The importance of loving your home and hometown

My father (59) was born and raised on a farm in a small village in the land between the rivers Maas and Waal (‘Land van Maas & Waal’). Together with his father and four brothers, he took care of the work on the farm, like milking the cows and getting the hay from the land. His mother, together with his only sister, took care of the work inside the house.

Living on a farm meant that having days off or going on a vacation was very rare. The destination of the few trips they made, was usually another small village in the area, so the whole family could go by bike and return whenever the farm work demanded it from them.

Even now, living half a century later and working as a social worker, my father doesn’t like to go on trips for vacation. Only a couple years ago he traveled by airplane for the very first time, in contrast to his three kids who, by then, already flew to numerous places around the world.

Together with my mom and a friendly couple, a three-week trip to Canada was planned for this coming summer. This would be the first time that my dad would travel outside of Europe. And now, COVID-19 will probably prevent him from sitting in a plane for over ten hours.

Do I think my dad will be sad about having to cancel his first really big trip? Well, he probably feels sorry for my mom, who was really looking forward to the trip. But not for himself; he will be just as happy spending three weeks at home, in the ‘Land van Maas & Waal’.

And what do I learn from him in the context of the current pandemic? Of course, that I shouldn’t take traveling for granted. But even more so, he has taught me the importance of loving one’s home and hometown, because when we are not able to travel, it is all we are left with.

Note: Image by Cirkel der Natuur licenced under CC BY 2.0

Sanne van Doornik is a PhD candidate in the Clinical Psychology and Experimental Psychopathology group. She studies the influence of life meaning in Anorexia Nervosa. With her research, she aims to broaden the current knowledge of the factors that are important in the development and maintenance of the eating disorder. In the end, she hopes to develop a new, evidence-based intervention for patients with Anorexia Nervosa.

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