, and rightly so). I think it comes down to the heart, in the sense of feeling of belonging, no matter how the home setup looks like. That was hard to rebuild after I left Cluj for good, simply because I had thought I belong there, because my people were there. Only to realise that having 2 homes is even more rewarding, feeling safe and at ease in two places, or more. But in the absence of this feeling, a sense of wondering the world would not do it, not for me. It does work for @natalia_skoczylas and others though. Maybe because you two and others are more at ease at engaging with the places you’re in.

@Nadia made this comment of your ‘community of fate’ being very much tied to land and rituals. I find it very interesting as well, this deep attachment:

How these narratives can carry people through rough times due to a sense of being a community of fate. The rituals, again tied to place and people, which everyone of the place has internalised often have the role of weaving together communities. The older they are, the more thoroughly they are grounded in your person - because of childhood memories etc. A solid common ground. (source)

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On this topic I recommend @medhin_paolos 's beautiful account of the relationship of and within Diaspora communities that settle in the land of former colonial powers:

"The Eritrean/Ethiopian community has been present in Italy for at least half a century and it has been actively integrated into the social and cultural life of the city. Starting from the collective memories of the community, on the ground of photo documents, the film gathers together the legacy of personal stories, exploring the different shades of identity, migration and the aspirations of the people"

Our @alberto has explored this part of north Italian heritage through the eyes and voices of the Mondine - who took part in partisan resistance movement during the second world war:

Also Maybe @mstn can shed light on this relationship to land/place (if my memory doesn’t fail me he wanted to be a herder of goats or cows in the mountains?)


These are fantastic quotes, @Olimpia. You said it better than I did: the work of building your home, of making yourself at home in a community – be it the one you grew up in or one you arrived at later in life – is good work. Exhausting and frustrating at times, but good work overall. It carries meaning, and I am proud to do it.

@nadia evoked my own work as a musician with traditional music from the corner of the world I grew up in. Leaving Emilia, and then leaving Italy, did not mean I had to leave that behind, not at all. Instead, I carry this identity with me, wherever I go. It does not make much of a difference, in fact: even in Italy, even in Emilia, it is very much a peripheral identity, although in some cases a respected one. Wherever I am, I and the people closest to me are never more than one small thread in the worldsong. As I go, I pick up new notes, and, very carefully, integrate them in the thread, so that they make a harmonious whole. There has never been any need to turn my back on anything important.

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I think I disagree with the statement that communal vs nuclear living is not where the action is - the creation of nuclear living is so tied to neoliberal capitalism and slow decay of social relations that for me it has to be worked against. I am not hoping for it to disappear completely, but further separation and isolation only supports the logic of business as usual late capitalism we live in - with all its environmental, economical and other human disasters. Living with people is hard work, even harder when people are out of your bubbles (happened to me this year, our flatmate is sooo damn different from what I’d like her to be… but then, it’s a learning experience I’m having with her I wouldn’t have with anyone who is like me;)), but maybe this is a way to try to mend the rift in contemporary societies, fighting for the opinions on the barricades almost.

I learned to see everywhere I am as home, which is very helpful when you roam the world constantly and have no relation with your real family - I was forced to build a stability for myself in this weird setup. It’s precarious, I’m aware of it, but I am also very lucky with supportive, empathic, generous human beings, and that’s often much more than you’d get from your family. I’m grateful for that.

Yeah. Maybe I wasn’t clear, sorry about that. I meant that, at least for me, it’s not this that will make more of a home or not, it’s really the people. Yes, we need to expand on our narratives of home and re-shape those which are currently not working because they contribute to isolation, and all the things you say. But for me what was an unexpected admission was that my home is in people, not in any land per se or arbitrary house setup. So that comes after, rather than being a prerequisite. It’s like the basic level of Maslow’s pyramid, but layered for what makes a safe and loving home.
It’s also why I notice that some people can move out of their land or country courageously when they follow dear ones. It’s like taking their soul home with them…

So what @Olimpia says about challenging the idea that ‘‘home’ needs to be a stable space, a comfortable one, a space of predictability and intimacy’ - it’s a little more difficult for those of us wired for safety and intimacy as a basis for anything else.

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@noemi, I agree with you that safety and intimacy are important but, in my view, they are not givens. They are values we learn with others and, like any other values, they have particular histories; they are embedded in systems of political, economic and social relations. As @natalia_skoczylas pointed out, nuclear family is very much a product of a specific political economic system and it has tremendously benefited it. More collective forms of dwelling have their own histories. So, while I agree with you that ‘home is in people’ and with @johncoate that ‘home is where the heart is’, I would still add that home - as a feeling, a physical space, a social landscape - is built in relation to one or more societies (from which we leave, where we arrive). This is why I said that we need to deconstruct, to challenge our understandings of home, intimacy, safety. In order to stay sane we never simply deconstruct, we also build with others homes, but the exercise of deconstruction is important because it shows us why we choose to live in a particular way; it also renders the work necessary to live like that visible and more valuable. This type of work might burst some bubbles, create dialogue and help us find “a way to try to mend the rift in contemporary societies” @natalia_skoczylas


I agree with you that home is built in relation to one of more societies. That neat little phrase does relay a certain truth, but it obviously has no nuance.

