Home. In essence, an abstract idea. But how can you define it? Is it a permanent fixture in your life or something ever changing? Can it be more than a person or place?
An 18 year old from New York City. Her bubbly, loving, eager personality flows through in everything from long emails to messy texts, and she’s not afraid to talk deep and personal. She’s inspired by music, captures stunning character through photography, and generally blogs + makes videos. And, she has so much to say about home.
Photos: Emma Mercury
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I’m 18, and I moved to New York City for school in September. I’ve done freelance photography for 2 and a half years and I’ve been writing since I was 14. I like yoga, surfing, blogging, the ocean, the city and my friends; they’re the most important people in my life, and they keep me sane and happy as hell!
So you moved to New York very recently then! How have you been settling in?
I was born in NY and I have family around there, so I was pretty comfortable. Moving was one of the most beneficial things I’ve ever done for myself.
Why do you think that was?
I had to get away from something that was comfortable. The only way I feel like I’m really growing is by being a little bit uncomfortable at first. Moving to New York was always a dream, but it was also terrifying. The move has allowed me to put myself out there so much more, stay inspired, and not care as much about what people think about me.
I think that’s so true, the only we can grow is by being uncomfortable, being thrust somewhere new, somewhere we have to adapt. It’s such an interesting contrast to the idea of home, because most people would define home by where you are comfortable – and by that reasoning, home is somewhere you can’t really grow.
Exactly! Except my definition of home is less of a place and more of a feeling. When I’m inspired and surrounded by incredible people I feel most at home.
Does a place ever feel like home to you, or is it just somewhere to be and explore and live?
The latter, exactly! Physical places don’t make a home, in my opinion. It’s about how you feel and who you have by your side.
So – if you find the right people, if you’re feeling inspired by where you are – you can feel at home anywhere in the world?
Yeah, that’s 100% how I feel.
Tell me a bit about your childhood, about where you grew up.
I was born in New York, lived in Connecticut, moved to Greece (my background) for two years, then back to Connecticut until I was 4, then down to Florida until I was 18. Florida is beautiful and the weather is incredible. Growing up I spent a lot of time at the beach and outside and exploring. I’ve made so many of the best friends down here, but it’s pretty calm. It’s a great place to relax, but I’m far more inspired when I’m surrounded by people and lots of things happening around me.
Wow, that’s quite a childhood. Do you think that’s one of the reasons your home is more of a feeling then a place? Having lived in so many places as you were growing up, you sort of found your own home in each of them instead?
Yeah! Also I wasn’t super close with my mom and dad until recently (now my mom and I are besties lol) but I didn’t like being at my “physical” home that much, so I stopped placing home in a place and put it more in a feeling.
You weren’t close with your parents?
My mum worked all the time when I was little so I didn’t see her very much, and then in High School I was in trouble all the time the first two years, so I didn’t really talk to either of them haha.
If you close your eyes and think ‘home’, what’s the first image that comes to mind?
A rooftop with friends, sitting on blankets, listening to music, laughing.
You talked about Florida and how much you loved it, but that you felt more at-home when you were surrounded by people and lots of things happening. So, does the physical world around you play any part in this?
In order for me to feel at home, I like to feel inspired because it gives me purpose, I guess. So the physical world around me does have a part in it, it’s just not a specific place.
Have you always felt at home through out your life?
No definitely not! There were certain times when I didn’t think I had a place in this world.
When and how did that change?
Probably when I was 16. It took me discovering my passions and making real friendships for that to change.
Did moving to New York help?
Do you think it [home] is something people are always searching for?
I think so. It’s human desire to desire a place that fits you.
Advice for those searching for their ‘home’ …
You will find it eventually no matter how long the process is. Stay true to what makes you happy and pursue that.
An 18 year old hailing from Barcelona, Spain. She’s the youngest of 5 children, reads Jane Austen, has the most gorgeous accent, and I can only describe her as an eclectic mix of Freya Haley, Emma Mercury, and this other-worldy vibe entirely her own. She makes videos, blogs, and generally shares art with the world. + she has a few thoughts on what home is to her.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
I’m Tere, an 18 year old girl from Barcelona who loves film making, fashion, photography, painting, writing… And likes to pretend she is in a Quentin Tarantino movie. I’ve always wanted to be a musician, but sadly I’m not very skilled in that department. I believe in another life I was a hippie in Woodstock.
You’re from Barcelona, Spain. Do you still live there?
Yes I do. I lived in Dublin for two years, but I was born and raised in Barcelona and I still live here.
What has your experience living in Barcelona been like? Especially considering you can compare it to living someplace else (Dublin).
Spain is more relaxed. People are more friendly, and they do things more relaxed. In Dublin people do things the way they are supposed to. If they have to get to work at 9, they will be there at 9. In Spain, people usually tend to change their schedule a little bit.
And Barcelona is not always warm, but it’s usually sunny, so I think that changes the mood of people – I think people in Barcelona are more easy going. But in Dublin, it’s usually gloomy and rainy, and you usually have to stay at home more.
Do you think people find themselves becoming more similar to where they are living, or they’re attracted to these places based upon their personal qualities already?
I think that people are attracted to different places depending on what they like or their personal style. For example, I prefer going to the city rather than a typical island. And that’s probably because I know I will get tired of the island. I need a place where I can do different things everyday. Explore different things. Not being at the beach 24/7 working on a tan that’s going to fade.
Yeah, I totally get that. Your environment has to represent your personality so you can grow. Do you think your definition of home will always depend a bit on your personality?
I guess it does. I only feel at home if I’m comfortable in that place. It doesn’t have to be a country or city, it can be a room or a person. I feel like I have more than one home.
So home is closely linked with comfort?
Yeah, it is.
You mentioned you have two brothers and two sisters, and you’re the youngest. As a result, do you think you find yourself craving space alone, or space with others?
Craving space alone. I’m used to playing alone when I was a kid. Spending summers alone at home also. I grew up playing by myself or at a friends house. My siblings were teenagers when I was a kid. So they didn’t really play with me. And even though we don’t really talk that much we have a good relationship.
So is who you are, and where you feel comfortable and at home, directly influenced by your childhood?
In some aspects, yes, I’ve grown up very independent, but my idea of future has changed a lot growing up. When I was in my early teens I wanted to get a job and settle down. But now in my late teens I just want to travel, to discover lots of new places and see what lives has prepared for me.
Yeah, most people around this age tend to be in that mindset.
Yeah, I think so. When I was in school I was always daydreaming about roadtrips and places I would go. I still do. It’s kind of difficult since I don’t have a lot of money, but I still manage to travel a lot.
When I say Spain or Barcelona, what’s the first thing you see in your mind? What’s the first thing you think?
What are some of the memories you associate with your home?
My favorite memories of my childhood house are always me in my garden. I used to spend hours there, even if it was freezing or boiling hot. I don’t really have a lot of happy family moments to be honest, but I love every single trip I’ve made with my mum. One in particular is when we went to Sorrento (Italy) together. It was like a runaway trip, we both needed to disconnect from the real world and we went to a little vila in Sorrento, and till today that was one of the best places I’ve ever stayed in.
How would you define home?
As cliche as it sounds, where the heart is. Where I feel comforted and relaxed.
Going back to talking about travelling, do you think ‘home’ will always be a place you can come back to, or is it somewhere you’re still searching for?
No matter if I’m staying in a hotel or at a friends house, home for me will always be Barcelona.