What truly anchors us?

Sao Vicente, Cape verde. December 2018. Photo by Alexandra Mateus

I have asked myself what dimension I would need to look behind to understand how human beings can resume their position as part of the place, a part of the living Earth.

We cannot be sure what the coming year will bring in this odyssey we all share. Still, we can be sure that when we move around our beautiful planet, we need to be more conscious of local and global meaning, and that intertwines.

As someone who has been acquiring cultural habits from Portugal, Scandinavia and Ukraine, the home has little to do with a piece of soil. Home is the people I meet, the experiences I save in my mind and keep as unique and special to me.

The values anchored me and were defined by my life and not only by my passport. That can lead to many questions, as I became a blend between cultures, neither here or neither there. However, as the age of movement accelerates, more and more of us share these conditions and form a floating community of our own.

Whenever I meet someone half-Greek and half-Swedish, or someone British, Swiss-born who has lived several years in Sweden, I feel I recognize them.

Once we defined ourselves with the questions, “Where do you come from?” I suspect it’s more important to ask, “Where are you going?” and sometimes maybe intangible based on intuition’s links rather than the ones that circumstances create.

Understanding that the best journeys are not a race against time allows us to pause, focus, and genuinely appreciate encounters and what we are experiencing. We acquire new points of view, refining the way we see the world and understanding it as a collective experience without forgetting the local culture.

Having cross-cultural lives teaches us about changelessness and change, empathy, and how we’re all getting older even as we mostly remain the same.
As with many other examples, the radiance of sharp blue skies, the wide-open sea, an urban farm in my backyard, and eating natural and fermented foods go through me like an attitude, anchoring me.

Some years ago, an old friend said to me, “You don’t seem homesick. Maybe because you’ve had homes across Europe and feel partly at home everywhere.” I realized she was right. From my perception, it keeps me in tune with the values significant to me in each culture, practising self-awareness with curiosity and intrigue instead of judgment. It is purposeful and intentional, considering not just me but also my acknowledgement of the people and the world around me.

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Senior UX & Strategic designer • Writer • Hiker • Slow Traveler • Systems thinker advocate • Circular design • Material futures

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