I am someone who was raised in a strong nuclear family, who went on the road and lived as a nomad and then left the region where I was raised and lived for all of my 20s in an intentional community that was entirely created from nothing by the people involved, without help from outside.

But although that community still exists in a different and diminished form (meaning I could have stayed there to this day), I chose to leave with my own new family and move back to California, closer to my widowed mother and my brothers.

Many from the intentional community I left also moved back to California where we had started, and we are now a group of more than 100 people who are still very close. Indeed my daughter married the son of one of my friends from that community. So we are still all “pretty tight” with each other.

But - and here is my point if you will - if I had a personal tragedy, or needed to come up with substantial money or some other large problematic event, it is to my biological family I would turn rather than my friends.

But that is just me. I know others in that tribe who don’t really have biological families they can turn to so it is to the tribe that they turn. Plenty of Kickstarter campaigns where the tribe does all the donating are some of the evidence.

So, since one size really does not fit all, maybe “home is where the heart is” constitutes a comforting reality for those who need it.




I read your statements with interest. Well, not all but most. I realized that my dear friend went to the West, I suppose for reasons you are writing about. I am convinced that the desire to change his life has driven him more than issues of existence. I have never been strongly motivated to leave my homeland, although sometimes I wanted to quit everything and become a shepherd in the Eastern Carpathians;) To tell you the truth, I have never met a larger group of people who decided to emigrate because of the political or social atmosphere of their country. I am not talking about persecution, but about a certain feeling and atmosphere

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In the 90s in Romania migration was driven by economics, but under the issue of not making a good living was a shaky political climate. So it comes down to that some way or another.

The newest waves of migration are more political I believe - people are disillusioned. Social groups and the ways communities live or trust each other can also be tied to politics. It’s hard to have a tight community if the political climate seeds distrust and polarization. But then again, you have communities that were plagued by war and conflict, who can recover despite of that - but that’s because you have a ‘deepening of democracy’ as a political opportunity. One about which I’m currently reading about is Cambodia.

That said, my leaving was deeply personal, like your friend’s.

In your entries, you mentioned as political reasons for emigration - nationalist intensification and conservatism.

Well, actually these values and attitudes are very close to me. And I do not think that in my country the situation is bad or unfavorable towards minorities.

Although I understand that someone else may have a different perception.

However, I would like to mention that some Poles, half jokingly, half seriously mention that maybe a wave of refugees will soon come to Poland. Refugees - Christians who value traditional values. I do not think this would happen, but I agree that the European Union and political correctness have made Europe an area of influence of soft totalitarianism - in a form completely unknown before. Without concentration camps and mass violence, but with the all-powerful dictate of “leftist” political correctness.

@nadia (Hi!), sorry for the late reply! You remember right. I volunteered as a shepherd helper. Unfortunately, not for long periods. :cowboy_hat_face: :cow: :cow: :cow:

We live in a very abstract society where the consequences of our actions are not immediately visible (Thoreau?). If you work in an “old-style” farm, instead, you see the results of your work. Shoveling goat shit is the most rewarding job in the world because at the end of the day you can see a huge heap of shit. The proof that you did well and life is meaningful. :poop: :goat:

Nietzsche said that, in human prehistory, the value of an action depended only on its consequences (pre-moral values). Later religions created some abstract values. People started to act by principles regardless of their consequences. Today technology has replaced religion in this function. Since Over-Men and Over-Women have not come yet, the practice of primitive “immorality” is healthy.

I am not sure if I can shed light on the themes of this thread. What I can say about my experience is that living and working in an alpine farm has the same problems as co-housing/co-working. Just harder, I guess. The work is not physically demanding: cows are decent people after all. However, it is a 24/7 job and working conditions, even in the summer, are not always ideal (rain and shit are ok, humidity and children are bad). The main challenge is to live very close to your fellow human beings. There is no space for privacy and you should work hard to make them likeable. I slept under the roof of a rugged cabin together with the fridge where yogurt was stored (we had electricity but no tap water). So my afternoon naps were often interrupted by who was coming for yogurt.
But, if the people alchemy works, then you can experience a family-like intimacy, a sense of safety, meaning and home.

Unfortunately, social relations of this kind are disappearing. Traditional herding is not competitive with food market prices. Valleys are abandoned. Population aging, alcoholism, suicides and other social problems are common in marginal areas of the Alps.

The Wind Blows Round” by Giorgio Dritti 2005 is a movie about these topics and the land/place relationship. Full movie for free on public Italian tv (no idea why it is under “sport”). Hopefully, visible also from abroad.

If I remember, in “Without Ever Reaching The Submit”, the novelist Paolo Cognetti (he is a city guy, Milan, but he is cool) said something more or less like “Roads are supposed to take wealth, but they often take people away”. This is what happened and is still happening.


@alberto for reef ^^