Illustrations by Charlotte Shen
Despite living halfway around the world from my home country, I am a homebody. Globalization has made living and working abroad more and more commonplace in recent years - the freedom and willingness of the average person to just up and go overseas, not out of hunger and desperation, but for fun, adventure, opportunity, or, the heck of it. The direction of travel has become less uniform also - whereas the vast majority sought out Western countries, there are now an ever increasing number seeking the culture, lifestyle and economic opportunities to the East, in places like China, Taiwan, Thailand and Japan. But even those of us who choose this “road less traveled” kind of lifestyle, we spend an ever increasing amount of time in the little bubble we’ve created and called “Home”.
So what is driving this “Homebody Generation”? Is it fear of the outside world and longing for safety? Is it immersion into the ever expanding worlds that we are digitizing? Or maybe it is that we are just getting better at defining exactly what environment we want to live in, and at manifesting that in our personal spaces, with the eager help of the ecommerce economy. I think this last point is key, as it operates in a couple of ways; ecommerce has offered all of us the convenience of buying almost everything we need online, delivered to our door within days or even hours! On the other hand, thanks to the unbridled proliferation of online publishing, social media and ecommerce tools, there are more opportunities than ever for the savvy and intrepid homebody to make a living (or at least a side hustle) from the comfort of the cozy confines of home. And that home can be anywhere.
The homebody revolution that we are witnessing has made it cool to stay home; but we would be remiss if we didn’t at least acknowledge that there is some enabling-type tailwind in play for those whose homebody tendencies run deeper, to personal and social issues that we’d rather avoid confronting. This trend gives some of us an opening to reason, “If y’all say that staying home’s cool now, then hey, I’m down with staying home!”
For all of the benefits of doing more at and from home, it’s important to balance one’s life with some outside time – confronting real people in strange places is good and necessary for building ourselves and evolving. We all know that our fears, our unease, our weaknesses in general, can only be improved through this kind of practice. That means, at least occasionally, getting out there and connecting with the real world. I don’t need to mention the simple health benefits of fresh air, exercise, sunshine and a little face to face interaction!
It’s not as if the online world some of us so like to dive into from the comfort of our swivel desk chair is without its scary bits! Online bullying, contentious, and often venomous partisan political discourse, hacking, fake news – even the intrepid homebody has to carefully navigate and craft the environment they want to inhabit. Next episode, I’ll start to delve into the whys, and ultimately the hows, of leveraging a homebody lifestyle preference to craft the home, body and life that is more healthy, fulfilled and happy! Stay Tuned!