Gent, Flanders, Belgium | Annie Anywhere
Belgium, Destinations, Europe

How I Feel at Home Abroad


Would you live here? It’s a question I always ask my travel partner after a couple of days in a new destination.

Would you deliberately leave all your belongings behind, pack the irreplaceable, choose the most important souvenirs, and let go of everything else? Does this new place here worth it? How do we choose if a place is worthy of us living there?

Belgium made me think about it more than any other destinations.

My Own Little Chaos

I realized that to feel home, I need a place I can find in the same state I left it. Nothing annoyed me much than room attendants making my bed every morning and putting everything in well-organized piles. It kills creativity and personality. I like to create my own little chaos.  I guess that’s a reason why I always choose friend’s apartments and Airbnb over hotel rooms.

I cannot recommend any hotels in Brussels, since I had a friend generous enough to host me during my whole trip. Honestly, I felt like I was living in an apartment in Montreal. Same kind of divisions, same kind of decor, everything at the place where I left it.

Market at Place du Jeu de Balle, Marolles neighbourhood, Brussels

Market at Place du Jeu de Balle, Marolles neighbourhood, Brussels

Our Common Conflicts

It may sound negative to talk about conflicts that make us feel home… but we all have family stories where our grandma shout “Don’t get him started about that!” Does it sound familiar?

The ability to understand conflicts is for me a big indicator to tell if a place feels home. If you can understand what a misunderstanding is about, it means you share a part of the value and culture.

So when a Flemish judge me for a few French words pronounced while I was in a restaurant in Gent (“Here, we don’t say ‘oui’, it’s in French, we say ‘Ya’. Don’t speak French here”.), I kinda hear a French Canadian talking to English people in Quebec.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t say all Flemish are this stubborn, nor do I say all French Canadians are too. I just could not avoid comparing both discord about languages in Quebec and Belgium. I won’t take a side. My trips told me that the message is more important than the language we use to tell it.

The Accessibility to Our Addictions

I think I couldn’t live in a place where I don’t have access to coffee. Of course, we should overcome all of our addiction and meditate 3 hours a day and blabla… but let’s be honest, we won’t do it. We better find a place where we have access to what we crave.

Reliable wi-fi is also in this category.

Street food in Brussels

Street food in Brussels

The first picture has been taken in Gent, but I would totally live in the little white house.

An you, what makes you feel home?

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2 Commentaires

  • Reply Pascale 24 juin 2015 at 3 h 17 min

    I’ve lived in France for 3 months but I wouldn’t move there for sure. If I could take all my family with me, Belgium would be a great place to live. I have a feeling I would be at ease in England too. But what I’ve come to realise during my current trip in Belgium is that I cannot do it without my boyfriend. But I think I could live just about anywhere with him.

    • Reply Annie Anywhere 24 juin 2015 at 10 h 41 min

      Yes, of course! I don’t have kids, so that didn’t come to my mind at first, but having a family add a whole lot of things to consider! :)